Due to Covid-related school closures, an estimated 77 percent of eighth-graders began fall 2021 below grade level in math, with 62 percent below grade-level in reading.
Saga Education is an evidence-based, personalized tutoring model that embeds tutors within the school day to support students struggling with math. Tutors work with small groups of students for a minimum of two hours per week, focusing attention on the areas in which students need the most support.
In 2018, Overdeck Family Foundation and Arnold Ventures co-funded a five-year randomized controlled trial study in partnership with the University of Chicago to measure the impact of Saga tutoring, specifically looking at Saga’s blended-learning or hybrid model, which incorporates an adaptive technology platform into a small-group tutoring platform.
Interim data from the study show statistically significant evidence of equivalent efficacy between the blended and traditional models, with a 2.5x growth in math skills during one school year, regardless of the type of model used. The completion of this study in 2023 is anticipated to move Saga’s program from ESSA Tier 2 to Tier 1.
Overdeck Family Foundation played a crucial role in encouraging Saga to think about more cost-effective ways to scale their traditional model, which relied heavily on having enough tutors to meet the demand. This led to the blended approach of combining small-group tutoring with technology, as well as funding for the study on the “half-dosage” hybrid model.
The early evidence from the study is promising, suggesting that a blended tutoring model could be as impactful as traditional small-group tutoring, while saving districts on cost and allowing them to provide support for more students. In addition to validating the model, the study has also helped build momentum for in-school tutoring as a way for districts to address learning loss during the school day.