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New Hampshire Broadens Access to 24/7 Online Tutoring

The New Hampshire Department of Education has expanded free access to 24/7 online tutoring services to upper elementary school students and adult GED candidates.

Under a partnership with Tutor.com, every middle and high school student in the Granite State has had access to Tutor.com since the fall of 2022. This expansion adds fourth and fifth graders as well as those who are prepping for high school equivalency diplomas (GED and HiSET). All told, this arrangement is open to about 130,000 public, private, charter and homeschooled students, according to a Dec. 5 news release.

Students can use the live services as often as they like, either by two-way voice communication or text chat. Tutoring is available in 209 subjects, including AP-level courses. Online bilingual instruction is available for those still learning English. Tutor.com employs more than 3,000 vetted tutors and has delivered more than 25 million one-on-one learning sessions in its 23-year history, according to the news release.

New Hampshire Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut said the decision to contract with Tutor.com was prompted by learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent declining test scores and academic performances. Federal pandemic relief grants will cover the contract with Tutor.com, about $4.8 million, through the end of the 2024-2025 academic year.

Edelblut said New Hampshire students have participated in more than 2,100 sessions with Tutor.com in the past year, and he was pleasantly surprised to find that students from low-income districts who needed the most help were among the first to take advantage of this program.

“We’re trying to provide broad support for students and their families,” he said. “We’ve had tremendously positive feedback, but I’d still like to see more students access the tool.”

The vast majority of sessions and total time spent on tutoring sessions was in math, and within that subject the most common request for help pertained to middle school algebra, Edelblut said, adding that this information will be used to help his department change the way pre-high school algebra is taught.

“The theory is, we’re lacking a strong foundation in numeracy,” he said.

Edelblut said the individual use of Tutor.com will help New Hampshire schools transition to AI-assisted instruction, because those students will have experience accessing a tool to get support for something they don’t understand.

“That impulse is going to be getting stronger and stronger,” he said. “We want to get away from teachers having to have all the answers for all the kids.”

The New Hampshire students will also have free access to writing review services, practice quizzes, video lessons and self-paced test prep from The Princeton Review, according to the news release.

Sandi White, chief institutional officer for The Princeton Review/Tutor.com, wrote in an email that a similar statewide school partnership is in place in Hawaii and South Carolina, and public libraries in West Virginia, Louisiana, Alabama, Alaska, Rhode Island and South Carolina also offer free student access to the online tutoring service. And a recent study in El Monte Union High School in California, White added, found that students who used Tutor.com during the 2022-2023 academic year had higher grade point averages than their peers who did not — 3.02 versus 2.87.

White said the number of adult learners who accessed Tutor.com at public libraries for the purpose of GED or HiSET prep increased by 27 percent in the past year alone, and by 300 percent since 2020.

Source: Government Technology