Oct 23, 2015


Match seeks to improve math achievement in 9th and 10th grade males using intensive, daily tutoring to help reinforce concepts and learn new skills. An experimental study examined the effectiveness of Match in Chicago Public schools and found that it significantly improves math achievement, while having little impact on non-math academic achievement.


Target Population: 9th and 10th grade male students from disadvantaged communities who attend Chicago Public Schools.

Match is an urban, school based, tutoring initiative for male adolescents in the 9th and 10th grades. Match aims to improve math competency, decrease school dropout rates, and increase students’ job training and readiness. Match is administered within the school setting by tutors, the majority without formal teacher training, who receive a modest stipend for their work. Each tutor works with pairs of students, every school day, for 55 minutes per session. Each session involves a half hour remediation period of skills and the remaining time is used for reemphasizing what is being taught in the classroom. The Match method of tutoring includes a specific skill-building curriculum that is used to train its tutors.

The estimated cost for each participant is approximately $3,800, which can range from $3,500 to $4,000.


Cook, P. J. (2015). Not Too Late: Improving Academic Outcomes for Disadvantaged Youth (Doctoral dissertation, University of Chicago).

Evaluated Population: The evaluation of Match tutoring included students from 12 high schools in Chicago’s south and west sides. The study population consisted of  2,718 randomly assigned male 9th  and 10th graders students, of whom 95 percent were either black or Hispanic.

Approach: Match Education of Boston began delivering the Match intervention within Chicago Public Schools (CPS) during the 2013-2014 school year. Students participated in a daily 55-minute tutoring session during school and each session involved two students and a Match tutor. Measuring baseline characteristics involved looking at administrative longitudinal student records from CPS, arrest records, and provider records. The sample was selected by working with the CPS to identify schools that were large in size and served the target population of disadvantaged adolescent males. In total, 27 were invited to participate, and 12 schools agreed participated in the study.

Study participants were excluded if they were considered to be disengaged from school, disengagement was defined as failing more than 75% of their classes and missing 60% of school days in the previous school year. Participants were then selected by how they ranked on an academic risk index. Students with a higher academic risk were more likely to be chosen for the study when placed in rank order from greatest academic risk to lowest risk. Students were randomly assigned to one of 4 groups:  (1). The control group, where the participants did not participate in Becoming a Man (B.A.M.) or Match (2). B.A.M. only (3). Match only or (4). B.A.M. and Match together. B.A.M. is an initiative developed by the Chicago-based non-profit Youth Guidance. The purpose of B.A.M. is to help young men develop social-cognitive skills so that they can resist being involved in violence and avoid displaying anti-social behavior.  The number of male students participating in the study varied due to the size of each school and the program capacity. Each school had participants in every condition because randomization was carried out separately in every school.

The study measured the effect of Match tutoring on both academic and behavioral outcomes. Baseline information was collected using longitudinal student records from CPS. Records were from the two years before the intervention (2011-12 and 2012-2013) as well as the year after random assignment occurred (2013-2014). Test scores were assessed using the results from the ACT Inc.’s EXPLORE and PLAN tests, which were distributed to the participants by the Chicago Public Schools as a part of their school curriculum for 9th and 10th graders. The intervention examined the students’ test achievement in one of three ways: scores that were normalized to the control group’s distribution, standardized scaled scores by way of the national distribution for the scaled scores, and scores shown in order of national percentile rankings. Outcomes were also measured using in-person achievement tests administered by study personnel to a randomly chosen number of participants. The data were collected from each of the participants through the administration of these three separate tests. Data collection occurred when the students were scheduled to take the EXPLORE and PLAN tests within the regular school schedule after the intensive Match tutoring occurred.

Results: Results indicate that Match significantly improved math achievement test scores for participants.   Match improved math grades and reduced math failures. Match also significantly reduced the number of failed courses in non-math subjects; however, there were no statistically significant differences in the use of Match on the reading sections of the EXPLORE/PLAN reading assessments or on students’ GPAs in non-math classes.  However, the survey questions asked of a sub-set of participants by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan found that Match influences positively influences students’ attitudes toward math.



Cook, P. J. et al. (2015). Not Too Late: Improving Academic Outcomes for Disadvantaged Youth (University of Chicago).

KEYWORDS: Adolescents, Male only, Tutoring, Mathematics, High School Completion/Dropout, Job Training/readiness.

Program information last updated on 10/23/15.

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