The National Tutoring Programme is a government-funded initiative that began in the fall of 2020. Once launched, the initiative had a significant impact on the classroom. What achievements and challenges were encountered?
The program aimed to provide additional tutoring to students who had been severely disadvantaged by COVID-19. After evaluation by Ofsted showed that there were some successes and problems with the program.
There were challenges with the program. The students were chosen based on data provided by schools. However, some schools had missing data required for program eligibility, thus disqualifying them. The task fell on teachers to identify students who needed the opportunity to participate in the program opened up. Over a third of the students did not complete at least 1 hour a week for the subject requirement. This reduced the effectiveness of the tutoring program. This may have been fuelled by the fact that most schools that participated used existing staff for tutoring. This created elements of confusion in a fifth of the participating school with the tutoring occurring during school-scheduled lesson times. Poor planning and haphazard scheduling further affected the effectiveness of the program. Some schools had few free slots to schedule tutoring lessons due to many extracurricular activities scheduled after lessons.
The positive result was that students that participated fully had a better overall grade in the class. This means that if implemented correctly and the challenges resolved this program can lead to improved participation in class work and increased pass rate in examinations. These are sentiments shared by both staff and learners that tutoring re-engaged their interest in class, increased their confidence when participating, and built resilience when they struggled to understand a concept.
The implemented solutions
Since not all tutors were qualified teachers, to cover the pedagogical gap vocational tutoring sessions were administered by specialist teachers. This improved the quality of tutoring for the schools that participated.
A curriculum to guide the tutors was missing but this was tackled by clear communication between tutor and teacher to establish the core knowledge the students needed to be tutored on. The establishment of understanding of the student was done through regular assessment to continue identifying problem areas.
The next step
In their conclusion, Ofsted highlighted that better assessment is required to make the tutoring process a complete success. Although a school dashboard system has been implemented, a gap exists between the teacher and the tutor. Imagine you had a teacher who assessed each student in the class and knew by the end of the day which students needed individual attention. This information is shared with the tutor alerting them to which key facts to focus on.
Digital assessment that occurs in class makes this possible. In-class assessment tasks done by all the students are instantaneously marked and graded. Tutors will be able to focus on the focal points of a student’s needs when information is shared. Furthermore, imagine if the individualized student profile could give the school all the necessary information to make the student eligible for the Programme. Digital assessment can assist in resolving challenges in the long term. The tutoring program may meet its targets, thereby fulfilling its aim with help from digital assessment tools.
To reduce teacher workload an in-class digital assessment tool is available in the beta version. Enrollment for access to this tool is ongoing. Sign up on the contact us form to enable your school to see the benefits in your students’ performance.