The Critical Role of Attendance and Dosage Data in High-Impact Tutoring

The Critical Role of Attendance and Dosage Data in High-Impact Tutoring

The integration of technology and evidence-based practices in tutoring programs has highlighted the critical role of accurately tracking attendance and dosage. These metrics are pivotal in assessing the impact of tutoring on student learning, especially in large-scale and sometimes highly-fragmented initiatives. Although tracking attendance for tutoring seems trivial, practice has proven very cumbersome for most large LEAs and state-based programs.

Attendance tracking can be especially difficult for large school districts (LEAs) and state-based programs that are often running dozens of different tutoring programs. Keep reading as we explore the reasons behind this complexity, along with strategies to overcome these challenges and ensure effective data collection.

Why Attendance and Dosage Matters

Attendance and dosage are intertwined metrics that provide a comprehensive picture of student engagement in tutoring. Attendance records a student’s presence in tutoring sessions, while dosage quantifies the active tutoring time received. Together, they offer a complete view of a student’s participation and exposure to tutoring interventions.

The Problem: Challenges in Tracking Data

Several factors contribute to the difficulty of tracking attendance and dosage data in tutoring programs:

  • Multiple Tutoring Formats: The diverse nature of tutoring setups, from one-on-one sessions to small group interactions, complicates tracking individual student engagement, especially when a single tutor manages multiple students.
  • Accurate Time Measurement: Recording the precise duration of each tutoring session is crucial for calculating dosage. This necessitates meticulous time tracking to ensure reported dosage accurately reflects the tutoring provided.
  • Consistency Across Schools: Standardizing attendance and dosage tracking across different schools and districts in state-wide programs presents a significant hurdle. It requires robust scheduling coordination, systems integration, and data management.
  • Compliance with Standards: Adherence to data collection standards established by entities like the National Student Support Accelerator (NSSA) and defined by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is essential for ensuring data validity, reliability, and suitability for research and policy analysis.

A Growing Challenge: Student Absenteeism

Compounding the challenges of data collection is the issue of student absenteeism, a problem that has become increasingly pervasive since the pandemic. A recent New York Times article cited a sharp increase in student absenteeism, with an estimated 26% of public school students nationally classified as chronically absent last year, up from 15% pre-pandemic. This highlights the critical role that tutoring programs can play in not only addressing learning gaps but also in potentially improving overall student attendance.

Strategies for Effective Data Collection

Fortunately, there are solutions to overcome these challenges and ensure accurate data collection:

  • Advanced Technological Solutions: Utilizing tutor management platforms like Pearl can automate and streamline the tracking process, minimizing errors and inconsistencies in recording attendance and dosage data.
  • Comprehensive Training Programs: Educating tutors and administrators on the importance of accurate data collection and providing them with the necessary tools and knowledge can significantly improve data quality.
  • Unified Data Collection Protocols: Establishing clear and consistent methods for recording both attendance and dosage ensures uniformity in data across various tutoring environments.
  • Integration and Standardization: Effective data systems that seamlessly integrate with existing school information systems are essential for consolidating and analyzing attendance and dosage data at scale.

Types of Data to Collect:

Here’s a breakdown of the specific data points needed for attendance and dosage:

Attendance

  • Original intended start and end times of the session.
  • Actual start and end times, including any late arrivals or early departures.
  • Attendance status for each student (present, late, absent).

Dosage

  • Intended intervention dosage (e.g., number of planned sessions).
  • Weekly dosage for each student.
  • Dosage completed per session.
  • Reasons for incomplete sessions (e.g., student illness, school cancellation).

    The Impact of Accurate Data

    Accurate attendance and dosage data are indispensable for evaluating the effectiveness of tutoring programs. This data informs research, influences educational policy, and guides decision-making processes related to funding, program design, and implementation strategies.

    A Case for High-Impact Tutoring and Attendance

    A recent study highlighted by the Student Support Accelerator provides compelling evidence of the benefits of evidence-based high-impact tutoring, particularly in improving overall student attendance. For instance, schools in Washington D.C. implementing high-impact tutoring programs observed a significant increase in student attendance rates. Participating students were more likely to attend school regularly compared to their peers not in the program. This suggests a potential positive correlation between high-impact tutoring and improved student engagement in school, further highlighting the importance of effective data collection to measure these outcomes.

    Conclusion

    Collecting reliable attendance and dosage data in tutoring programs, such as those supported by Pearl, involves complex challenges. However, with strategic planning and technology support, these challenges can be efficiently mitigated. Ensuring accurate data collection strengthens the evidence that high-impact tutoring improves educational outcomes. Finally, continuously observing a correlation between well-implemented tutoring and improved attendance will have positive budget implications at the district level, while also playing a pivotal role in securing ongoing funding for tutoring programs.

    Source: New York Times, “Why School Absences Have ‘Exploded’ Almost Everywhere”. March 29, 2024.

    OnYourMark Education: The Science of Reading

    OnYourMark Education: The Science of Reading

    Established in 2021, OnYourMark Education offers high-quality, personalized tutoring services for students in kindergarten through second grade. Their science-backed approach is delivered through virtual instruction to enhance foundational literacy skills.

    A Science-Backed Approach to Reading Success

    Children’s brains are not naturally wired for reading, and teaching them to read effectively requires the ability to continuously track progress and make adjustments throughout their reading journey. At OnYourMark Education, tutors use research validated methods, like Amplify’s mCLASS Intervention curricula and the University of Oregon’s Center on Teaching and Learning’s DIBELS® 8th Edition literacy assessment, to guide children on their path to literacy.  Amplify’s phonics based method teaches children to blend the sounds of individual letters or groups of letters and decode unfamiliar or unknown words by sounding them out, and the DIBELS assessment ensures students are on the right track, by conducting regular assessments that pinpoint their reading level and determine if they’re ready to move forward. OnYourMark’s approach is proven to work by keeping students continuously challenged and encouraged by their tutors.
    “Literacy has a profound impact on a child’s entire educational journey, from self-esteem to grasping subjects like math and science,” said Mindy Sjoblom, Founder and CEO of OnYourMark. “Our mission is to support dedicated teachers and provide clear guidance as students learn to read.

    Enhancing Literacy with Data-Driven Innovation

    In the Fall of 2023, OnYourMark brought highly impactful virtual reading instruction to 11 school districts across seven states and is expanding to even more districts across new states this spring. Partnering with Pearl and the National Student Support Accelerator at Stanford, OnYourMark is optimized to collect and analyze their data in order to enhance their approach.
    Mindy Sjoblom, Founder and CEO of OnYourMark, describes herself as ‘data-obsessed,’ and praises Pearl for improving their operational efficiency by consolidating data and enabling easy interpretation of their findings. Their collaboration with Pearl is marked by their mutual dedication to partnership and commitment to improving student learning outcomes.
    “If there was ever an idea we wanted to explore, we knew we could count on Pearl as a partner to listen and help,” said Sjoblom. “Not all partners are like that and we’re fortunate for their expertise and willingness to collaborate.” OnYourMark understands that traditional high-impact tutoring models aren’t suitable for younger students with shorter attention spans, so they have adapted to shorter, more frequent tutoring sessions for grades K-2. They’ve scheduled an impressive 80,000 tutoring sessions for fall 2023 using Pearl’s bulk scheduling feature. The platform also simplifies tutor substitutions, ensuring every student receives dedicated support. “OnYourMark is a great example of how organizations can maximize the potential of Pearl’s capabilities,” said John Failla, founder and CEO of Pearl. “Their partnership fuels innovation and we are energized by their commitment to supporting those who are teaching students how to read. We look forward to seeing how their ongoing data collection efforts will impact K-2 students on their path to literacy.”

    Empowering Education Through Collaborative Support

    The OnYourMark Education team acknowledges and values the hard work teachers bring to the classroom. They understand that introducing a new curriculum can be time-consuming, which is why they are so focused on ensuring effective and successful methods are in place to support students on their literacy journey. 
    “We’ve built a business around the understanding that teaching is a demanding profession,” said Sjoblom. “Through data-backed decision-making, OnYourMark consistently provides student support and drives impactful outcomes.”
    To learn more about OnYourMark, visit: onyourmarkeducation.org.
    OnYourMark Education is an individualized high quality tutoring service providing virtual foundational skills instruction to K-2nd graders grounded in the science of reading.
    2024 Tutoring Trends: Funding & Budgeting

    2024 Tutoring Trends: Funding & Budgeting

    Shaped by emerging trends and innovative approaches, the tutoring landscape in education is poised for significant transformations, Currently, Pearl is looking at trends in funding and budgeting allocations. Read on to learn our top 5 research-backed predictions for 2024.  

    ARP ESSER Funding Cliff

    The looming September 2024 ARP ESSER funding cliff will continue to generate a wave of concern, but amidst this, high-impact tutoring stands out as a beacon of hope. This evidence-based approach is key in addressing student learning loss. As the deadline nears, here are some funding trends in high-impact tutoring to watch.
    Evidence-Based High-Impact Tutoring

    School districts are increasingly adopting high-impact tutoring as an evidence-based, cost-effective strategy to support student learning post-federal funding (REL West, 2021).  As an example Accelerate.us has supported organizations that collectively serve more than 178,000 students and work with more than 30,000 tutors. At Pearl, our partners have successfully completed over 288,900 high-impact tutoring sessions in 2023, demonstrating a 212% increase from 2022.

    Focus on High-Poverty Schools

    High-impact tutoring is being prioritized in high-poverty schools to mitigate the impact of the ESSER fiscal cliff.  This is a critical focus as “…in high-poverty districts (over 75% poverty) the end of ESSER has a six percent impact on budgets, compared to two percent for districts serving more affluent students (under 25% poverty)” (Brookings, 2023.).

    Budget Cuts

    Without additional state investments, district budgets might face an average cut of $1,200 per student in the 2024-25 school year. This is due to a combination of declining enrollment and ESSER Funds. For an average high school with 850 students, this could amount to a loss of over $1 million. (The Education Trust, 2023)

    Budget Realignment

    Schools are increasingly adopting high-impact tutoring as a cost-effective strategy to preserve educational standards during times of financial pressure (Accelerate, 2023). Preliminary discovery into integrating high-impact tutoring within Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) shows potential benefits, including the early identification of learning gaps. This approach could reduce the need for more expensive interventions in subsequent grades, thereby curbing overall costs. With 900+ schools already using Pearl across all 50 states, the adoption of high-impact tutoring is clear. 

    Equitable and Effective Planning

    Integrating high-impact tutoring into strategic planning equitably and effectively is key for schools to address individual student needs during financial transitions (National Student Support Accelerator, 2021).  As an example Illinois has created pathways for districts to provide high-impact tutoring, funded by COVID-19 relief funds, and coordinated with higher education institutions to focus on K-8 math and literacy and high school math.  Also, Georgia invested $6 million in partnership with AmeriCorps to provide tutoring for up to 5,000 students, showing a commitment to integrating tutoring at a systemic level​. (National Student Support Accelerator, 2023)

    References:

    Accelerate. (2023, August). Beyond Recovery: Funding High-Impact Tutoring for the Long-Term. Retrieved from https://accelerate.us/beyond-recovery/

    Brookings. (2023, September). The ESSER fiscal cliff will have serious implications for student equity. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/articles/the-esser-fiscal-cliff-will-have-serious-implications-for-student-equity/

    Council of Chief State School Officers. (n.d.). Road to Recovery: How States are Using Federal Relief Funding to Scale High-Impact Tutoring. https://learning.ccsso.org/road-to-recovery-how-states-are-using-federal-relief-funding-to-scale-high-impact-tutoring

    The Education Trust. (2023, August 22). Running out of time: ESSER spending deadline looms and fiscal cliffs approach. The Education Trust. https://edtrust.org/press-release/running-out-of-time-esser-spending-deadline-looms-and-fiscal-cliffs-approach/

    National Student Support Accelerator. (2021, May.). Equitable and Effective Planning for High-Impact Tutoring. Retrieved from https://studentsupportaccelerator.org/briefs/equitable-and-effective

    National Student Support Accelerator. (2023, November). A snapshot of state tutoring policies. https://studentsupportaccelerator.org/briefs/snapshot-state-tutoring-policies

    REL West. (2021, September). High-Quality Tutoring: An Evidence-Based Strategy to Tackle Learning Loss. Institute of Education Sciences. https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/regions/west/blog/tutoring-learning-loss.asp

    Watershed Advisors. (2023, July.). Solutions that scale: How Watershed is supporting leaders to address America’s biggest education challenges. [PDF document]. Retrieved from https://watershed-advisors.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/TutoringCaseStudyv8.pdf

    2023 Pearl Year-In-Review

    2023 Pearl Year-In-Review

    As we close out another year, we can say with 100% confidence that 2023 has been a wild ride!

    At Pearl, we are grateful to all our Tutoring Partners, Ecosystem Partners, Pearl Team Members, and Instructors that have invested their time, energy, and commitment into fostering student success through both in-person and virtual high-impact tutoring.

    “Weathering the Storm”: Federal Efforts Helped Bolster U.S. Education Standing Among Peer Nations

    “Weathering the Storm”: Federal Efforts Helped Bolster U.S. Education Standing Among Peer Nations

    Reposted from: The White House

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 5, 2023. The OECD released international testing data from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). The PISA measures 15-year-olds’ performance in math, science, and reading worldwide every three years.[1] The previous assessment was done in 2018 and the recent release was conducted in 2022–allowing for an examination of COVID’s impact on students and of global recovery efforts.

    Read full article.

