The Knowledge

NTP: What impact has online tuition had?

A new report shows online tuition leads to progress on multiple fronts with particular benefits for disadvantaged pupils, say Will Chambers and Kristina Altoft

A new report shows online tuition leads to progress on multiple fronts with particular benefits for disadvantaged pupils, say Will Chambers and Kristina Altoft

16 Jan 2023, 5:00

There has been a lot of recent discussion around the impact of online tutoring programmes, with a variety of experiences and analyses reported across the country. The latest set of data unveiled by Pearson and Bramble this week shows the approach has substantial qualitative and quantitative benefits.

The strong sense we get from listening to the pupils, teachers and tutors we work with is that live online tuition really is having a significant, positive impact on pupils’ attainment, confidence, understanding and engagement. All well and good, but it’s even better to have the hard stats to back this up, which they do – and particularly when it comes to those eligible for pupil premium funding.

Our new impact report analyses online tuition sessions delivered by Pearson tutors using the Bramble online tutoring and teaching platform during the 2021-22 academic year. It shows that very encouraging progress has been made by pupils eligible for pupil premium across a range of phases and subjects. Among a range of positive outcome measures, the most striking headlines are that:

· Key stage 2 pupil premium pupils increased their attainment scores by 73 per cent across all subjects, compared with 67 per cent for non-pupil premium pupils.

· Key stage 4 pupil premium pupils, who started from a higher baseline, made impressive gains of 59 per cent across all subjects. The figure for non-pupil premium pupils was 47 per cent.

· Pupil premium pupils across all key stages increased their maths scores by 76 per cent. The figure was the same for non-pupil premium maths pupils.

· Pupil premium pupils across all key stages increased their English scores by 52 per cent, compared to 42 per cent for non-pupil premium pupils.

Based on 93,000 hours of tutoring sessions in English, maths or science, 4,400 pre- and post-tuition assessments and almost 80,000 CUE (confidence, understanding and engagement) ratings, the data also revealed a 76 per cent increase in assessment scores following maths catch-up tutoring across key stages 2 and 4, average student confidence of 73 per cent across the board and average student understanding of 77 per cent across all subjects. Pupil premium pupils made up 49 per cent of the sample used for our analysis.

Online tuition is now firmly embedded as part of the education landscape

The impact report also highlights findings from Bramble’s annual tuition survey that surveyed more than 2,200 teachers, tutors, pupils and parents during the summer. This indicates that online tuition is now firmly embedded as part of the education landscape, reporting that 87 per cent of all pupils found online tutoring to be more effective or as effective as the in-person alternative, with 81 per cent of tutors and teachers reporting a positive impact from external tuition.

Online tuition was also rated highly by tutors, teachers and pupils for creating a learning environment that helped pupils become more relaxed and focused.

Interaction and search data collated from the Bramble platform showed that in addition to the millions of words spoken during the tuition sessions we analysed, 641,000 resources were shared. Number, algebra and geometry were the top three topics covered in maths tutoring sessions. We also discovered that pupils searched their recorded lessons for revision more than 127,000 times.

The report analyses the largest ever sample of pupils to participate in live online tuition during the second year of the National Tutoring Programme, and offers real proof that online tuition delivers a significant and sustained impact on pupil progress, particularly for pupils eligible for pupil premium funding.

It is clear is that high-quality, engaging online tuition sessions can ensure that thousands of pupils reach their potential. Doing so depends on a tutor workforce comprised of fully-qualified teachers, skilled in meeting individual learning needs with flexible teaching approaches, and aligning the content of sessions with existing classroom plans and practices.

These findings reinforce what we know – that when the right people, right processes and right tools are on hand to deliver tutoring, learners clearly can and do succeed.

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