Cross-age tutoring in kindergarten and elementary school settings: a systmeatic review and meta-analysis

Yulia Shenderovich, Allen Thurston, Sarah Miller

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Background: Qualified teaching staffs are neither available nor affordable to provide large numbers of children with individual attention. One solution to providing individual tuition has been the development of tutoring programs that are delivered by nonprofessional tutors, such as classmates, older children and community volunteers. Objectives: We have conducted a systematic review of cross-age tutoring interventions delivered by non-professional tutors to children between 5 and 11 years old. Only randomized controlled trials with reliable measures of academic outcomes, and continuing for at least 12 weeks, compared to instruction as usual, were included. Results: Searches of electronic databases and previous reviews, and contacts with researchers yielded 11,564 titles; after screening, 15 studies were included in the analysis. Cross-age tutoring showed small significant effects for tutees on the composite measure of reading (g=0.18, 95% CI: 0.08, 0.27, N=8251), decoding skills (g=0.29, 95% CI: 0.13, 0.44, N=7081), and reading comprehension (g=0.11, 95% CI: 0.01, 0.21, N=6945). No significant effects were detected for other reading sub-skills or for mathematics. The quality of evidence is decreased by study limitations and high heterogeneity of effects. Conclusions: The benefits for tutees of non-professional peer and cross-age tutoring can be given a positive but weak recommendation, considering the low quality of evidence and lack of cost information. Subgroup analyses suggested that highly-structured reading programs may be more useful than loosely-structured programs. Large-scale replication trials using factorial design, process evaluations, reliable outcome measures and logic models are needed to better understand under what conditions, and for whom, cross-age non-professional tutoring may be effective.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2014
EventCampbell Collaboration Colloquium 2014 - Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 16 Jun 201419 Jun 2014


ConferenceCampbell Collaboration Colloquium 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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