Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies
- This strategy can help address educational disparities. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
- Peer tutoring program where students work in pairs on reading activities designed to improve reading accuracy, fluency, and comprehension
- Students take turns as reader and listener and provide feedback
- Activities are 35 minutes in length and are intended to be used three or four times a week
Strength of evidence
Evidence level: Strong (second-highest tier)
Strong (second-highest tier)
Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by the U.S. Department of Education What Works Clearinghouse
Elementary school-aged children
Approximately $40 for program manuals; $1,500 for one day of professional development (2012)
- Not available
Outcomes and impact
- Potentially positive effects on alphabetics
- Improved alphabetics outcomes by an average of 14 percentile points
Keys to successful implementation
- Administer PALS in groups of two students. One student plays the role of coach and the other plays the role of player. The coach models high-quality verbal explanations and provides corrective feedback to the player. Over the course of the exercise, the two will switch roles.
- Pair high performing students with low performing students
- Provide students instruction so they will understand how to coach and ask questions in their paired groups
- Use PALS procedures both to review previously covered topics and to teach brand new topics
- Circulate throughout the classroom, ensuring students are following the PALS procedure
- Encourage appropriate classroom behavior during breakout sessions using a research-tested behavioral management system