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    Pearl Tutoring and Ecosystem Partners:

    Illinois Tutoring Initiative
    National Student Support Accelerator

    Pearl Research Affiliate:
    National Partnership for Student Success

    New Jersey Tutoring Corps: Finding Success in a Statewide Tutoring Program

    New Jersey Tutoring Corps: Finding Success in a Statewide Tutoring Program

    The New Jersey Tutoring Corps is addressing learning loss in New Jersey’s highest-need districts. Established within the last two years with funding from the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund and the Overdeck Family Foundation, New Jersey Tutoring Corps is finding success in high-impact tutoring following the guidelines of the National Student Support Accelerator at Stanford and using assessment and curriculum from iReady.

    More than Homework Help

    “The New Jersey Tutoring Corps is not homework help. We are following research to combat learning gaps by working with school districts, YMCAs, and Boys and Girls clubs to offer high impact tutoring during the school day, after school and during summer break,” said Katherine Bassett, CEO of the New Jersey Tutoring Corps. “Students in need are identified through state testing and placed into small groups of no more than three, where they meet with the same tutor to review material in reading and math several times a week for as many as 15 weeks per cycle.”

    The New Jersey Tutoring Corps offers three student support models, all proven to be effective:

      1. Embedded School Day: A 12 to 15-week cycle where students meet several times a week for 30 to 60 minutes per session.
      2. After School Tutoring: A 12 to 15-week cycle where students meet several times a week for 30 to 45-minute blocks of content.
      3. Summer Tutoring: An 8-week cycle where students meet for 30 to 60-minute sessions.

    Relationship-Based Learning & Retention

    An important component of effective tutoring, as identified by the National Student Support Accelerator, is relationships. By skillfully matching students and tutors and by providing students access to the same tutor for their entire learning cycle, the pair is able to build trust and consistency, leading to stronger educational outcomes. Tutors that have an in-depth understanding of a students’ needs allows him or her to develop special and specific lesson plans for each student.

    In addition to positive student / tutor outcomes, the New Jersey Tutoring Corps has a 71% retention rate of field staff, which includes pre-service educators, substitute educators, community members with experience, and certified teachers. Bassett says it’s rewarding to work with pre-service educators. As students themselves, pre-service educators get to practice and hone their skills by working with students before obtaining their degrees.

    Data-Driven Results

      • Students in grades Pre-K through Eighth participating in the New Jersey Tutoring Corps program receive in-person support in literacy and math.
      • Student gains have been significant with grade level performance improving from 18-28% in math and 24-27% in literacy.
      • In addition to academic achievements, students are also evaluated based on their social-emotional growth. Many begin seeing themselves more confidently as learners and viewing learning with more enthusiasm.

    The Pearl Partnership

    The New Jersey Tutoring Corps partnered with Pearl, a leading research-based tutoring platform, to collect the data they needed to measure the success and growth of each student in the program. Instead of juggling Google Sheets and Docs filled with information, the New Jersey Tutoring Corps now has one location where everyone on the team can find and review quantitative data including attendance, dosage, SEL surveys as well as other open fields for the collection of qualitative insights. In this way, Pearl makes it easy for the New Jersey Tutoring Corps to serve its communities.

    “Before Pearl, tracking what was done in each tutoring session was convoluted,” said Bassett. “It’s much more effective for our staff to review reliable data in the format generated by the Pearl platform. Our staff are also able to keep notes in a central location that can be referenced by themselves, parents and teachers.”

    The New Jersey Tutoring Corps also uses Pearl to track attendance. Bassett says connecting a student’s success to how often they were able to attend a tutoring session offers valuable insight.

    Looking to the Future

    “The folks at the New Jersey Tutoring Corps follow a philosophy we strongly believe in and support,” said John Failla, founder and CEO of Pearl. “Not only do they implement evidence-based programs, but they are developing their own research to contribute to the high-impact, relationship-based format. It’s a pleasure to work with passionate educators to support student achievement.”

    Relationship-focused tutoring has the potential to significantly alter the learning path for students in need. By utilizing advanced platforms like Pearl, the New Jersey Tutoring Corps provides not only premier instruction but also adeptly manages data-centric decision-making and reporting.

    Overseeing a statewide tutoring program, with its diverse stakeholders and multiple locations, is inherently intricate. Choosing the right tools is essential for effective scaling. The collaboration between New Jersey Tutoring Corps and Pearl emphasizes the need for constant innovation and flexibility in high-quality tutoring, guaranteeing that every student is positioned to excel in our fast-changing educational environment.

    To learn more about the New Jersey Tutoring Corps, visit: njtutoringcorps.org

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