What should small group tuition look like?

Group size and ability levels

Evidence suggests that the smaller the group, the better, with the optimum size being 2-5 students per group. Once groups get larger than 5 students, there is a reduction in effectiveness. Small group tuition is most effective when students with similar learning needs or ability levels are grouped together. Similarly, tuition should be targeted to the learning needs of the students and be relevant to regular in-class learning. This may require pre-assessment and ongoing collaboration with classroom teachers.

Related reading

Lesson length and frequency

There is good evidence that small group tuition is most effective when lessons are regular, short, and sustained over a period of months. Most successful tuition programs occur 3-5 times a week, for 20-50 minutes per session, repeated for at least 10-20 weeks. Generally, the youngest learners (Pre, K-1) benefit from shorter sessions conducted more often, for example, 15-30 minutes, 4-5 times per week, while older learners benefit from longer sessions slightly less often, for example, 30-40 minutes, 3 times per week.

Related reading

Timetabling and mode of delivery

Research suggests that tuition is most effective when delivered during school hours, although some reports suggest that tuition outside of school hours is just as effective. There is also some evidence that online tuition can be just as effective as when delivered in person, though this area needs more research. Timetabling of tuition needs to consider a range of factors, and so it is important to be flexible about when and where tuition should take place.

Related reading

Work for the department? Find out more about the program on the Small Group Tuition program guidelines webpage. For program enquiries contact us via email at smallgroup.tuition@det.nsw.edu.au.


  • Teaching and learning
Return to top of page Back to top