Apart but Connected: Online Tutoring and Student Outcomes during the COVID-19 Pandemic

80 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2021

See all articles by Michela Carlana

Michela Carlana

Harvard Kennedy School

Eliana La Ferrara

Bocconi University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 1, 2021

Abstract

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the governments of most countries ordered the closure of schools, potentially exacerbating existing learning gaps. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of an intervention implemented in Italian middle schools that provides free individual tutoring online to disadvantaged students during lock-down. Tutors are university students who volunteer for at least 3 hours per week. They were randomly assigned to middle school students, from a list of potential beneficiaries compiled by school principals. Using original survey data collected from students, parents, teachers and tutors, we find that the program substantially increased students’ academic performance (by 0.26 SD on average) and that it significantly improved their socio-emotional skills, aspirations, and psychological well-being. Effects are stronger for children from lower socioeconomic status and, in the case of psychological well-being, for immigrant children.

Keywords: tutoring, COVID-19, education, achievement, aspirations, socioemotional skills, well-being

Suggested Citation

Carlana, Michela and La Ferrara, Eliana, Apart but Connected: Online Tutoring and Student Outcomes during the COVID-19 Pandemic (February 1, 2021). HKS Working Paper No. RWP21-001, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3777556 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3777556

Michela Carlana (Contact Author)

Harvard Kennedy School ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Eliana La Ferrara

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Gobbi 5
Milan, 20136
Italy

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