8th August, 2019

How to Track your Child’s Tutoring Progress

By Joe D

When your child is regularly receiving tuition, it’s only natural for you to want to track the progress they’re making.

After all, you’re spending money on a tutor, so you want to know that they’re doing their job.

Schools regularly hold parents’ evenings, giving you the opportunity to speak to your child’s teachers. When it comes to tutoring, there isn’t always the same level of accountability.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t track your child’s progress.

Here’s how to do it...

Set Some Goals

target with arrows in

It’s hard to measure progress unless you specifically have something to measure.

Ideally, you should set some goals before your child’s first tutoring session, but if your child has already started it isn’t too late.

You need to work out what you want from your child’s tutoring sessions.

Do you simply want to improve their knowledge of the subject? If so, how are you measuring that? You could set regular tests or past papers to see your child’s improvement over time. We’ll cover that later.

Do you want your child to work towards a specific grade? In that case, you could keep setting past papers and work towards getting that grade.

Do you want your child to be more confident in their abilities? Maybe you could measure that through their behaviour in the classroom. Are they answering more questions? Are they even starting to help other kids in the class?

Once you have your goals, it’s important that the tutor is aware of them too. That way they know which areas to focus on, and can report back to you.

Which brings us on nicely to...

Speak to the Tutor

It sounds obvious, but your first port of call when you’re looking to track your child’s tutoring progress is the tutor themselves.

Most tutors will be more than happy to schedule in some time to chat about your child, and this presents the perfect opportunity to get some feedback.

The following list of questions will help you determine how much progress your child is making:

  • Have you noticed any improvement in my child’s knowledge?
  • Have you noticed any improvement in my child’s confidence?
  • Is my child enjoying the sessions?
  • How are you measuring my child’s abilities?
  • Can you show me some of my child’s work?

Ask the right questions and you’ll be able to get an overview of how your child is progressing with their tutor.

You can also discuss how much progress is being made towards the goals that you set.

Your tutor, however, isn’t the only person who should be noticing a difference in your child…

Speak to the Teacher

Your child’s tutoring is only one part of their education. They still attend school every day, and so their teacher can provide some great feedback about how they are improving.

Hopefully, your child’s teacher is already aware that they’re receiving extra tutoring. If not, it’s worth mentioning it to them. This will help your teacher cater more to your child’s needs.

If you can, arrange to speak to your child’s teacher after a couple of months of tutoring. They can then give you an idea of how your child has progressed in that time.

Here are some questions you should be asking:

  • Does my child have a better understanding of the subject?
  • Is my child concentrating more in class?
  • Is my child more confident in class?
  • Can you show me some of my child’s work?
  • Is my child on track for a specific grade?

The teacher sees your child several times a week, and so they’re in the perfect position to track any progress.

But they aren’t the only person you should be listening to…

Speak to your Child

man talking to child

Ultimately, tutoring is for your child’s benefit, and so it’s important to check in with them about how they’re finding it.

Sometimes, the conversations you have with your child are more insightful than those with their tutor or teacher.

It’s a great opportunity to understand how tutoring is affecting them, and whether they’re noticing any improvements in themselves. That’s equally important.

Some of the questions you should be asking are:

  • Are you enjoying your tutoring?
  • How do you find the work?
  • How often do you find yourself not knowing the answers?
  • Do you volunteer in class? Why/Why not?
  • Do you understand things better after tutoring?

Of course, it can be hard to get an honest answer from your child, so take what they say with a pinch of salt.

Used in conjunction with what the tutor and teacher says, however, it can provide you with the missing piece of the puzzle.

Set Past Papers

How your child fares with past papers or mock tests can tell you a lot about the progress they’re making.

For starters, tests are standardised. Your child will get a mark which you can then compare with previous marks. This provides you with a clear, numerical way of tracking your child’s progress.

You can find a lot of GCSE and A-Level past papers online. Alternatively, you can ask your child’s teacher for some. This is particularly useful for Primary and KS3 tests, which aren’t as readily available online.

Don’t go overboard and give your child a past paper to do every week. They’ll get exhausted and bored, and then their marks will suffer.

Instead, set key milestone markers. You could do a test after month 1, a test after 3 months, and then a test after 6 months.

And be sure to reward your child when you notice that they’ve made an improvement!

When your Child isn’t Making Progress

girl looking miserable

It’s worth bearing in mind that tutoring can often be a long-term endeavour. You won’t always see results right away.

Having said that, if you’re concerned that your child isn’t making as much progress as you want them to, then there are some things you can do.

Firstly, speak to the tutor about it. If your child isn’t making progress, then you need to know why.

There might be any number of reasons for this.

Perhaps your child isn’t paying attention to their tutor, or isn’t doing the homework required. Maybe your tutor is rushing through parts of the syllabus and your child can’t keep up. Or possibly, and this is very uncommon, your tutor simply isn’t very good at their job.

Whatever the reason, you need to act as soon as you can. The longer your child isn’t progressing, the further behind they’re going to fall.

Have an honest and frank discussion with the tutor about where things aren’t working, and devise a plan to get back on track.

Whatever you do, don’t go in all guns blazing and accuse the tutor of not doing their job. Chances are it’s not all their fault. Accusing them will create an awkward atmosphere and it won’t help your child in the long run.

If all else fails maybe you should consider finding a new tutor. But that’s a last resort, and chances are you won’t need to.

Get Tracking

As you can see, keeping track of your child’s tutoring progress isn’t impossible. With a bit of organisation and communication, you can measure how your child improves over time.

It all starts with your goals. Without a goal, you have nothing to measure progress against. So make sure that your goals are clear, and that everyone involved knows what they are.

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