How to Make the Most From Tutoring

Measuring your Child's Tutoring Progress

If your child is receiving private tuition, then you should try to track the progress they’re making.

You’re spending money on a tutor and so it's important that you know they’re doing their job properly.

Your child's school will hold regular parents’ evenings, giving you the chance to speak to your child’s teachers. 

When it comes to tutoring, however, there isn’t always the same level of accountability.

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

Here’s how to do it...

Set Some Goals

It’s practically impossible to measure your child's progress unless you actually have a goal to measure progress against.

You should really set some goals before your child’s first tutoring session, but even if your child has started tutoring you can get started now.

It all boils down to one thing: What do you want to gain from your child's tutoring sessions?

Do you want to improve their knowledge of certain topics? If so, how are you planning to measure that? Well, perhaps you could set tests or past papers to see your child’s improvement over time. We’ll get on to that later.

Or, do you want your child to aim for an actual grade? If that's the case, you can keep setting past papers and work towards getting the grade they want.

Or, do you want your child to improve their overall confidence? Maybe you can measure that through their classroom behaviour. Have they started answering more questions in class? Perhaps they are even starting to help out their classmates?

Once you have goals in place, it’s important that the tutor is also aware of them. That way they'll know which areas to focus on, and will be able to report back.

Speak to the Tutor

This might sound obvious, but your first contact when you’re tracking your child’s tutoring progress should be the tutor themselves.

Most, if not all, tutors are more than willing to schedule in time to talk about your child's progress. You should take this opportunity to get some feedback.

Here are some questions to help you measure your child's progress:

  • 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?

Asking these questions will give you an overview of how your child is progressing with their tutor.

You can also talk about how much progress is being made towards your goals.

Speak to the Teacher

Tutoring is only one part of your child's education. They'll still be going to school every day so their teacher will have a lot of feedback about their progress.

If your child’s teacher doesn't know about the tutoring, you should mention it to them. Doing so will help your teacher cater to your child’s needs.

Try to speak to your child’s teacher after a few months of tutoring. Then they can give you an idea of how your child has progressed.

Here are some useful questions:

  • 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?

Your child's teacher is in the perfect position to track any progress.

Speak to your Child

Tutoring is ultimately for your child’s benefit, and so you need to check with them about how they’re finding it.

Sometimes, your child will have more insights than their tutor or teacher.

It’s a great opportunity to learn how tutoring affects them, and to see if they’re noticing any improvements in themselves. 

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?

It can be hard to get an accurate answer from your child, so take what they say with a pinch of salt.

When used alongside what their tutor and teacher say, your child's thoughts can give you the missing piece of the puzzle.

Set Past Papers

Your child's performance on past papers or mock tests will tell you a lot about the progress they’re making.

They'll get a mark which you can compare with previous past paper marks. This will provide you with a clear way of tracking your child’s progress.

You should be able to find a lot of GCSE and A-Level past papers online, but you can always ask your child’s teacher for more. This is especially useful for KS1/2 tests, which aren’t as easy to find.

Don’t go over the top and give your child a past paper to do every week. They’ll get exhausted and their marks will suffer as a result.

You could do a test after month 1, a test after 3 months, and then a test after 6 months.

Also, make sure you reward your child when they’ve made an improvement!

When your Child isn’t Making Progress

It’s worth keeping in mind that tutoring is normally a long-term endeavour. You aren't always going to see results straight away.

If you’re worried that your child isn’t making as much progress as you'd like, there are some things you can do.

Firstly, speak to your child's tutor about it. If your child isn’t making much progress, then you need to understand why.

There could be a few different reasons for this.

It could be that your child isn’t paying attention to their tutor, or isn’t doing the homework required. Or perhaps the tutor hurries through topics and your child isn't able to keep up.

No matter the reason, you need to fix it as soon as possible. The longer your child isn’t progressing, the further behind they’ll fall.

Try to have an honest chat with the tutor about why things aren’t working, and then come up with a plan to get back on track.

Don’t start accusing the tutor of not doing their job properly. Most of the time it won't be their fault. Falsely accusing them might create an awkward atmosphere which won’t help your child at all.

Get Tracking

Keeping on top of your child’s tutoring progress should be high on your list of priorities. With a bit of communication, you can easily track how your child improves over time.

Measuring progress starts with your goals. If you don't have a goal, you have nothing to measure progress against. Make sure your goals are clear, and that everyone involved knows what they are.

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