Texas School District Uses Innovative Tutoring Contract Model Linked to Student Outcomes

The Ector County School District allocated $3 million in federal recovery funds toward student tutoring. Unlike traditional tutoring contracts, Ector County used a “pay for success” model whereby the tutoring companies earned more money if the students made progress on the district’s interim assessments (MAP tests). Students were identified for tutoring support based on their preliminary scores on the MAP tests or if they failed an end-of-course test the prior year. 

According to the district, the pay for success funding model encouraged the providers to become more engaged, maintain good attendance records, and to follow up with students if they missed tutoring sessions. The district’s use of tutoring firms had the added benefit of shifting the burden from already overworked classroom educators to provide supplemental support. According to news reports, more than 6,000 students in kindergarten through high school have been receiving tutoring under this contract model.

We are spotlighting this because it is a unique way to help ensure tutoring efforts are achieving the desired goal of helping to make student achievement gains. We also believe the approach to paying more for successful tutoring—according to student outcome data—is a strong practice.

Reviewer Analysis

The Rural Alliance

As rural schools come out of COVID more of our students are looking for an online and blended tutoring model of success, but an online/blended tutoring model would be an asset for rural schools……especially a pay for success model.

New Leaders

This is an innovative accountability strategy to ensure the tutoring students receive is effective as measured by MAP results. While the program describes tutoring structures that are evidenced backed (e.g., 60 hours over the course of the year, consistent tutor, communication with school, etc.), how will Ector County ensure the instructional practices used by tutors are high-quality and support critical thinking?

The Bush Center

This partnership - with the accountability baked in for revenue - is a strong and promising model. It is particularly smart to use MAP assessments as the baseline for improvement instead of some other measure.

Results for America

Results-focused contracting is a data and evidence-use best practice and we love that Ector County School District is using it to improve students’ outcomes.

Jocelyn Pickford

The emphasis on ensuring student learning gains as a return on the investment in tutoring is unique and worth studying.

National Parents Union

This requires commitment from the actual tutors that makes sure students are progressing. Accountability is key when parents select private tutors, this is awesome.

About the Author

Chad Aldeman is a nationally recognized expert on education policy, including school finance; teacher preparation, evaluation, and compensation; and state standards, assessment, and accountability. Keep up with Chad on the EduProgess: Unpacked blog.

Stay Up to Date on Recovery News!

Enter your name and email address here to receive periodic updates on EduProgress and K-12 recovery news.

Sign Up for Updates