In 1984, psychologist Benjamin Bloom reported the surprising results of replacing traditional forms of education by 1:1 or 1:few tutoring: 50% of tutored students did as well or better than the top 2% of those taught by traditional methods; 90% of tutored students did as well or better than the top 20% of those taught in the usual manner.
Why haven’t schools been revolutionized in the three decades since? Why haven’t test results climbed to the (previous) 80th percentile level and above, given that real per-pupil spending in America has increased about 50% during the last three decades?
It may seem impossible to up-staff the schools – but is that the only solution? What happened in one-room schools? What happens in today’s home-school environment? In both cases, the instructor cannot simply be a “sage on the stage,” there cannot be a single “lesson plan,” because the student’s abilities differ too greatly. What would be a viable approach?
A mix of 1:1 personal attention, a few minutes at a time, and much independent work by the students. In the business world, this would be called “management by exception.” Autonomous students should do most of the driving; routine learning should take care of itself. “Pick a book, ask if you have any questions, and I’ll check back soon.”