Why do we need to evaluate tutoring programmes?
Academic tutoring as an intervention has been embedded in many schools for a number of years, though the delivery of the National Tutoring Programme (since Covid-19) has led to increased visibility and take-up in many cases. From evidence that is available (EEF, NFER), we know that tutoring works. There is strong evidence behind the impact of tutoring which makes it a key tool to support those pupils most in need.
However, there is limited evidence on the specific conditions and implementation factors under which tutoring works. Moreover, tutoring organisations or schools may not always know where to start when it comes to evaluating their tutoring programmes to understand whether they have had any impact. It is essential that tutoring programmes are evaluated to ensure they are effective, efficient, equitable, and responsive to the evolving needs of pupils and the education system as a whole.
The Talking Impact Event
We wanted to draw on some practical advice on evaluation of tutoring from our partners who work in the tutoring space and shed light on the emerging evidence on what makes effective implementation of tutoring. Therefore, in our third Talking Impact workshop on 14th December 2023 we discussed evaluating impact and implementation of tutoring. We presented our paper synthesising findings from evaluations of tutoring programmes with our partners TKAT (The Kemnal Academies Trust) and Education Development Trust, and a joint evaluation of implementation of tutoring with five tutoring organisations- CoachBright, Equal Education, Get Further, Manning's Tutors, and TP Tutors. The paper is published on our website here.
We were grateful to have four brilliant panellists for the event - Gwen Casazza from Tribal, Fiona Rutherford from Education Development Trust, David Linsell from TKAT, and Connie Lawful from Get Further. Gwen is a Project Director at Tribal, overseeing the delivery of Quality Assurance of Tuition Partners for the National Tutoring Programme. Fiona is the Programme Director for the National Tutoring Programme at EDT, she has over 10 years’ experience in the education sector. David is the Director of Education at TKAT and has 40 years of experience in education, 20 of those being years of Headship. Connie is the Marketing and Communications Officer for Get Further - an award-winning tuition charity and the only non-profit dedicated to supporting students in Further Education to secure gateway maths and English qualifications.
The session along with panel discussion were facilitated by Charlotte Dougan from the Impact Partnerships team at ImpactEd Evaluation.
Key discussion points
The session was attended by over 70 participants who engaged in active discussion on the evaluation of tutoring. The key points involved:
- Panellists discussed evidence that shows ‘spill-over’ benefits of tutoring i.e., impact on attainment as well as non-cognitive outcomes such as motivation, self-efficacy. This was especially important for TKAT to measure ‘self-belief’ in the pupils they work with which might aid in their wider engagement in the school life. You can learn more about TKAT’s approach to evaluation in our paper (page 9, Tutoring: Exploring implementation and impact)
- It was highlighted that evaluation of tutoring is important to measure its impact as well as to strengthen the programme and its buy-in from schools. Schools are more likely to engage with a programme that is proven to work and is backed by evidence. Evaluation of these programmes, however, does not always have to be elaborate or in-depth but can be a small, embedded part of the day-to-day such as tutor observations.
- Finally, when discussing implementation of tutoring, panellists concurred that the emerging evidence is useful in establishing what kind of implementation is effective. However, more research and evaluation is needed to understand why, in which contexts, and for whom it is effective. A one-size-fits-all approach rarely works in education, and similarly, an implementation that is effective for one cohort of pupils may not be for another. Our paper has further insights into the implementation of tutoring (page 7, Tutoring: Exploring implementation and impact).
The Talking Impact events take place termly and the next iteration will be during the Spring Term of 2024. Keep an eye out on our socials for what our next theme will be! If you have any suggestions of topics you would love to see captured, do feel free to reach out to us on email@example.com