According to federal tests, by the time they reach eighth grade, half of all African American schoolboys have not mastered the most basic math skills.
A new study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research on Monday suggests a promising approach for helping challenged students.
The study, which was conducted by a team led by Jens Ludwig, the co-director of the University of Chicago Urban Education Lab, provided a program of intense tutoring, in combination with group behavioral counseling, to a group of low-income ninth- and 10th-grade African-American youths with weak math skills, track records of absences or disciplinary problems. Those students learned in an eight-month period the equivalent of what the average American high school student learns in math over three years of school, as measured by standardized test scores, over and above what a similar group of students who did not receive the tutoring or counseling did.
In addition to improved test scores, far more of the students in the program met indicators of being on track to graduate on time from high school than their peers who were not tutored.
Researchers of the experiment modeled the tutoring on a program developed by Match Education. The Boston-based nonprofit provides tutoring for about 2,200 students, and hires recent college graduates or retirees willing to tutor full-time for a low salary of $17,000.
Thoughts on the program?
What does it show us about the educational needs of at-risk youth?
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