Teachers need to know both about their students, and they gather both types of information every day in their classrooms. But there’s a way to get them even more of this essential data.

Around the country, districts and states are turning to high-impact tutoring, whether as part of the school day or afterschool, to reverse severe declines in reading and math scores since the pandemic. Tennessee has invested a lot of money and resources into this effort, and Illinois is marching down the same path.

What makes tutoring high-impact? According to the National Student Support Accelerator, it involves substantial time each week, sustained and strong relationships between students and tutors, close monitoring of student knowledge and skills alignment to school curriculum, and oversight to ensure quality interactions.

With feedback from a tutor, teacher/student conversations are more productive because the teacher can speak directly to what the student did well or struggled with during tutoring. Having a tutor’s feedback also means teachers spend less time teasing insights out of data. For example, a single note from a tutor is a much more efficient way of discovering students’ misconceptions than asking a teacher to dig through pages of data.

That’s the quantitative part. But there are also insights into how students are learning, feeling and doing — the qualitative piece — that tutors can gain insight to, and that can help teachers understand their students better.

Tutors, armed with appropriate curriculum, can not only help students make academic progress; they can offer teachers more of the kind of data that helps them build strong relationships with their class. Students, like all humans, are motivated to work hard for someone they have a connection with, so any solution for improving academic outcomes needs to have relationships at its center.

Read the full article about tutor and student relationships by Dan Tracy at The 74.