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High-Dosage Tutoring and Closing the Math Achievement Gap

As math scores across the nation drop to their lowest levels in decades, high-dosage tutoring emerges as a critical intervention model.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on education, causing significant disruptions to students' learning. Recent data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) shows math scores for 13-year-olds in the United States have dropped sharply since 2020.

According to The NAEP data, math scores, on average, have declined by 9 points, reaching the lowest level in decades. The decline has been more pronounced among low-performing students, further widening existing achievement gaps. The results have also highlighted disparities based on gender and race, with female students experiencing an 11-point decrease and Black students facing a 13-point decline compared to their peers.

To urgently address this alarming trend, educational experts have turned to high-dosage tutoring as a potential intervention tool. High-dosage tutoring provides intensive and targeted academic support to students over an extended period.’s high-dosage tutoring model, based on research by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, recommends 3+ sessions of 30-45 minutes per week, with a consistent tutor in a small group setting during school hours. This approach focuses on individual student needs, tailoring instruction to fill knowledge gaps and promote conceptual understanding.

High-dosage tutoring can assist teachers in closing math achievement gaps by providing additional support. reports an unprecedented demand for algebra tutoring [that] correlates with historically low algebra assessment scores. Many students have experienced learning gaps in their math knowledge, with struggling students being the most affected. High-dosage tutoring provides an opportunity to systematically address these deficiencies, enabling students to catch up and build a solid foundation for future math concepts.

Furthermore, high-dosage tutoring allows for long-term academic gains. Research has shown that it can have lasting effects on students' academic performance. The Annenberg Institute’s 2021 meta-analysis revealed that Chicago Public School students who received high-dosage tutoring found the program reduced math course failures by over 50%, in addition to reducing overall course failures and increasing math grades.

As we navigate the aftermath of COVID-19-related learning loss, high-dosage tutoring emerges as a powerful tool to close the math achievement gap. It provides targeted instruction, fosters a positive learning environment, and offers a pathway for students to regain confidence in their mathematical abilities. As school districts continue to invest in educational recovery, prioritizing evidence-based strategies like high-dosage tutoring ensures that all students have the opportunity to receive individualized learning support.