Chicago Math Tutoring Program Delivers Big Changes
March 23, 2015
If you have ever questioned whether individualized, intensive tutoring and positive relationships can make a difference, Match Education’s ground-breaking program in Chicago is more proof that it’s absolutely possible.
A column in The New York Times spotlighted some of the incredible results achieved by the math program for 1,300 students in 12 public high schools.
Developed by Match Education in Boston, which seeks to correct the “mismatch” in academic preparedness common among minority students in impoverished areas, the program provides two-on-one math tutoring for hour-long sessions every day.
In the first year, on average, students who received Match tutoring and mentoring increased their math learning gains by 1 to 2 years more than the control group, and their test scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress math exam reduced the black-white test score gap by a third. Furthermore, the tutoring also reduced math course failure rates by 50%, and overall course failure rates by 25%.
By helping students in math every day, tutors are building students’ confidence so they are less likely to fail other classes or drop out of school, and also less likely to be arrested for violent crimes. According to the program’s executive director Barbara Algarin, “These students can make remarkable progress when they appreciate that their tutor is in their corner.” The math connection leads to better study skills and a love of learning. Grades improve across the board.
This column cites an issue that both HEART and Match address: It is difficult for teachers alone to provide the amount of individualized attention needed by students who are performing multiple years below grade level in math. Teachers must go back and re-teach a variety of critical math skills that were missed in previous years before their students can comprehend grade-level content. “Just a few years of this type of intervention could bring almost all students up to grade level,” said Jens Ludwig, a professor of social service administration at the University of Chicago and the director of its Crime Lab, in the New York Times report. “By then they can benefit from what’s being taught in regular classes and have real hope for a high school diploma.”
This column also states that “American parents spend $7 billion annually on tutoring, in some cases as much as $400 an hour.” Match offers a relatively cheap solution: tutors earn $16,000 per year. To Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who plans to expand the program, the lesson is plain. “What this shows is, don’t ever throw the towel in on the kids,” the mayor said.
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