Littera Education Receives Gates Foundation Grant to Help School Districts Promote Equity Through Cost-Effective Tutoring Programs

As K-12 schools and districts grapple with the effects of two years of disrupted teaching and learning, a 14-month grant from the Bill& Melinda Gates Foundation will help Littera Education close gaps in mathematics achievement among students set back by the COVID-19 pandemic.Littera Education, founded last year expressly to address inequities in public education, will use the grant to refine the Littera Academic Support Platform, which provides technology for districts to design, deliver and evaluate tutoring programs tailored to their students' needs.

Littera Education receives Gates Foundation Grant to design, deliver and evaluate custom tutoring programs for schools.Tweet this Research by McKinsey & Company, published at the end of the 2020-21 school year, estimated that students entered the current school year more than five months behind in their learning. "We are living in a time of intense student need and a high watermark of funding, leading to extraordinary levels of tutoring being delivered around the country. With this grant, Littera is looking to extend our academic support platform to better understand the benefit students gain from high-quality tutoring compared to the cost," said Justin Serrano, CEO and co-founder of Littera. "This understanding will enable districts to design more- efficient tutoring programs that will remain financially sustainable after stimulus-level funding ends."

The availability of federal pandemic-related stimulus funding presents a time-limited opportunity: Districts can use those funds to develop proven, cost-efficient academic support programs that can be sustained for at- risk students long after funding levels return to normal.

Littera's Academic Support Platform leverages district assessment data to identify students who need tutoring and to support a variety of program models and content. It automates scheduling and other logistics and can include live, online and in-person tutoring. As tutoring progresses, it captures student and tutor feedback, attendance and dosage data, and connects the dots for schools and teachers to have visibility into tutoring programs executed on the platform.

The resulting system should efficiently use assessment and curriculum to keep tutoring tightly aligned to the district's standards and student needs. The vision is that, in the future, districts and researchers could easily run cost-benefit analyses for tutoring program variables, such as tutor profile, student-to-tutor ratio, curriculum and frequency of services delivered.The project kicks off this month and will continue through the current school year. Starting in fall 2020, participating districts will begin their own data-driven experiments. The research findings of this work will be published and made available to any school district.