Under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, schools receiving Title I, Part A, funding that have failed to meet critical performance targets and are in Stage 2 or higher of the School Improvement Grants program must offer parents of economically disadvantaged students the option to enroll their children in afterschool tutoring or other academic enrichment programs that are paid for by the local education agency. Parents are notified of the school’s academic status, informed of the option to enroll their student in supplemental educational services (SES), and provided with a listing of state-approved SES providers. Parents are responsible for then submitting a form to enroll their student in their SES program of choice. More than 100 SES providers offer tutoring and support to as many as 180,000 students across 1,200 school districts in Texas.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) contracted AIR and its partner, Gibson Consulting Group, Inc., to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of SES providers in Texas. The study involved the collection and analysis of data on student demographics, achievement, and tutoring as well as parent and school staff satisfaction. The comprehensive evaluation provided TEA and Education Service Center Region XIII with information about provider effectiveness as well as the effects of SES services on student performance in English language arts and mathematics. AIR’s analysis of student achievement data employed propensity score matching methods and hierarchical linear models to capture provider impact on student outcomes and found that, in both mathematics and English language arts, after controlling for demographic and preexisting achievement differences, there was no significant relationship between receiving tutoring from an SES provider and performance on the state standardized test. Through the survey data collected as a part of the evaluation, AIR also presented formative and summative feedback to TEA and Education Service Center Region XIII regarding the quality and effectiveness of particular vendors’ tutoring services; the feedback informs decision making regarding the approval status of SES providers.