An article penned by Motoko Rich on the New York Times website offers real hope for African American boys who struggle academically. Rich reports that the results of a study on “a promising approach for helping the most challenged students, who often arrive in high school several years behind their peers.”
The program was implemented with a group of ninth- and tenth-grade African-American students “who had weak math skills, track records of absences or disciplinary problems.” The students received intense tutoring and group behavioral counseling. The results showed a three-year improvement when compared to the control group. Also, many more of those students were on track to graduate on time than the control group. It seems that working in small groups allowed their tutors to redirect them quickly and to intervene immediately if the student was struggling.
This program, modeled on the Boston-based tutoring program by Match Education, seems to counter previous detractors who suggested that these types of program are too costly. At $4,400 per student for tutoring and counseling, the cost would be prohibitive if done on a large scale, but this probably is more cost-effective than trying to shrink class size.