Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

Quebec's initiative to rely on tutoring to help students recover from academic delays caused by the pandemic has been beneficial, even if the measure has not been implemented equally and optimally throughout the province, according to the expert mandated to evaluate it.

Les millions invested in tutoring were worth it

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Tutoring programs were implemented throughout the Quebec school network during the pandemic and the measure bore fruit.

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“That’s a good measure. We can be proud of it, because we were among the only ones to implement it in such a widespread manner. And it was worth it! » says bluntly Cathia Papi, who was mandated by the government to evaluate the performance of the Educational Support and Well-being Strategy at School, launched in the winter of 2021 by the former Minister of Education Jean-François Roberge.

This measure aimed to help students catch up on the learning delay accumulated during the pandemic and mainly relied on the tutoring formula.

Implementing tutoring services in Quebec's primary and secondary schools has cost taxpayers nearly $85 million to date. In 2022-23, the base amount allocated per school was approximately $100,000.

Cathia Papi, who has previously written a book on tutoring, submitted its fourth and final report to the Ministry of Education. It paints an overall positive portrait of the initiative.

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Cathia Papi looks at the tutoring program offered by the Foundation Close to Success.

Yes, the students still have gaps. But without the tutoring, it would have been much worse! The measure was beneficial for many students, both academically and psychosocially.

A quote from Cathia Papi, full professor at TÉLUQ University and tutoring expert

The measure was quickly implemented throughout the Quebec school network, assures Ms. Papi in her final report. As of October 15, 2021, the majority of primary and secondary schools had deployed tutoring systems, and the other schools indicated that they were about to do so. […] In fact, tutoring has thus become one of the most widespread student support measures, we can read.

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Research shows that tutoring is one of the most effective services for students, recalls Claudia Grandpa. However, it must be implemented while respecting certain criteria to ensure its optimization. This is why the expert qualifies her findings.

Yes, it was a good idea, but since it was done in a hurry, it wasn’t perfect, she says. The researcher deplores that good practices in tutoring, which guarantee optimal effectiveness, have not been well communicated. Each school did it their own way, so it wasn’t necessarily done in the ideal way.

Criteria to ensure effective tutoring

On the other hand, Ms. Papi was pleasantly surprised to see that her first findings, communicated in 2021, made it possible to adjust the shot: The measurement improved gradually. It therefore made it possible to provide support to many students.

The school principals and tutors consulted for the study almost unanimously indicated that the implementation or intensification of tutoring had positive effects, both in terms of learning and on the children's behavior plan, she tells us.

According to Cathia Papi, the work is far from finished, and we must continue investments in tutoring at least until 2027, because we know that it takes years to recover from learning deficits, she explains.

She also recommends that the government encourage tutoring initiatives developed in the private sector or by community organizations.

A tax credit for parents who use tutoring [outside school] could be beneficial for all of the province, but particularly in remote regions, where there is less tutoring available.

We saw it as much during the pandemic as during the teachers' strike: parents resorted to private tutoring services. We could support this choice, which promotes academic success thanks to a tax credit.

A quote from Cathia Papi, full professor at TÉLUQ University and tutoring expert

In order to free up professionals in schools who are already overwhelmed, it could for example be desirable to support partnerships between schools and organizations.

Community organizations can act in a context of staff shortage, when teachers or remedial teachers are not available, provided that tutors are adequately trained.

Cathia Papi took the opportunity to welcome the teachers' post-strike catch-up plan presented last week by Minister Drainville.

I am very happy to see this plan, because I have the impression that our recommendations have been heard, she said. She welcomes the important place given to tutoring, the recognition that students must be supported both academically and from a psychosocial point of view, as well as the consideration of general adult education and training. professional, too often forgotten, according to Ms. Papi.

The latter particularly appreciates the plan's approach, which gives latitude to educational institutions to determine their specific needs as well as the emphasis placed on tutoring and supporting students (both academically and from a psychosocial point of view).

I think this is why this measure was appreciated. For the moment, we see that all the actors seem happy and that's rare, she judges.

It is all the more important that the key criteria for the success of tutoring are well disseminated as students must now take on the double challenge of recovering interruptions to classes due to the pandemic and, now, the teachers' strike, she concludes.

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