For Immediate Release
Friday, March 8, 2024

High-impact tutoring drives significant student achievement in reading and math

​Illinois’ nationally recognized tutoring program points to strong recovery from the pandemic 

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education, in partnership with the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), have unveiled a report on the Illinois Tutoring Initiative, highlighting accelerated learning outcomes resulting from high-impact tutoring during the 2022-23 school year. An analysis of assessment data from participating students across 133 schools in 58 districts found that from fall to spring nearly 90 percent of tutored students met or exceeded expected growth in math and 80 percent in reading.

The report follows a new national study from Harvard and Stanford that analyzed student achievement before and after the pandemic and found that Illinois is one of only three states in the entire country to have fully recovered in English language arts.  The White House also highlighted the Illinois Tutoring Initiative (ITI) in a report about the nation’s recovery from the pandemic, which showed that the United States seems to have fared better than many of its peer nations. The White House report highlighted the Illinois Tutoring Initiative as an example of successful, high-fidelity tutoring efforts.

“The data show that Illinois is leading the nation in pandemic recovery, a testament to strategic investments at both the state and local levels,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tony Sanders. “By prioritizing evidence-based practices, such as high-impact tutoring, Illinois schools are successfully helping students regain lost ground.”

“This cross-agency initiative was an innovative approach in Illinois to combat the effects of the disruption to student learning and inequities amplified by the pandemic,” said IBHE Executive Director Ginger Ostro. “We are encouraged by these great outcomes which help students get closer to their academic and career goals.”

"Illinois has taken a fresh approach to tackle the challenges of disrupted learning and increased inequalities due to the pandemic. We're seeing some promising results from this collaboration between agencies, which is helping students move closer to their academic and career goals, and we are proud to be a part of the effort," said ICCB Executive Director Brian Durham.

The analysis evaluated data from both state and local assessments for 3,124 students, including 1,379 who received tutoring and 1,745 who were recommended for tutoring but did not receive services.

Key highlights from the ITI report include:

  • Statewide Achievement: Analysis of state assessment data showed statistically significant higher scores in both reading and math compared to their non-tutored peers.
  • Consistent Growth: Tutored students demonstrated consistent growth in reading and math, with nearly 90% meeting or exceeding expected growth in math and approximately 80% in reading between fall 2022 and spring 2023.
  • Equity Impact: Students receiving special education services and English learners demonstrated statistically higher levels of progress when participating in math tutoring sessions, emphasizing the ITI's commitment to closing equity gaps.
  • Student Reading Motivation: Tutored students exhibited increased confidence in decoding difficult words, engaging with complex texts, and demonstrating enhanced persistence and motivation in reading, which are crucial for improved comprehension.

The Illinois Tutoring Initiative has served 2,424 students in 140 schools at 64 districts to date during the 2023-24 school year, with tutoring sessions continuing through summer 2024.

High-impact tutoring is an evidence-based strategy designed to support learning recovery efforts statewide. It incorporates best practices, such as alignment with academic curriculum, low tutor-to-student ratios, and frequent sessions, to ensure a greater impact on student achievement.

About the Illinois Tutoring Initiative

ISBE utilized federal pandemic relief funds to partner with the Illinois Board of Higher Education and Illinois Community College Board to target Illinois' highest-need school districts to support learning recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Seven institutions of higher education have partnered to provide high-impact tutoring, with Illinois State University overseeing project coordination. Learn more at​.