Helping Tutors Working with High-Need Students: The Impact of Providing Tutors
Districts across the United States are increasingly adopting tutoring as a strategy to support their struggling students, the majority of whom come from low-income families and marginalized backgrounds. Our pilot will explore whether providing tutors with a professional community of practice (CoP) enhances their own experiences as tutors, as well as the experiences of the students they serve. We will randomly assign 100 (out of 200) tutors to receive access to an online CoP, where they can find curated resources, reflect on their experiences, and crowdsource questions and best practices. We hypothesize that providing tutors with a digital platform to connect asynchronously and organically will improve tutors’ sense of social support, increase their self-efficacy, and ultimately increase their likelihood of pursuing a career as an educator and their ability to improve student learning. The learnings from this pilot will be used to improve upon the implementation of the tutor CoP and inform the design of a full-scale RCT in a subsequent school year. Equalizing access to tutoring has the potential to disrupt systemic inequities in education, but the social and learning gains will likely only be realized when students have an effective tutor who feels supported.