When developing an effective student support program, equity should be a top priority. An equity-based support program offers inclusive access regardless of student socioeconomic status, race, or other factors. When we consider how we will be supporting students, we want to ensure that we are supporting all students.
As a student support program, on-demand, online tutoring programs offer equitable academic support for all students. These programs remove barriers in accessing support, in both time and location, and allow students to access support exactly when they need it. In a time when education inequality is widening, it is more important than ever that districts ensure that their support programs are increasing equity access for all students.
Students can get support whenever they need it
On-demand tutoring differs in equitable access from more traditional forms of in-person and online tutoring. When tutoring programs require students to prebook sessions or have limited hours, students often cannot access the support they need due to not booking in advance, time restraints, or no slots being available.
For example, evidence shows that many underserved students have familial or personal obligations competing for their time that may limit their access to tutoring. These students often juggle caring for younger siblings, taking care of an ill family member, or working a part-time after school job, which means they may have limited personal availability.
Unfortunately, many tutoring programs have extremely limited hours of availability. As a result, the students with the greatest need for support may have the most limited access to it.
As an on-demand tutoring program, TutorMe allows for students to access tutoring support without scheduling tutoring sessions in advance. Students can access expert help exactly when they need it. That 24/7 access can go a long way toward accommodating students' hectic schedules, whether they're dealing with time-consuming family obligations or a demanding extracurricular activity schedule.
Students can learn from anywhere
Historically, districts have used in-person tutoring to supply at-risk students with the support they need. However, in-person tutoring can come with a wealth of complications – one of which being simply the access to tutoring.
Many students lack access to transportation to and from in-person tutoring sessions. They may rely on the bus to get to and from school everyday, and the bus schedule may not align to attending tutoring sessions. If a school chooses to have tutoring offsite, these students may not have access to the necessary transportation to get there.
If tutoring is held after school, this may conflict with numerous other activities and obligations that students participate in. For students who rely on parent/guardian transportation, work schedules and other obligations may prevent students from accessing a physical location for tutoring.
As a result, many students do not access the tutoring they need simply because getting to a tutoring center can be a major obstacle.
Even when they have access to transportation, many students are reluctant to ask for help. Studies show that students as young as seven may start to feel embarrassed by the prospect asking for help in front of others. As a result, they may not want others to see them asking for academic support. For tutoring the requires students to access a sign-up form, this reluctance could prevent students from seeking out the support they need.
TutorMe helps remove many of these barriers by providing 100% online access to tutors. Students can access the platform easily from their computer or smartphone (the TutorMe App is available on the Apple Store and Android Store).
As a result, students no longer have to worry about commuting to tutoring centers or signing up for a tutoring slot. They can access that learning support wherever they are: from the privacy of home, at a sibling's practice or game, or even while commuting. Students are able to connect with a friendly, supportive tutor one-on-one in a virtual setting.
For many students, this virtual setting can also be considerably less intimidating than many in-person tutoring centers. Research shows that online learning can help students feel more confident about asking questions and engaging in the learning process. This allows students the opportunity to not only access the support they need but develop skills to become proactive agents in their own learning.
Students can get differentiated support on demand
As many educators know, there is growing evidence that struggling students need differentiated instruction to maximize academic growth. Differentiated instruction provides academic instruction and support through the utilization of a variety of strategies and delivery to meet the needs of individual learners.
However, implementing differentiated instruction is a monumental task for educators. A 2019 EdSurge survey revealed that teachers cited “lack of time and resources” as leading barriers that prevented them from delivering individualized instruction for struggling students. This problem is only exacerbated by continuing knowledge gaps that have resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic.
When teachers do provide differentiated support, this support is only provided in the classroom. Students cannot access this support on demand when they may need it, such as when working on homework or projects at home. Often, students do not recognize the full extent of the challenges they face until they head home after school.
Other times, focusing on learning gaps during the school day may mean that students continue to miss out on ongoing instruction in the classroom. Students may be removed from core classes for remediation lessons or interventions. During this time, struggling students are missing out on core learning that other students are accessing. With limited time in the school day, students are not given the opportunity to “catch back up” with the learning of their peers, and they risk falling further behind.
With TutorMe, students have unlimited access to personalized learning support exactly when they need it most. They can connect with help at any time, whether that means after school or over the weekend. Students have continual access to highly trained tutors, including days they may be out of school due to weather interruptions or sick days.
Differentiated instruction is one of the most equitable forms of support that is directly linked to student achievement. Differentiated support comes down to assisting students at the individual level, one-on-one. What helps one student reach a high level of academic performance may not necessarily help another student.
Equity in education means providing differentiated teaching and tutoring based on individual student needs.
On-demand tutoring is one of the most equitable forms of student support
Providing on-demand tutoring can help provide an equitable learning environment by helping educators bridge the knowledge gap and provide individualized support for all students in a classroom. On-demand tutoring can help drive and promote equity initiatives in your district which support student success and provide proactive support for struggling students–when they need it.
Selecting the right online tutoring partner can help your district and school in advancing equity initiatives and increasing access to student support. Learn more about how TutorMe can empower your district with virtual, on-demand tutoring support.