Cabezas and colleagues recently concluded eight years of data collection from a randomized controlled trial designed to explore the short-term and medium-term effects of a tutoring intervention in Chile. The program was administered by the Minister of Education and was directed toward fourth grade students from low socioeconomic backgrounds attending low-performing schools. Students in the treatment group received 15 weekly 90-minute tutoring sessions with a focus on shared reading. The program demonstrated small to moderate short-term effects that are similar or slightly smaller than previous research on tutoring programs.
- Overall reading and literature test scores showed a small effect (ES = + 0.06).
- Reading comprehension scores showed positive effect (ES = + 0.11).
- But use of language, texts production, and attitude towards reading did not show significant effects.
The medium-term effects, which extend through the end of high school, are the focus of the study.
- The treatment shows a beneficial effect on dropping out prior to the end of high school (ES = – 0.02) and a positive effect on completing high school on time (ES = + 0.03).
- Positive effects are noted on attendance in both primary school (ES = + 0.81) and secondary school (ES = + 1.14), as is a positive effect on primary school grades (ES = + 0.09).
- While the full sample did not show effects on 8th grade, there was a positive significant effect observed for students at a high risk of dropping out (ES = + 0.08 for language; ES = + 0.17 for math).
- There was also a positive significant effect noted on 10th grade math scores for the full sample (ES = + 0.09).
The authors conclude with an attempt to understand the mechanism responsible for the observed improvements. They suggest that short-term effects result from both the academic content of the tutoring and the human connection made during tutoring sessions, but that medium-term effects are primarily driven by the human connection rather than academic content. The effects observed in this study provide evidence that tutoring may not only help to improve short-term improvements in student understanding, but also help students from disadvantaged backgrounds improve in a range of longer-term outcomes.
Source (Open Access): Cabezas, V., Cuesta, J. I., & Gallego, F. (2021). Does short-term school tutoring have medium-term effects? Experimental evidence from Chile. Retrieved from https://economia.uc.cl/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/dt-565.pdf.