By Susan Davis, Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore City Public Schools is one of the first districts in the US to utilize many proven or promising tutoring programs on a significant scale in elementary reading. Although it is too early to report student gains, a report released by the Abell Foundation last month, written by BEiB’s Robert Slavin and MDRC’s Stephanie Safran, describes the seven tutoring models implemented in BCPS in detail, and how they are used in the district.
Help for these struggling students is critical; results of standardized testing at the start of the 2020 school year showed that just 7,000 of the district’s 25,000 students were reading at grade level. Currently, about 4,800 of the district’s students from 60 schools are receiving tutoring through Experience Corps, Literacy Lab, Reading Partners, Springboard Collaborative, Tutoring With the Lightning Squad, City Schools’ Tier II Fundations, or Amplify mCLASS.
The report discusses tutoring’s costs, both specific to BCPS and nationwide. Authors break down the tutoring programs used in BCPS, showing a range of costs for small group and 1 to 1 tutoring. Not surprisingly, costs were higher in 1 to 1 than in one-to-small group programs.
The report concludes with recommendations for BCPS. These include having each child reading below grade level in the district receive tutoring within their RTI tier, ensuring tutoring is being properly implemented, collecting data on results, and expanding tutoring services within the city and beyond.