Saga Education

Saga Math

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Grade Levels Group Size Tutor Type Qualifying Studies Average Effect Size


Contact Info

Alan Safran


Groups Studied
Asian American
English Learners
Free and Reduced Lunch

Communities Studied

Program Description

Saga, and its predecessor Match Education, began in-school-day tutoring in 2004 in Boston. Tutors are assigned their own caseload of students for the year, and these relationships stay intact.  Tutoring begins with a silent do now (4 minutes), then a relationship-building activity, then active tutoring (70% of the time students work independently). We establish a culture in which students will also teach each other, review each other’s work, and find each others’ errors. The session ends with a ticket-to-leave mini-assessment and a minute to talk about that measure of the session’s success.



Tutors are paid, full time teaching assistants. Most are recent college grads (85%), others are mid-career switchers (10%) or retirees (5%).  Tutors work during the school day, supervised and coached by a Saga school site director who is typically an experienced teacher.


We serve low income, mainly Black and Latinx students, in Title 1 schools and districts. Tutoring takes place during a daily school period.


Students alternate days live with their tutor, and asynchronous on an adaptive math tech platform.  When our tutors are remote, they use our Saga Connect math tutoring platform.


The Saga curriculum was created starting with Engage NY and other open educational resources, then made tutor-friendly.  The curriculum is modular, so it can parallel the scope and sequence of the school’s teachers.


Saga has its own proprietary foundational skills math assessment, which we administer 5 times a year. 

Program Operation

See “Program Description,” above.

Professional Development, Progress Monitoring, and Follow-up

Saga tutors are selected from a competitive pool of applicants. They receive 100 hours of pre-service training, then daily in-service coaching from their Saga school site director.  The site director maintains close contact with the teachers and relays to the tutors the scope and sequence, so tutoring can follow closely the teacher lessons.


Per Tutor$15/hour, for a total of about $21,000 for 10 months of service (plus benefits, and AmeriCorps $6000 ed award at the end)

Research on Program Outcomes

Two randomized studies have been carried out in Chicago, with mostly Black and Hispanic students in grades 9-10. The average effect size was +0.26.

Key Studies

  • Guryan, J., Ludwig, J., Bhatt, M., Cook, P., Davis, J., Dodge, K., … Steinberg, L. (2021). Not Too Late: Improving Academic Outcomes Among Adolescents. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research
  • Cook, P., Dodge, K., Farkas, G., Fryer, Jr., R., Guryan, J., Ludwig, J., … Not too late: Improving academic outcomes for disadvantaged youth. Evanston, IL: Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University.
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