The Department of Education’s online tutoring proposal goes before the Executive Council on Wednesday. (Getty Images)
The New Hampshire Department of Education is hoping to use federal pandemic aid to pay for online tutoring for standardized admission tests – potentially until 2027.
In a request to the Executive Council ahead of its meeting Wednesday, the department is requesting to set aside $4.8 million in federal school pandemic aid to contract with TPR Education, LLC, a company that runs the website tutor.com. That website allows students to sign up for virtual tutoring services, including tutoring for the SAT, the ACT, and the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) for applicants to military schools.
The tutoring also includes synchronous and asynchronous writing reviews, meaning that students can have writing samples examined in real time or via a delay. The contract requires TPR Education to make the tutoring available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Under the contract, the state would use federal funds to pay for tutoring for all New Hampshire students in sixth grade and above, including students in public schools, nonpublic schools, and homeschooled students.
Funding for the contract would be split into three tranches of $1.6 million, administered each school year until 2025. The funding allows the department to renew the contract for two, one-year extensions after 2025.
Competition for the state contract was strong; 10 other companies put forward bids to the Department of Education to provide the tutoring, with TPR Education only narrowly beating out its competitors based on a scoring system released by the department.
TPR Education owns the Princeton Review, a test prep company whose techniques now comprise the company’s standardized testing training.
If approved by the council Wednesday, the tutoring contract would come as support for standardized testing as a college admissions metric has come under criticism in recent years. Opponents have argued that it disadvantages students of color and does not provide a good metric for academic success in college. The University of New Hampshire removed the requirement that applicants submit standardized test scores in 2019. Many other colleges followed suit in 2020 with the outbreak of the pandemic.
While students are often not required to take the tests, they may still submit SAT or ACT test results with their application voluntarily.
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