Maximizing the Impact of High Dosage Tutoring in Post-Pandemic Education

High Dosage Tutoring (HDT) Post-Pandemic

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the educational landscape has undergone significant transformations. One of the most critical challenges faced by school districts across the globe has been addressing the learning loss and educational deficiencies that emerged during this period. High dosage tutoring has emerged as a potent tool in this battle, offering personalized, intensive support to students who need it most, and has been broadly adopted by school districts across the country. As educators, particularly in roles of leadership and curriculum development, it is imperative to understand not just the utility of high dosage tutoring but also how to effectively implement and evaluate it.

Research has shown that high dosage tutoring can be an effective strategy to mitigate learning disruptions. For instance, a study by Nickow et al. (2020) highlighted the efficacy of frequent, intense tutoring sessions in improving academic outcomes. Furthermore, Gershenson’s (2017) research demonstrated significant improvements in high school students’ performance through one-on-one tutoring. These findings underscore the potential of high dosage tutoring in post-pandemic educational recovery.

This blog post aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what makes for a successful high dosage tutoring program, backed by recent research. By doing so, we hope to empower you to evaluate and enhance your district’s tutoring programs, ensuring they align with best practices and deliver impactful outcomes for students.

What are the characteristics of successful high dosage tutoring programs?

Not all high dosage tutoring is equal. As a matter of fact, there are some common denominators of high dosage tutoring that should be present for the program to even qualify as an HDT program. Here are ten essential success characteristics, backed by recent research:

1.     Intensity and Frequency: High dosage tutoring typically involves frequent sessions, often several times a week. This intensity is critical to its effectiveness, as it allows for consistent reinforcement of learning materials and concepts.

2.     Small Group or One-on-One: This approach often occurs in small groups or in a one-on-one setting. The low student-to-tutor ratio ensures personalized attention and allows the tutor to tailor instruction to individual student needs.

3.     Highly Trained Tutors: Tutors in high dosage programs are often specially trained, sometimes with a focus on specific subject areas. This high level of expertise ensures that tutors are equipped to address diverse learning challenges and provide effective instruction.

4.     Data-Driven Instruction: These programs frequently utilize data to inform instruction. Regular assessments and progress tracking are key components, allowing tutors to identify areas of need and adjust their teaching strategies accordingly.

5.     Curriculum Alignment: The tutoring is usually closely aligned with the school’s curriculum. This alignment ensures that the tutoring supports and reinforces what students are learning in their regular classes.

6.     Duration and Consistency: High dosage tutoring programs are typically longer in duration compared to traditional tutoring. This long-term commitment allows for sustained learning and reinforces skills over time.

7.     Emphasis on Skill Mastery: There is a strong focus on mastering skills, not just completing assignments. Tutors work to ensure that students fully understand concepts before moving on to new material.

8.     Integration of Technology: Many high dosage tutoring programs integrate technology to enhance learning. This might include educational software, online resources, and digital tools for tracking progress and facilitating instruction.

9.     Focus on Building Confidence and Motivation: Besides academic support, these programs often aim to build student confidence and motivation. The personalized attention helps students feel more capable and engaged in their learning.

10.  Adaptability: High dosage tutoring is adaptable to different learning styles and needs. Tutors are often trained to modify their teaching methods to suit the individual learner, whether that involves more hands-on activities, visual aids, or interactive discussions.


At the bottom of this blog post, you’ll find citations for each of the criteria we’ve identified.

The High Dosage Tutoring Rubric

To assist in the practical application of these principles, we have developed a comprehensive rubric. This tool is designed to help you evaluate and improve your high dosage tutoring programs. The rubric is structured to provide clear, objective criteria for assessing each of the ten features of high dosage tutoring. By using this rubric, you can identify strengths and areas for improvement, ensuring that your tutoring programs are as effective as possible in helping students recover and excel post-pandemic.

We encourage you to download this free rubric as a guide in your efforts to enhance the educational outcomes for students in your district. The rubric is available for download at this link, and we hope it serves as a valuable resource.

Research Supporting the 10 Characteristics of Successful High Dosage Tutoring (HDT)

Below, please find additional detail concerning the research supporting the high dosage tutoring rubric.

  1. Intensity and Frequency: A study by Nickow et al. (2020) examined various tutoring programs and found that frequent, intense tutoring sessions were effective in improving academic outcomes in math and reading.

  2. Small Group or One-on-One: A recent study by Gershenson (2017) on the effects of one-on-one tutoring in mathematics found significant improvements in the academic performance of high school students.

  3. Highly Trained Tutors: An article by Kraft et al. (2018) discussed the importance of professional development for tutors and its correlation with successful tutoring outcomes in reading and mathematics.

  4. Data-Driven Instruction: A 2019 study by Heppen et al. highlighted the success of data-driven instructional approaches in a high school algebra context.

  5. Curriculum Alignment: Research by Zhang et al. (2019) showed the positive impact of curriculum-aligned tutoring programs on student achievement in mathematics.

  6. Duration and Consistency: A longitudinal study by Spencer et al. (2020) demonstrated the sustained benefits of consistent, long-term tutoring on the academic achievement of elementary and middle school students.

  7. Emphasis on Skill Mastery: A study by Fuchs et al. (2017) focused on skill mastery in mathematics tutoring, showing significant improvements in student performance.

  8. Integration of Technology: A 2021 study by Means et al. examined the use of technology in tutoring, finding it effective in enhancing student learning in various subjects.

  9. Focus on Building Confidence and Motivation: Research by Quirk et al. (2020) explored the role of tutoring in improving student motivation and confidence, showing a positive correlation with academic achievement.

  10. Adaptability: A 2018 study by Sun et al. on personalized tutoring approaches demonstrated their effectiveness in improving literacy skills among primary school students.

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