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Using the right design to get the ‘wrong’ answer? Results of a random assignment evaluation of a volunteer tutoring programme

Gary Ritter (Education Policy, University of Arkansas)
Rebecca Maynard (University of Pennsylvania)

Journal of Children's Services

ISSN: 1746-6660

Article publication date: 12 April 2008

Abstract

Academically focused tutoring programmes for young children have been promoted widely in the US in various forms as promising strategies for improving academic performance, particularly in reading and mathematics. A body of evidence shows the benefits of tutoring provided by certified, paid professionals; however, the evidence is less clear for tutoring programmes staffed by adult volunteers or college students. In this article, we describe a relatively large‐scale university‐based programme that creates tutoring partnerships between college‐aged volunteers and students from surrounding elementary schools. We used a randomised trial to evaluate the effectiveness of this programme for 196 students from 11 elementary schools over one school year, focusing on academic grades and standardised test scores, confidence in academic ability, motivation and school attendance. We discuss the null findings in order to inform the conditions under which student support programmes can be successful.

Keywords

Citation

Ritter, G. and Maynard, R. (2008), "Using the right design to get the ‘wrong’ answer? Results of a random assignment evaluation of a volunteer tutoring programme", Journal of Children's Services, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 4-16. https://doi.org/10.1108/17466660200800008

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited