What Is High-Dosage Tutoring & How To Make It A Success In Your School

High-dosage tutoring is an effective method for recovering learning loss. It is one of the few evidence-based interventions to demonstrate significant positive effects on math achievement. High-dosage tutoring can potentially increase students’ learning by 3 to 15 months.

In this blog, we will cover everything you need to know about high-dosage tutoring including what is high-dosage tutoring, the research behind high-dosage tutoring, and how you can implement high-dosage tutoring in your school.

What is high-dosage tutoring?

High-dosage tutoring is a form of tutoring where the student and tutor meet at least 3 times per week for 30-45 minutes per session for a sustained period. High-dosage tutoring is one of the most effective interventions for students demonstrating large, positive effects on both math and reading.

High-dosage tutoring can be one-on-one, or in small groups. One-on-one tutoring remains the most effective tutoring method, but group tutoring is still effective up to around 3 students per tutor – any larger than this, and the impact generally reduces. 

Typically an effective high-dosage tutoring program will run for a period of 12-15 weeks with a minimum dosage of 90 minutes per week. High-dosage tutoring is often used to:

  • address learning loss;
  • build confidence;
  • get students to grade level and above before state tests.
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Is high-dosage tutoring effective?

High-dosage tutoring is definitely effective. While tutoring works for all students, high-dosage tutoring is particularly effective with students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. 

Stanford University’s National Student Support Accelerator based in California states that “[f]or students from lower income families, tutoring is one of the most impactful educational approaches”.

“A 2017 meta-analysis study examined interventions that aimed to improve the educational achievement of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds in elementary and middle school. Of all the interventions examined, tutoring was both the most common and the most effective.” 

Comparison of high-dosage tutoring with other intervention strategies

This evidence base is corroborated by many education researchers such as Matthew Kraft from the Annenberg Institute at Brown University. He cited 4 major studies (Fryer – 2017, Dietrichson et al – 2017, Pelligrini et al – 2021, Inns et al – 2019) that all present various forms of one-on-one tutoring and high-dosage tutoring as the most effective intervention on standardized student achievement.

How to ensure high-dosage tutoring is a success

High-dosage tutoring is effective in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools – although the impact is generally larger at elementary and middle school grade levels.

Here are some evidence-based suggestions to ensure success in your context:

  1. Opt for scheduled high-dosage tutoring programs

    Scheduled high-dosage tutoring programs are much more effective than on-demand tutoring programs. Research suggests that on-demand programs are often poorly utilized and not evidence-based. 
  1. Schedule sessions during the school day

    Whether schools are looking to address pandemic related learning gaps, or to support more students to work at grade level, tutoring is most effective when delivered during the school day. This doesn’t mean that after school tutoring can’t work, but you need to ensure students enroll and that attendance is high
Schedule high-dosage tutoring with third Space Learning
Third Space Learning makes it easy for schools to have full control over the scheduling of tutoring sessions.
  1. Invest in tutor training and development

    Research shows that trained tutors are essential to deliver high-impact tutoring. This matters more than whether a tutor is a classroom teacher, paraprofessional, or college student. They can all be great tutors – but they need tutor training and mentoring! 
Third Space Learning's tutor training portal
Third Space Learning makes it easy for schools to have full control over the scheduling of tutoring sessions. 

How much does high-dosage tutoring cost?

While there is generally universal agreement that high-dosage tutoring works, traditionally it has been considered expensive to organize and run. 

The average cost of one-on-one tutoring is $60 per hour, which means that a 12-week 3x per week program would cost $2,160 per student. That’s not including any recruitment or training costs for tutors.

However, this is a common math intervention myth. High-dosage tutoring doesn’t need to be this expensive. Here at Third Space Learning, we have spent 10+ years working out how we can drive down the cost of high-dosage tutoring to enable more students to experience the benefits.

A comparable Third Space Learning math tutoring program would cost just $828 per student. Unlike the quote above, this includes:

what's included with Third Space Learning's high-dosage tutoring?

Choose a tutoring provider that can provide quality instruction, at scale at an affordable price. 

How do schools fund high-dose tutoring programs?

There are many school funding options available for schools. If general allocation funds aren’t available, then many school districts use Title I funding to fund tutoring programs. Additionally, Title III funding can be used to support tutoring in core subjects such as Math and Reading for English Language Learners, and Title IV can be used to fund tutoring services. 

And don’t forget – ESSER III Department of Education funding for pandemic related catch up and remediation work must be obligated by the end of this school year – so you could use this for a multi-year project. 

Read more: When do ESSER funds expire? 

For more information on funding tutoring, download our high-impact tutoring guide for schools.

Which students can benefit from high-dosage tutoring?

While all students can benefit from high-dosage tutoring, high-dosage tutoring is particularly effective when tutoring underprivileged students. These learners have often experienced the greatest learning loss from the pandemic and while not exclusively, they should generally be our focus area for support.

Additionally, look for students who are struggling with classroom instruction, suffering from math anxiety or working behind grade level. A high-quality tutoring program may enable them to quickly progress, and build their confidence to engage in the classroom.

US high-dosage tutoring second grade lesson 2 - let's learn
Third Space Learning’s online learning program builds confidence in all learners in a safe, low-stakes environment.

Read more: 9 Tutoring strategies to boost learning


Dietrichson et al. (2017) – Academic Interventions for Elementary and Middle School Students With Low Socioeconomic Status
Pelligrini et al. (2021) – Effective Programs in Elementary Mathematics: A Meta-Analysis
Inns et al. (2019) – A Synthesis of Quantitative Research on Reading Programs for Secondary Students

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Each student receives differentiated instruction designed to close their individual learning gaps, and scaffolded learning ensures every student learns at the right pace. Lessons are aligned with your state’s standards and assessments, plus you’ll receive regular reports every step of the way.

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