Does Only My Child Need a Tutor?

Today’s economy has made every parent aware that educational achievement is a determining factor in a child’s ability to prosper in a rewarding career.

But somewhere between kindergarten and 12th grade your child may fall behind in the demands of a particular subject and you may feel that it is only your child not living up to his or her potential.

As a parent, what do you do then? Of course questions race through your mind: does my child need tutoring help? Are other parents getting tutors for their children? Are tutors helpful?

Here is what we know: recent studies show that private tutoring is on the rise.

• According to a 2000 Newsweek survey, 42 percent of Americans strongly believe that children should receive private tutoring outside of school.

• Market analysts at Bear-Stearns now estimate that parents whose children are in the top and the bottom of their classes (21 percent of the total) are likely to seek tutoring.

• An independent survey conducted in 2005 of one private school in Cambridge, MA (Buckingham, Browne, & Nichols) found that 30% of its students in grades k-12 had used independent tutors the previous school year.

• One in four pupils in the UK sees private tutors, according to Dr. Ireson of the Economic and Social Research Council. She believes the statistic is comparable to the rest of Europe and the US.

International studies indicate that only the Asian countries of Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Korea have tutoring levels higher than the U.S. (Ireson, 2004)

• A 2009 evaluation of the Chicago school system revealed significantly higher test scores in both math and reading for tutored students as compared with non-tutored students.

• The 2007 report from the Canadian Council on Learning reported that one-third of Canadian parents hired supplemental tutors for their children, boasting slightly more than the parents in the US.

Washington University in St. Louis conducted one of the largest studies of its kind in 2009 and found that with private tutoring, 2nd and 3rd grade students made 60 percent more progress in reading skills. Nancy Morrow-Howell, the lead researcher and professor at Washington University, called it “substantial and statistically significant”.

Educational studies have long shown that the most effective form of instruction is personalized tutoring. By its very definition, a private tutor will give individualized attention to a student and will present the material in the best way a specific child can assimilate it.

Assuming the tutor has been well trained and has considerable teaching experience, the tutor will have a clear idea of the next steps in the learning process. Also, a tutor will serve as a support and act as a role model. A student will not only learn the material, but also will learn the organizational and study skills necessary to continue to succeed in the future.

Although some students may need consistent long-term tutoring, most do not. Most tutoring needs are subject and grade specific. Nonetheless, the latest No Child Left Behind study shows a young child’s reading ability substantially increases if the child has access to the same reading tutor for at least 2 years.

What does this mean to you and your child? Most important, that you are not alone. There are times when your student will need a little extra help. If you have the means and ability to hire a reputable private tutor for your child, you should do so. A professional tutor has the knowledge, skills, and expertise to allow your child to maximize his or her potential in the shortest amount of time.

For those without the means, the No Child Left Behind bill has mandated tutoring for certain schools in Los Angeles, many libraries have volunteer tutoring hours, teachers often have a study period to provide one-on-one support, and there are community service volunteers available from many of the universities.

If we are to compete as a global society, we all have to step up to the plate, with or without a batting coach. We all have to do what it takes to do our best. If your child needs a tutor to get over a slump, remember, he or she is not alone.

About Janis Adams

CEO/Founder, Academic Achievers Inc.
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