Does High-Impact Online Tutoring Live Up to the Hype?

With the ever-changing landscape of education due to the pandemic, schools and administrators are now tasked with finding the best solutions to help their students recover from the learning loss they have experienced. Online tutoring has become a much-discussed solution, with many terms like “high-dosage” and “high-impact” circulating as ways to replace traditional learning interventions. 

Although many, if not all, students would greatly benefit from personalized and/or group tutoring, the reality is that most students don’t receive tutoring. This is often due to a lack of knowledge of tutoring programs that are readily available to them. And in some cases, parents think their children don’t need tutoring.  

Of course, it makes sense to be concerned about learning loss, especially after the 2022 nation's report card revealed declines in math and reading scores. While there are many strategies and programs available to help students reach their potential, it can be difficult to determine which ones will actually have a lasting impact. 

When it comes to tutoring, especially high-impact tutoring, there’s enough evidence to substantiate the claims that it is one of the best solutions to get students back to pre-pandemic levels of achievement—and perhaps beyond.

High-Impact Tutoring

With online high-impact tutoring, students expand their learning beyond the classroom and experience accelerated academic growth.

Many studies have demonstrated high-dosage tutoring’s wide-ranging impacts. In addition to helping students accelerate learning, online tutoring can also support students from low socioeconomic backgrounds—students who wouldn’t otherwise have access to in-person tutoring or other learning interventions. Tutoring also has the transformative potential to address other educational inequities.

Even as schools resume in-person learning, online high-impact tutoring remains widely accessible and the best solution to filling in pandemic-related learning gaps.

So, just how effective is online tutoring?

Tutoring Efficacy 

Digital learning has opened up new avenues of possibilities for students who otherwise would not have had access to older learning models. Online support has paved the way for so many students, and continues to improve. Additionally, it enables them to thrive in ways we will continue to discover down the line.

Traditionally, in-person face-to-face tutoring has been the main focus for getting students back on track in their learning. But over the past few years, we’ve collectively changed our perspective around online learning. With the shift in attitudes around remote education— namely, the ease and accessibility with which students are becoming more and more proficient—online tutoring has opened up a whole new world where students can strive towards higher academic achievement. 

Online high-impact tutoring models offer many benefits and enable students to build their knowledge with flexibility and confidence. It allows for measurability, a way to keep track of student engagement and their educational progress. Not to mention, online high-dosage tutoring overcomes geographical constraints and transportation barriers for students who may not have access to traditional tutoring methods.

The Evidence

In a recent evidence review put together by J-Pal North America—a summary of 96 randomized evaluations of tutoring programs—tutoring has proven to be one of the most optimal learning interventions to battle pandemic-related learning loss.

Some key findings indicate that online tutoring enables higher learning outcomes, specifically math tutoring, which seems most effective for students in grades two to five.

A recent New York Times piece also indicates that tutoring may be the best tool we have to combat pandemic-related learning loss.

Another piece from Education Week highlights two noteworthy studies that offer reassuring signs that online tutoring can help struggling students.

Research done in Spain examined socioeconomically disadvantaged students between the ages of 12 and 15. Over a period of eight weeks, while students connected with their online tutors three times a week, they found that the students who received high-impact tutoring received “higher standardized tests scores and grades” and were also “more likely to report putting increased effort into their schoolwork.” The study also indicated the amount of tutoring that helped produce those higher grades was tantamount to what six months of learning during the school year would achieve.

An online tutoring study from Italy, also using socioeconomically disadvantaged students as the experimental group, found similar results. Students’ test scores soared. And not only did their attendance levels increase, but they also dedicated more time to their homework.

The outcomes of both of these studies also saw a surge in students’ emotional well-being, underscoring just how critical it is to include social emotional learning support within any learning intervention model.


The value behind high-impact tutoring can’t be emphasized enough and it truly does live up to the hype. Time and time again, research demonstrates how online tutoring produces significant academic outcomes and serves as the perfect tool to get students back on grade level. It’s time we take a closer look at the positive impacts of high-impact tutoring and accelerate learning for all students.

To learn more about ST Math’s online high-impact tutoring solution for school districts, visit the link below.



Victor Nguyen

About the Author

Victor Nguyen is MIND’s Content and Community Specialist. Victor is a passionate storyteller with a penchant for creative writing. In his free time, you can find him engrossed in books, going on long hikes, or trying to meditate.


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