Raise the Bar: Accelerate Learning for Every Student

Raise the Bar: Accelerate Learning for Every Student

Goal: Accelerate learning for every student: Attain student achievement levels that exceed pre-pandemic performance and close underlying achievement and opportunity gaps.

The Problem

Raise the Bar


As a result of the pandemic’s impact on our schools, students are, on average, two to four months behind in reading and math, with students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, and students who are presently and historically underserved even further behind.

Our Strategies

The Department is committed to bring student learning beyond pre-pandemic levels and to help close underlying opportunity and achievement gaps by ensuring states and districts deploy federal pandemic relief funds in evidence-based ways, promoting promising practices, and providing technical assistance and opportunities for new or continued grant funding. Robust investments and strategic action in the areas below represent key levers to ensure all students can achieve academic excellence and thrive.

High-Quality Tutoring, Afterschool and Summer Learning:

Decades of research point to high-quality tutoring as an evidence-based strategy to help students increase their achievement in math and reading. Tutoring can provide students who have lost ground during the pandemic with the individualized supports they need to catch up. Evidence suggests that the most effective tutoring is high-dosage tutoring that a dedicated and consistent staff of tutors—such as teachers, paraprofessionals, and volunteers who have significant training and ongoing support—can provide during the school day.

The visualizations below highlight the percentage of schools that are implementing high-dosage tutoring programs according to a recent survey and evaluation by RAND. The visuals show that across the country, 53 percent of principals reported implementing tutoring programs in the 2022-2023 school year. Importantly, the visuals also show that 62 percent of schools serving a majority of students from low-income backgrounds are implementing high-dosage tutoring.

Results Summary of the National Partnership for Student Success Principal Survey as analyzed by the Johns Hopkins Everyone Graduates Center
(visualization provided by the NPSS)


Percentage of Schools Offering High Dosage Tutoring by Free or Reduced Lunch Status
(visualization provided by the NPSS)


Progress Toward Meeting the President's Goal of 250,000 Adults in NPSS Roles
(visualization provided by the NPSS)


The Department will continue its leadership along with AmeriCorps and the Johns Hopkins University Everyone Graduates Center, through the National Partnership for Student Success, to help states, districts, and community-based organizations improve, expand, and scale high-quality programs that leverage well-trained tutors, mentors, student success coaches, integrated student support coordinators, and post-secondary transition coaches to support students, with the aim of meeting the President's goal of an additional 250,000 adults serving in these vital roles.

School Pulse Panel Tutoring Data

Last December, through its School Pulse Panel, the Department’s Institute for Education Sciences collected data on schools’ academic recovery efforts and 37% of schools reported providing high-dosage tutoring. School Pulse Panel data was collected in December of 2022 and accurately reflected data from that year. The Johns Hopkins/RAND data reflect the 2022-23 school year.

Achieving Academic Excellence Through Tutoring, SY 2022-2023
(download data as a spreadsheet)

Afterschool and summer learning programs also have always supported students’ academic, social, and emotional growth. These programs have never mattered more, though, as our nation’s students continue to recover from the pandemic. These programs give students additional opportunities for the introduction of content, the reinforcement of knowledge and skills, or the recovery of lost instructional time. Across the country, districts are implementing fun and engaging programs that provide enrichment opportunities to students.

Given the importance of these program, the School Pulse Panel has been collecting information from a national sample of elementary, middle, and high schools on the implementation of afterschool and summer learning programs. The School Pulse Panel is a monthly data collection that began as a response to the pandemic. The visualizations below show the percentage of public schools implementing these programs overall and by region, school level, and location in the 2022-2023 academic year.

Achieving Academic Excellence Through After-school Programs, SY 2022-2023
(download data as a spreadsheet)

Achieving Academic Excellence Through Summer Learning Programs, Summer 2022
(download data as a spreadsheet)

The Engage Every Student Initiative, a collaborative effort among more than 20 organizations, is helping communities use American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds, alongside other state and local funds, to ensure that every child who wants a spot in a high-quality, out-of-school-time program has one.  

Additionally, the Comprehensive Center Network is creating a community of practice for cross-agency teams from states and the Department of Education that are committed to ensuring students benefit from funds that can help to advance summer learning, afterschool, and other out-of-school-time programs.

Technical Assistance:

The Department of Education will leverage Comprehensive Centers, the Regional Educational Laboratory (RELS) Programs, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) technical assistance centers to provide technical assistance to districts to implement evidence-based strategies that promote academic recovery.

  • The Department’s Comprehensive Centers:
    • This collection of best practices about implementing effective tutoring programs offers information and tools that can be applied immediately to classroom practices and to district or state policies.
    • This community of practice consists of cross-departmental teams from state educational agencies that are actively engaged in identifying and collectively addressing problems of practice through evidence-based interventions that can ensure the effective and sustainable use of ARP funding to support learning recovery and acceleration.
    • The Accelerated Learning Work Group developed a guide that includes information about how state educational agencies are accelerating students' learning. Learn more about these practices here.
  • The Department’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES):
    • The Leveraging Evidence to Accelerate Recovery Nationwide Network (LEARN Network) is supporting efforts to adapt and scale evidence-based practices that have the potential to accelerate learning for K-12 students most affected by the pandemic.
    • The Prekindergarten Through Grade 12 Recovery Research Network is working directly with state and local educational agencies to support their recovery efforts and provide evidence to help assess and improve those efforts.
    • The Community College Recovery Research Network is collaborating with community college systems to provide evidence-based recovery activities that address the declines in postsecondary enrollment and academic progress that occurred during the pandemic.
    • This Dear Colleague Letter from IES to chief state school officers outlines the technical assistance and program evaluation services that are available to state educational agencies, at no cost, through the REL Program.

Sampling of ARP Funding Highlights:

  • The Department of Education distributed, in record time, $122 billion in ARP funds to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to help K-12 schools reopen, stay open, and address lost instructional time and students' needs.
  • Because of this historic investment, the Department helped all public elementary and secondary schools reopen for full-time, in-person learning. When the President took office in January 2021, only 46 percent of our nation's K-12 schools were open for full-time, in-person learning.

Grants and Resources:

  • The Department's guide, Strategies for Using American Rescue Plan Funding to Address the Impact of Lost Instructional Time, focuses on strategies to support local efforts in effectively using ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds.
  • The Department's Best Practices Clearinghouse includes hundreds of examples of how schools are using ARP funds to support academic and mental health recovery that can be helpful for school leaders and communities across the country.
  • The Department is providing $182 million in new grant awards to 30 school districts, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations as part of the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program. This program provides funding to create, develop, implement, or bring to scale evidence-based and innovative approaches to increasing students' academic achievement. The program also provides funds to evaluate these efforts.
  • The Department is working with states to provide technical assistance in using $19 billion in Title I funding to support key priorities, such as increasing academic achievement, supporting students' mental health, expanding access to preschool, and strengthening teacher recruitment and retention.
  • Through $1.3 billion in Title IV, Part B funding, the Department is supporting the creation of 21st Century Community Learning Centers, a program that helps to create environments where students can develop meaningful connections with their peers and adults that extend beyond the traditional classroom setting and that support positive academic outcomes.