Online Tutoring, Ukraine and More (News and Research 286)

Online Tutoring by College Volunteers: Experimental Evidence from a Pilot Program | A randomized control trial of a pilot program to deliver online tutoring to middle school students in spring 2021 used college students from highly selective universities as volunteer tutors working 1-on-1 with predominantly low-income students of color twice a week for 30 minutes during the school day in Chicago. The pilot program produced consistently positive but statistically insignificant effects on student achievement. The size of the overall intent-to-treat estimates, 0.07 standard deviations for math and 0.04 for reading, are roughly a third as large as the pooled effect sizes for middle/high school tutoring programs reported elsewhere. But these estimates are notable nonetheless because they are from a significantly lower-cost program that was delivered within the challenging context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The evidence is consistent with a dosage model of tutoring where additional hours result in larger effects. The per-treated student cost is $32 (not including hundreds of hours of uncompensated time that college students volunteered for tutoring or the team).

Academic Interventions for Elementary and Middle School Students with Low Socioeconomic Status | This systematic review and meta-analysis seeks to identify effective academic interventions for elementary and middle school students with low socioeconomic status. Included studies have used a treatment-control group design, were performed in OECD and EU countries, and measured achievement by standardized tests in mathematics or reading. The analysis included 101 studies performed during 2000 to 2014, 76% of which were randomized controlled trials. The effect sizes (ES) of many interventions indicate that it is possible to substantially improve educational achievement for the target group. Intervention components such as tutoring (ES = 0.36), feedback and progress monitoring (ES = 0.32), and cooperative learning (ES = 0.22) have average ES that are educationally important, statistically significant, and robust.

Online tutoring works: Experimental evidence from a program with vulnerable children | Lucas Gortazar et al | A randomized controlled trial on the effectiveness of a novel, 100-percent online math tutoring program, targeted at secondary school students from highly disadvantaged neighborhoods in Spain. The eight week-long program was delivered by qualified math teachers in groups of two students during after-school hours, six months after COVID-19 related school closures ended. The intervention significantly increased standardized test scores (+0.26 SD) and end-of-year math grades (+0.48 SD), while reducing the probability of repeating the school year. The intervention also raised aspirations, as well as self-reported effort at school.

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19 | More than 1.6 billion students have been affected by school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although schools have started to reopen in 2020 and 2021, too many have remained closed for too long. Even short disruptions in schooling can have long-lasting impacts on children’s learning and wellbeing. The evidence is clear that there is no replacement for in-person learning and schools should reopen as soon as possible. This global school closure crisis has highlighted the need for resilient education systems with remote learning options that are accessible and effective for all learners when schools are forced to close. High performing education systems closed fewer days than did lower performing systems:

High Performing Education Systems at Lower Climate Risk than Lower Performing Systems:

The Taliban are pushing females out of public life | On March 23rd thousands of Afghan girls headed to school for the first time in eight months, kitted out in bulging rucksacks, neatly pressed headscarves and covid-19 face masks. Within hours, they were at home in tears—and not because of playground fights or test results. In a last-minute pivot, the Taliban had backtracked on a decision to reopen secondary schools for girls and sent them home… In terms of the increase in hourly earnings from an extra year of schooling, the return on educating girls in Afghanistan was more than double that of educating boys. The children of educated mothers have long been better educated, healthier and likely to earn more later in life…

Learning from Korea on re-opening schools after war: from the archives: Education: Paik’s Progress, and What the U.S. can learn about education during crisis from South Korea’s wartime example | In 1951, when South Korea’s Minister of Education George Paik ordered his country’s schools reopened, 40% of their buildings were bombed and shelled beyond repair; many others were left in shambles by retreating troops. But when principals protested to Paik that there were not enough school buildings left to go around, the minister stood firm. “Start schools outdoors,” he commanded. “Hold classes in riverbeds, on mountainsides—anywhere.” As his grandson writes: “There is a feeling that, though our efforts may be imperfect, we are in this together. We all share the responsibility of educating our nation’s children. It’s a powerful idea, and one I strongly believe in. With George Paik as my grandfather — and growing up surrounded by his infectious belief in the importance of education in even the most difficult of times — it’s impossible for me to believe otherwise. If we maintain this sense of urgency and shared responsibility long after it’s safe for students to return to school, we, too, can move our country and its education system forward.”


“Yulia’s Dream” to support young, at-risk Ukrainian students of mathematics | MIT Department of Mathematics launches a free math enrichment and research program for Ukrainian high school students and refugees.

Ukraine: UNESCO’s response to children’s education needs | Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, more than 4 million people have fled the country – two million of them, are children. As the UN agency mandated to coordinate and lead on global education, UNESCO is carefully mapping exactly how host countries are supporting and providing education, to help keep young Ukrainian refugees on track – their lives totally upended in a matter of weeks.

Supporting Education Companies with Ties to Ukraine | There are more than these, but here are four education companies with Ukraine roots:

  • Grammarly – Grammarly is perhaps the best-known writing support platform on the market. It was founded and is co-headquartered in Ukraine and is estimated to have a market value of $13 billion. The service is free to download and has an education service that can be integrated into teaching modules and classrooms. AI-enabled.
  • – Preply is an online language tutoring service offering thousands of live, online tutors in a wide, wide range of languages. From English to Urdu. The company was founded in Ukraine and maintains staff there.
  • GoIT –technology training provider, an LXP – a Learning eXperience Platform, for digital professions. It has a high level of gamification, offering points, badges, leaderboards and uniquely has “duels” in which students can compete in programming “tournaments.” The founding entrepreneurs are Ukrainian, and the company is currently in a seed round, seeking to expand their technology training innovations to markets in the United States and Latin America.
  • ClassTag – ClassTag is a classroom community app that connects teachers with parents and other education stakeholders. The free app is a classroom super-aide, streamlining communication, scheduling and project tasking and tracking. ClassTag has a district-facing platform, allowing multiple classes and schools to come aboard at once. The company has grown steadily, and the company founder was raised in Ukraine. The company’s product team is still headquartered there.

EU scrambles to plug gaps in education and childcare for Ukrainian refugees

Foundations, corporations providing support for Ukraine

Mapping host countries’ education responses to the influx of Ukrainian students

Schools in Ukraine Resume Education Despite War