The results from this report by The National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education are not too encouraging.... -Angela
Does NCLB tutoring improve student learning?
By Steven M. Ross, Laura L. Neergaard, Lynn Harrison, James Ford, Jangmi Paek, William Sanders, James Ashton and Jill Leandro
Implementation and Outcomes of Supplemental Educational Services: The 2007-2008 Tennessee
State-Wide Evaluation Study
Occasional Paper No. 176
By Marco A. Muñoz and Steven M. Ross
Supplemental Educational Services as a Component of No
Child Left Behind: A Mixed-Method Analysis of its Impact on Student Achievement
Occasional Paper No. 177
One goal of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) is to provide a diverse array of educational options designed to increase student achievement for students from disadvantaged families who attend failing schools. In particular, the NCLB requires districts to offer
supplemental educational services (SES) -- particularly tutoring -- outside of
the regular school day to students in schools that are in the second year of
school improvement--that is, schools that have been identified for not meeting
the state's adequate yearly progress goals for three consecutive years. SES providers may include non-profit, for-profit, and faith-based organizations in addition to school districts, but
most are for-profit firms.
Eligible families can choose among approved providers.
Typical tutoring costs are in the range of $40-80 an hour, and the
overall cost to the taxpayer has been estimated at about $ 2 billion a year. To
ascertain the effectiveness of this investment, two recent studies have
examined the impact of NCLB tutoring on student achievement in Jefferson
County (Louisville), Kentucky and in Tennessee.
In order for the market for tutoring services to be effective, parents should be
well-informed about provider services; public authorities should hold service
providers accountable for results; and tutoring instruction should be aligned
with classroom teaching and state standards. Unfortunately, reports from the
field suggest that these conditions are met only rarely. But, what do systematic and rigorous
evaluations find on their effectiveness?
In the paper for Tennessee, Steven M. Ross, Laura L. Neergaard, Lynn Harrison, James Ford, Jangmi Paek, William Sanders, James Ashton, and Jill Leandro matched students who used the tutoring
program with similar eligible students who did not participate, and they surveyed
stakeholders' (e.g. students, parents, teachers and administrators) perceptions
of the tutoring program. The analyses revealed that while stakeholders tended to express strong support for the program and the service providers, no statistically significant differences
were found in reading achievement between tutored participants and the
comparison group of eligible students who did not use the tutoring services.
With regard to math achievement, the students who used the tutoring program performed
significantly worse than the comparison group.
In the paper for Jefferson County, Marco A. Muñoz and Steven M. Ross employed
nearly the same research design as that of the Tennessee
analysis, and their analysis produced similar results. They found that although
stakeholders generally supported the program, no significant
differences appeared in achievement between tutored students and the matched comparison group.
One interpretation of the contrast between the positive perceptions of the program and its lack of
effectiveness found in both studies is that the tutoring service providers may place
greater effort in marketing their programs to parents than in ensuring the
quality of the tutoring process and successful outcomes.
Dr. Henry Levin, Director