Crime Lab New York Individualized Tutoring to Help Students Get Back on Track

Many attempts to improve academic outcomes for disadvantaged high school students have yielded disappointing results. This has led some to argue that improving the academic outcomes of children in poverty is too difficult and costly once they reach adolescence. But recent research by Crime and Education Lab in both New York City and Chicago indicates that this conclusion is premature. There is a promising opportunity to make progress by targeting a key barrier to school success: the “mismatch” between what is being taught and the academic level of youth, particularly those far behind grade level.

In partnership with SAGA Innovations, Crime and Education Lab has shown that high-dosage, personalized tutoring can substantially improve youth outcomes. SAGA Innovations, a non-profit, provides an hour of individualized math tutoring to high school students every day for the whole school year, with the goal of helping all students catch up and achieve academic success. Initial results from Chicago show that participants gained an additional one to two years of math knowledge compared to their peers. In New York City, early results from Crime and Education Lab also shows encouraging gains for public school students, including improved Regents scores, math grades, and attendance. Based on this evidence, policymakers in both New York City and Chicago are investing resources to bring this promising intervention to thousands of young people.