In 2022, only 33 percent of fourth grade students nationwide performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level on the reading assessment.
OnYourMark Education provides high-impact virtual tutoring for 20 minutes a day, four days a week, to students in kindergarten through second grade. The organization recruits, trains, and manages tutors from across the country, matching them with schools seeking to increase students’ reading ability. Throughout the school year, tutors meet with students using a video conferencing platform during regularly scheduled small-group instruction or independent learning. Grounded in the science of reading with a focus on foundational literacy skills, OnYourMark’s tutoring reaches more than 2,000 students at 23 partner schools across the country.
In 2022, Overdeck Family Foundation was the sole funder of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) designed to understand the potential impact of OnYourMark’s virtual tutoring on student learning. Conducted by a team of researchers from Stanford University led by Susanna Loeb, the study examined over 2,000 students across 12 schools. About half of the students were randomly assigned to receive tutoring from OnYourMark while the other half were randomly assigned to receive instruction as usual. Study findings revealed that one-on-one virtual OnYourMark tutoring had a positive impact on students’ early literacy skills, as measured with an assessment called the DIBELS. OnYourMark had the largest effects on kindergarteners’ knowledge of letter sounds and first graders’ decoding skills. Researchers concluded that impacts on these domains translated into as much as 24 extra days of learning letter sounds for kindergartners and 51 extra days of decoding for first graders.
OnYourMark’s RCT is the first of its kind to test the impact of virtual tutoring on young learners. The results point to the potential of virtual instruction to reach more students, whether they are in rural schools or schools that are struggling to recruit and hire tutoring staff, as well as potential insight into how high-dosage tutoring can become more cost-effective and sustainable in the future through the use of technology.
Bolstered by this evidence, OnYourMark continues to innovate on ways to improve the cost-effectiveness of high-quality tutoring. This year, the organization launched a pilot with Overdeck Family Foundation grantee Illuminate Literacy building on previous Foundation-funded research into the effectiveness of blended tutoring models. The pilot will unearth additional insight into the efficacy of tutoring programs when paired with technology platforms.
In addition to providing funding for OnYourMark’s RCT, which sets up the organization to meet “Tier 1” evidence standards as established by ESSA, Overdeck Family Foundation also provides OnYourMark with general operating support that has enabled it to iterate on the delivery of its model, improve its data systems to handle increased reach, and invest in its growth teams, resulting in more students receiving high-impact virtual tutoring and, potentially, reading on grade level.