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Educational disadvantage greatly reduced by High Dosage Tutoring

The preliminary results of the first scientific research in the Netherlands into High Dosage Tutoring (HDT) in secondary education are encouraging. In less than 5 months, students from vmbo and practical education at Mundus College in Amsterdam who took part in the HDT project have made spectacular developments compared to the control group.

Photo: The Bridge Learning Interventions
Photo: The Bridge Learning Interventions

How spectacular? Sociologist and principal researcher Bowen Paulle of the UvA explains: ‘A large portion of the students who enroll at Mundus College have a considerable learning deficit. For example, a majority of the students do not reach the first fundamental level (1F). To give you an idea: 90% of all primary school pupils in the Netherlands reach this level at the end of grade 8. Compared to the 1F level, pupils at vmbo basic level who participated in the tutor programme in a languageless arithmetic test caught up with 71% of their arrears, compared to 17% in the control group. HDT is therefore potentially an important policy instrument in tackling the opportunity inequality in Dutch education.’

Reducing opportunity inequality

The research team and the management of the Mundus College now consider these findings extra relevant because of the focus on reducing opportunity inequality in the new coalition agreement of the Municipality of Amsterdam, among other things.

The method of HDT

The HDT method originates from the USA and is already being used there on a large scale and successfully as an evidence-based intervention strategy. Every day during school hours, the students receive an extra lesson in math from a fixed tutor in a 2-to-1 setting. The tutors maintain weekly contact (by telephone) with the parents and also supervise the pupils in the social-emotional field. This HDT project was carried out by The Bridge Learning Interventions Foundation (

Amsterdam University Fund

The research was supported by the Amsterdam University Fund as one of the projects of the Jaarfonds 2017. This fund supports applied research for which usually little funding is available. Donors to the University Fund have raised 30,000 euros for this purpose, with which the first exploratory research could be carried out. 

More information

For more information and the extensive research results of the High Dosage Tutoring project in the Netherlands, please visit the website of the Scalable Educational Programs Partnership (SEPP) of the University of Amsterdam: