SES Tutoring Programs: An evaluation of the second year - Part one of a two part report

Chicago Public Schools, Office of Research, Evaluation, and Accountability
August 2005

This straightforward 22-page report is as spin-free as its title. Yet it packs a punch. It's the first analysis anywhere of the impact of No Child Left Behind's free tutoring provisions on student achievement. The bottom line: 60,000 CPS students who took advantage of tutoring this past year posted slightly larger gains in reading than their eligible classmates who did not: 1.09 years of progress versus 1.03. There were no discernable gains in math. The policy question, not addressed in this "just the facts" brief, is whether an extra .06 years of progress in reading - or roughly two weeks - is an adequate return on a $50 million investment. Considering that most students received 40 hours of tutoring (versus 900 hours of regular classroom instruction), just how much progress is it fair to expect? This is far from an academic question, since states are responsible, under NCLB, for "withdrawing approval from providers that fail, for 2 consecutive years, to contribute to increasing the academic proficiency of students." There are lots more goodies in the report, including data on parental satisfaction with the tutoring program (headline: they love it) and a breakout of student gains by the major tutoring providers - Kaplan, Platform, Education Station, etc. - including the Chicago Public Schools itself, underscoring the inherent conflict of CPS both monitoring the progress of other providers and competing with them, as a recent federal decision will allow. In this analysis, at least, the district played it straight. It's worth your attention and ought to be replicated - by states, not districts please - as soon as possible. There's no online version of the report, but copies are available through CPS's Office of Research, Evaluation, and Accountability. Read the report here.

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