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Online Tutoring by College Volunteers: Experimental Evidence from a Pilot Program


  • Matthew Kraft
  • John List
  • Jeffrey Livingston
  • Sally Sadoff


In-person tutoring programs can have large impacts on K-12 student achievement, but high program costs and limited local supply of tutors have hampered scale-up. Online tutoring provided by volunteers can potentially reach more students in need. We implemented a randomized pilot program of online tutoring that paired college volunteers with middle school students. We estimate consistently positive but statistically insignificant effects on student achievement, 0.07s for math and 0.04s for reading. While our estimated effects are smaller than those for many higher-dosage in-person programs, they are from a significantly lower-cost program delivered within the challenging context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Kraft & John List & Jeffrey Livingston & Sally Sadoff, 2022. "Online Tutoring by College Volunteers: Experimental Evidence from a Pilot Program," Framed Field Experiments 00746, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:framed:00746

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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Online tutoring helps — a little
      by Joanne in Linking and Thinking on Education by Joanne Jacobs on 2022-02-09 16:30:15


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    Cited by:

    1. List, John A. & Shah, Rohen, 2022. "The impact of team incentives on performance in graduate school: Evidence from two pilot RCTs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 221(C).
    2. Lucas Gortazar & Claudia Hupkau & Antonio Roldan, 2023. "Online tutoring works: experimental evidence from a program with vulnerable children," CEP Discussion Papers dp1908, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Lenka Fiala & John Eric Humphries & Juanna Schrøter Joensen & Uditi Karna & John A. List & Gregory F. Veramendi, 2022. "How Early Adolescent Skills and Preferences Shape Economics Education Choices," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 112, pages 609-613, May.
    4. Wang, Liang Choon & Vlassopoulos, Michael & Islam, Asad & Hassan, Hashibul, 2023. "Delivering Remote Learning Using a Low-Tech Solution: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Bangladesh," IZA Discussion Papers 15920, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Harry Anthony Patrinos, 2022. "Learning loss and learning recovery," DECISION: Official Journal of the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Springer;Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, vol. 49(2), pages 183-188, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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