You tutor high-school math. You have a tutor student, Jill who you’ve been tutoring for a couple of weeks. Things seem to be going well, she takes the first Geometry test and makes a 62%, the passing grade is 70%, what do you do?
If you’ve been tutoring for very long, you’ve already ran into this situation, if you haven’t yet, just give it some time. So what are some steps you can do to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
- Assess –
You should be doing this with every test that one of your students take or paper that they submit, if possible get a copy of the test (all of them), if the teacher doesn’t give copies of the test back, you’ll want to call them. Explain to them you tutor the student and you want to help them to study effectively. Normally they will be more than happy to give you some idea of what the student missed. When I’ve done this I would say that half the time I get the test back, the other times I get a good run down of what kind of problems the student has missed. When you get the test back, review the results and find out what Jill is having trouble with. In the example we gave, was it the math, was it formulas, reading problems, etc. Finding what the problem is the first step of helping them.
If there isn’t one thing that stands out, then it could be a case of test anxiety. One thing I love doing is giving a review test, before the actual test and watch the student as they take the test. This can be really easy if you tutor online, just have the student use a whiteboard program (that shows there work on the screen) or get a camera set up.
The student’s parents are also probably disappointed, after all they are paying you so that Jill won’t fail the test and so that eventually she be able to pass the ACT and go to whatever college that she chooses. Now is a great time to talk about the score and what you’re planning on doing to help their child pass the next one. If a parent isn’t involved, then just explain things to the student.
- Plan –
Now that you’ve figured out what is wrong it is time to create a plan. Find out how long it is till their next exam or paper. List the content they’ll need to know for the next test. Is that content similar to what was on the last project. Is it new material? In our example, we found out that Jill didn’t know the formulas she needed to on the test.
Figure out how many tutor sessions you have between now and the next test. Each tutor session you’ll want to focus on something to ensure they pass it next time.
- Implement the plan.
- Review – how did it go? The longer you tutor a specific student, the more you’ll learn about them and figure out what they have trouble with.
Good luck. Questions, comments, or have a case you would like some help with just let us know in the comments below.