MyTutor Schools Programme
Recruitment for this project was halted in March 2020 as a result of partial Covid-19 school closures. In summer 2020, the EEF decided to discontinue this project. The planned trial was viewed as no longer viable owing to the rapidly changing context of tutoring during the pandemic, as well as developments such as the National Tuition Programme.
MyTutor is a one-to-one, online tutoring platform which uses undergraduate students as tutors. Schools will be asked to identify 20-25 pupils who are engaged with school but are underperforming in maths.
MyTutor tutors are undergraduate students from the top 40 UK universities. During sessions, tutors and pupils communicate in real-time through the interactive Online Lesson Space, using live video, microphone and a shared whiteboard. Lessons are also recorded to allow pupils to revisit them. The tuition sessions are typically held in a school IT room as an after-school club, with a member of staff present to monitor them.
A 15-minute, online onboarding session is required for teachers, where MyTutor runs through programme logistics and demos the MyTutor dashboards, which provide information around attendance, weekly progress reports and resources. Lessons require a one hour per week commitment from each pupil for the duration of the two-term programme. Ahead of a programme launch, MyTutor ask schools to provide their pupils’ most recent assessment data, and then tutors create a bespoke programme plan, focusing on core learning gaps.
MyTutor offers online, one-to-one tuition from undergraduate students.
Why are we funding it?
The EEF toolkit indicates that one-to-one tuition can be effective, delivering approximately 5 additional months’ progress on average. However, there are relatively few programmes that have been rigorously tested in English schools. The EEF has previously funded an evaluation of Tutor Trust, a programme which also uses university students as tutors, which found that the programme produced an additional 3 months’ progress on average in Key Stage 2 maths, with slightly larger gains for pupils eligible for FSM. Tutor Trust differs from MyTutor in two respects; Tutor Trust primarily uses small group tuition, rather than one-to-one, and the tutoring sessions are delivered in person. However, we have not yet found evidence supporting one-to-one tutoring at GCSE, or for online tutoring.
MyTutor has conducted two previous evaluations of its programme. These evaluations provide some evidence of promise, but have not used robust randomised designs, so independent evaluation by EEF would be valuable before the programme is scaled up further.
How are we evaluating it?
NFER has been appointed as the independent evaluator of this programme. The trial will be a two-arm randomised controlled trial in 100 schools. As the programme is online, schools can be located anywhere in England, and will be asked to identify 20-25 students who are engaged with school but are underperforming in maths. Schools are advised that the tuition should be in addition to, and not a replacement for, the usual teaching timetable. The primary outcome will be GCSE maths attainment, with a secondary outcome looking at changes in self-confidence in maths.
When will the evaluation report be due?
The evaluation report will be published in Summer 2022.