Personalized Learning

Coaching with Computer-Assisted Learning (CAL)

Smiling teacher talking with a student using a laptop during a classroom lesson

The Education Lab partnered with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to pilot the Coaching with CAL program, which offers high-dosage tutoring to students through education technology platforms.


Disparities in educational achievement for students of color and students from low-income households have been a persistent feature of U.S. schooling over the past several decades, and these disparities have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. In-person, one-on-one high-dosage tutoring has proven effective at rapidly increasing student learning and has the potential to close these achievement gaps. Still, it can also be costly and challenging to implement on a large scale.


Computer-assisted learning (CAL) platforms offer a promising alternative to one-on-one tutoring because they are designed to help students progress at their own pace while still receiving feedback and advice. In Coaching with CAL, math teachers are paired with trained coaches who support teachers in integrating CAL into their classrooms.

Project overview

Past work by the Education Lab has demonstrated that a high-dosage, individualized, during-the-school-day math tutoring model can generate large and significant gains in academic outcomes—up to two and a half years of additional learning—in a short period, even among students who are behind grade level. However, one significant barrier to scaling up this promising intervention is cost: the traditional high-dosage tutoring model is too expensive for most schools to serve as many students as they would benefit. Increasing access to high-dosage tutoring requires finding a method to serve more students without losing effectiveness.

The Coaching with CAL program aims to mimic individualized tutoring for students using CAL platforms, such as MATHia or Khan Academy, to accelerate math learning. The program pairs 3rd-9th grade math teachers with trained coaches to help leverage the CAL platform more effectively. The coaches provide teachers with regular support to use the CAL platform and help teachers integrate CAL into their classrooms.

In the second half of school year 2021-22, the University of Chicago Education Lab piloted the Coaching with CAL program with 46 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers. Teachers were paired with coaches, who supported them as they integrated the CAL platform MATHia into their classroom work. Researchers are analyzing data on the usage of CAL and student performance and qualitative information about teachers’ and students’ experiences.

Years Active

2020 – 2021

Project Leads

Monica Bhatt

Monica Bhatt

Senior Research Director

Eleni Packis

Eleni Packis

PhD Student, Human Development and Social Policy

Related Resources
Coaching with Computer-Assisted Learning (CAL)
Research Brief

Coaching with Computer-Assisted Learning (CAL)

Jan 2022

An overview of the Coaching with Computer-Assisted Learning (CAL) program that aims to support math teachers of grades 3 to 9.