Peer tutoring includes a range of approaches in which learners work in pairs or small groups to provide each other with explicit teaching support, such as:
The common characteristic is that learners take on responsibility for aspects of teaching and for evaluating their success.
Peer assessment involves the peer tutor providing feedback to the tutee relating to their performance and can take different forms, such as reinforcing learning or correcting misunderstandings.
There have been extensive studies done on peer tutoring, the majority of which show moderate to high average effects. High-quality reviews have explored the impact of peer tutoring at both primary and secondary level, and in a variety of subjects.
Though overall the evidence base related to peer tutoring is consistently positive, most recent studies of peer tutoring have found lower average effects, suggesting that monitoring the implementation and impact of peer tutoring is valuable. Overall, the evidence is rated as extensive.
Before you implement this strategy in your learning environment, consider the following:
Are the activities sufficiently challenging for the tutee to benefit from the tutor’s support?
What support will the tutor receive to ensure that the quality of peer interaction is high?
Training for staff and tutors is essential for success. How will you ensure sufficient time to train both staff and tutors, and to identify and implement improvements as the programme progresses?
How will you ensure peer tutoring is being used to review or consolidate learning, rather than to introduce new material?
Four to ten week intensive blocks appear to provide maximum impact for both tutors and tutees. Can you arrange for your peer tutoring to follow this structure?