EEF Uses Uni Students to Boost Pupils’ Maths

According to a research published by the UK’s Education Endowment Foundation, students can benefit a lot from just spending at least 12 hours with a low-cost, university students maths tutor who have been trained to handle small groups.

The tutors, according to the study, managed to help the 10 and 11 year old students who have been struggling with maths, their additional lectures amounting to approximately three additional months of progress over the year of the study.

The EFF published the study early November, which was an evaluation of tutoring from the Tutor Trust, a Manchester-based charity whose goal is to provide affordable small group and one-to-one tuition for students.

Sir Peter Lampl, EEF Chair and Founder of the Sutton Trust stated that private tuition in the UK has grown rapidly over a decade, turning into a £2 billion industry. However, he points out, with tuition costs sitting at £27 per hour, only the ones who can spare the cash to afford it can actually benefit. The primary issue later on then, will be scaling up and bringing this model to a larger number of the disadvantaged youth, he says.

The latest evaluation involved 4,436 children in 105 primary schools with notably high numbers of disadvantage children in Leeds and Manchester. Kids in Year 6 who were in need of maths tutor were selected by their students to receive extra support form Tutor Trust’s tutors, who are all either university students or recent graduates.

These tutors received structured training in order to give them the necessary skills to tutor students, like planning tuition sessions, as well as managing the behavior and assessing the performance of students.

The pupils taking part of the trial received 12 hours of tuition, usually an hour a week for 12 weeks. The students’ schools were given control over the sessions, including time, date and number of students in every group. Reportedly, most opted for students to be tutored in groups of three. The pupils’ own teachers also set the aims of every sessions, and weekly feedback were provided to them via the tutors, allowing for personalization.

The evaluation of the project by researchers from the University of York and Durham University used a randomized control trial, meaning that children who received tutoring were compared with those who did not.

The conclusion was the approach showed promise for disadvantaged pupils, with better results for pupils eligible for free school meals, girls, and those with the lowest numbers before the trial.

The cost of the tutoring was £112 per pupil for 12 hours of tutoring where students learned in groups of three.