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November 3, 2022

How Schools Can Utilize On-Demand Tutoring as an In-Class Learning Support

With recent data demonstrating an alarming drop in math and reading scores amongst students, the push for immediate and proactive academic support has never been higher. With pandemic-related learning gaps and the continuation of teacher shortages, many districts are evaluating how schools can utilize on-demand tutoring as an in-class learning support for their students, without relaying additional stress and responsibilities on their staff.

In many districts across the country, on-demand tutoring programs are helping to bridge learning gaps and support teachers in providing 1:1 support for students. While many may consider tutoring a support available outside of the classroom, virtual tutoring can be leveraged as an in-class support to address the wide learning needs of a classroom.

While there are numerous benefits for incorporating on-demand tutoring within the school day, we’ve gathered a few leading examples of why K-12 districts are leveraging on-demand tutoring as an in-class learning support for this school year.

Addressing interrupted learning with differentiation

Differentiation relies on using an extensive set of data sources to pinpoint exactly what students know, what they need to know, and what they're ready to learn to provide highly effective learning for each student.

By using differentiated instruction, teachers can provide students with tailored learning plans focused on their specific needs. Unfortunately, it's exceedingly difficult for a single teacher to provide that kind of instruction for every student in the classroom.

The average classroom across the United States has 24 students. Many classrooms, especially in middle and high school, will have 30 or more — and some teachers may teach many classes every day making their student roster lists easily over 200 students. Providing differentiated instruction for every student in all those classes may be impossible, especially when additional factors such as individualized instruction and wide knowledge gaps are factored in.

Simply put, when we’re asking teachers to tailor instruction and support to each student’s needs, we’re asking them to do an almost impossible job.

However, differentiated learning is key to student success, especially as students continue to struggle with interrupted learning. Differentiated instruction can help identify each student's struggles and offer tools to help them move beyond it more effectively.

With the recent NAEP data demonstrating the wide gaps of fundamental skills in math and reading, differentiated learning is pivotal in helping students access grade-level content across a wide range of skills or prior knowledge. But how can schools support teachers in providing differentiated learning when faced with high class numbers and limited time?

Using on-demand tutoring as an in-class tool for differentiation

On-demand tutoring delivers personalized instruction support to each student, when and where they need it – including in the classroom. During these high-dosage tutoring sessions, students work extensively with subject expert tutors to build the skills they need, whether that means going back and addressing learning gaps or moving students forward in their instruction to meet grade-level standards and beyond.

High-dosage tutoring is research-backed in demonstrating a significant impact on overall student learning. With high-dosage tutoring, students are able to learn faster, catch up on material they may have missed during standard or traditional classroom instruction, and expand their knowledge through enrichment opportunities.

One-on-one tutoring can also help provide access to differentiated support as an embedded in-class learning tool. Whether a student needs additional practice in a specific skill or to relearn a foundational skill, tutors can provide that targeted support while a teacher facilitates classwide instruction.

For an actionable example, let’s consider Pear Deck Tutor's (formerly TutorMe) Writing Lab. While a teacher is instrumental in teaching the content that will feed into an essay, it is incredibly difficult to deliver specific feedback to each student.

Most high school teachers will have over 150 students scattered across multiple classes each day. Even if that teacher spends just five minutes on each paper, that equates to over 12 hours of time spent providing feedback. This doesn’t include the additional review process that will occur after a student has edited a paper based on feedback. That workload is nearly impossible, and that feedback will have to occur outside of the classroom and not face-to-face with the student.  

During a Writing Lab session, students can receive detailed feedback from writing tutors that can help them not only address any immediate problems with a specific paper or essay but hone their writing skills more effectively. Those tutors can focus individually on each student throughout the session, providing valuable feedback on their writing that teachers may simply not have time to give.

Providing support beyond the school day

On-demand tutoring also increases equitable access for students by providing accessible academic support beyond the school day. With on-demand tutoring, students can complete homework, ask clarifying questions, prepare for tests, and develop a deeper overall mastery of the content.

Teachers often have very limited availability when the school day comes to an end. In a 2022 NEA survey, 90% of teachers responded that they are experiencing burnout. This burnout was directly related to additional responsibilities during the school day and the inability to disconnect in the evenings due to workloads.

In supporting educators, providing an avenue to allow educators to disconnect outside of school should be a top priority. They need to disconnect and spend time with their own families, take care of their home responsibilities, and reset for the next school day. However, this conflicts with the needs of students to be able to access support while completing homework, studying for a test, or catching up on missed material as a result of an illness or school activity.

On-demand tutoring ensures that students can access academic support in the classroom and at home. Tutors can help students work through their homework, including answering questions that students might have or providing an additional layer of accountability. They can help students deal with any challenges they may face as they complete the work or give them the support they need to study for tests.

In many classrooms, teachers simply cannot address every question and support every student. Many students can quickly fall through the cracks, especially as classrooms become increasingly overcrowded.

With one-on-one tutoring, students can access professional tutors focused on them during tutoring sessions. As a result, students can feel more confident about their learning and ensure that all their questions and concerns, no matter how seemingly small, are addressed in a timely, effective manner– without overburdening our educators.

Supplement your in-class support with on-demand tutoring

Tutoring isn't just a support resource that can help struggling students outside the classroom. It's also an ideal tool that can complement in-class support, providing the differentiated instruction students need to achieve their academic goals.

Differentiation can have a sizable overall impact on student learning, whether students are dealing with interrupted learning or ready to move forward to higher levels of instruction, and one-on-one tutoring is one of the most effective ways to provide that instruction.

Are you ready to empower your students and educators with on-demand tutoring? Learn more about partnering with Pear Deck Tutor to accelerate student learning in your schools.


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Dave Frayser
Vice President of Sales for Pear Tutor

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