The short answer is yes, tutoring can be exceedingly effective when it comes to remedying a learning challenge or extending students beyond what they’re learning in class. It also builds confidence and focuses children who might be distracted in a one-to-many classroom situation.
A 2011 study conducted by Portland State University selected 43 students as a target group to receive tutoring. At the end of the program, students who received tutoring in both Maths and Language Arts outperformed their control group peers by 5.8 and 4.5 points respectively.
This is supported by studies conducted by the Education Endowment Foundation, which found that students who receive one-on-one tutoring make five months’ worth of extra progress over a school year. It is also consistent with our own internal research, in which 82% of Cluey parents agreed that their child’s grades had improved and 85% saw an increase in their child’s confidence.
The more complicated answer is that the most effective tutoring isn’t simple. It’s about overall improvement — it’s not a transaction which sees you exchange money for an easy or instant outcome.
Measuring a valuable tutoring experience comes down to more than just exam marks. You need to consider all of the component parts, including the tutor, content program, revision of the methodology, and whether you can see a shift in your child’s attitude towards learning.
You may well be able to pay a homework supervisor $25 per hour, or find someone to drill in answers to standard exam questions, but quality tutoring requires relevant content developed by experts; it necessitates constant feedback from students, tutors and parents; and it demands tutoring in the context of the child.
“At the end of the day, the learning program is the biggest indicator of tutoring success,” says Cluey Co-founder Michael Allara. “The mode — online or in-person, private or group sessions — can enhance or detract from that but it doesn’t determine effectiveness.”
Match a tutor to your child’s needs
A tutor should always pursue quality teaching, but they also need to be matched to the needs of your child. There’s no point in assigning a disciplinarian if your child responds best to a softly-softly approach. Similarly, your playful child might learn best from someone with a more exuberant nature who can turn learning into a game.
Other qualities to look for:
- In-depth understanding of their subject area
- Friendly and supportive nature, with an ability to communicate to someone who is struggling
- A broad range of experience dealing with a variety of students/learning challenges
Ensure the content is relevant and up to date
Quality content is one of the most important aspects of learning. Not only should the practice questions and textual analyses be current and mapped to the New Zealand curriculum, but these resources need to be as useful as possible to each individual student. This means that resources must be aligned with what a student is covering in class, as well as being appropriate for their individual learning needs.
Track your child’s progress
A child’s development can shift and leap within weeks, especially with the personalised attention that comes from tutoring. What they may have been struggling with at the beginning of the year might be one of their best subjects by term’s end. Monitoring each session and staying abreast of regular progress reports lets you know if a method is working for your child. This requires feedback (both from your child and their tutor) after each session, advanced analytics to track their performance in practice questions and tests, and regular reviews of sessions by education experts.
Switching tracks quickly, whether that means changing tutors or rethinking a tutoring approach, means that you don’t waste time and money on a bad experience.
Look beyond test scores
Tutoring is absolutely intended to help improve your child’s grades, however another, more fundamental purpose is to bolster their confidence and deepen their enjoyment of school so that they become engaged in the process of learning…for the rest of their lives.
By all means, pay attention to whether those assignment marks or test scores improve within 3-6 months of tutoring, but also take note of your child’s attitude towards study, and make sure you see a positive uptick.
The Cluey way
At Cluey we believe in tutoring in the context of the child, which is why we create individual learning goals for each student and work towards these according to a weekly program. All of our content has been developed by education experts, who consistently review sessions to ensure its effectiveness for each student.
When it comes to your child, consider how they learn and what they need from a tutoring experience. Whether it’s group or one-on-one, in-person or online, ensure a program and review process that teaches your child to learn because in the end, the goal is to equip your child with the capabilities to be a lifelong learning.