What’s Happening with the Dropout Rate in the U.S.?

What’s Happening with the Dropout Rate in the U.S.?

Are fewer students graduating from high school now?

Across the United States, the number of students who graduate from high school 4 years after beginning 9th grade varies greatly from state to state. Even different counties within a state report different statistics. EdWeek reported that “At least 31 states saw declining graduation rates for the class of 2021 overall, more than twice as many as in the previous year.” The largest contributing factor to these lower graduation rates has been the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Role of the pandemic

Remote learning, COVID-19 outbreaks and quarantines have led to more students missing school, falling behind, and even failing. Family illnesses and economic hardships have contributed to students leaving school early to start work. The teacher and school staff shortages have resulted in teachers having less time to work with students who need extra help.

In the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years, “kids have had a much longer time to be absent, fail classes and lose credits, have behavior problems,” said Robert Balfanz, the director of the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education.

Graduation rate vs. Dropout rate

Although it seems counterintuitive, the graduation rate is not equal to the dropout rate. In Colorado, for example, the graduation rate in 2022 improved from 81.7% to 82.3% but the dropout rate increased to 2.2% over 1.8% the previous year. This is because dropout rates cover grades 9-12 while the graduation rate looks at how many students graduated after 4 years.

Why do high school students fail to graduate?

There are a number of contributing factors, including serious injury, illness, or death. Some drop out due to teen pregnancy. Other students end up incarcerated for criminal activity and a number of students just drop out when they reach the legal age to do so. There are also students who do attend school for four years but don’t have enough credits to graduate with their peers and need to continue for another semester or longer.

According to a recent report by WiseVoter, there are between 25% and 8% of high school students who do not graduate.

Here are the 2022 graduation rates for all 50 states and the District of Columbia

STATEGRADUATION RATE
Alabama91.70%
Iowa91.60%
West Virginia91.30%
Kentucky90.60%
New Jersey90.60%
Tennessee90.50%
Wisconsin90.10%
Texas90%
Missouri89.70%
Delaware89%
Connecticut88.50%
Nebraska88.40%
New Hampshire88.40%
North Dakota88.30%
Massachusetts88%
Arkansas87.60%
Virginia87.50%
Maine87.40%
Utah87.40%
Florida87.20%
Indiana87.20%
Kansas87.20%
Maryland86.90%
Montana86.60%
North Carolina86.50%
Pennsylvania86.50%
Illinois86.20%
Hawaii85.20%
Mississippi85%
Oklahoma84.90%
California84.50%
Vermont84.50%
Nevada84.10%
South Dakota84.10%
Rhode Island83.90%
Minnesota83.70%
New York82.80%
Wyoming82.10%
Georgia82%
Ohio82%
Michigan81.40%
Colorado81.10%
South Carolina81.10%
Washington81.10%
Idaho80.80%
Alaska80.40%
Louisiana80.10%
Oregon80%
Arizona77.80%
New Mexico75.10%
District of Columbia68.90%

Tutoring can help

TutorUp tutors are all classroom-experienced, certified teachers who can help your student and improve their grades. When a student is able to recover lost ground, turn failing grades into passing, and restore confidence, they are less likely to drop out of school. Find out how we can help your student. Fill out the form below…

Is Tutoring a Tax Deductible Expense?

Is Tutoring a Tax Deductible Expense?

UPDATED January 2023

In most cases, tutoring expenses are not a federal tax deductible item. There is an exception to this, for special education tutoring. Parents of children with learning disabilities such as dyslexia or ADHD may deduct tutoring expenses for their special needs child from their federal income tax, according to the IRS. If the child has a medically diagnosed learning disability, specialized tutoring is considered a medical expense if recommended by a doctor, and may be deductible if your total medical expenses exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. This info can be found under the IRS Special Education section under the medical expenses that can be deducted.

Some states allow tax deductions for K-12 education and/or homeschooling expenses. Check your individual state regulations to see if your tutoring expenses may fall into the category of a deductible expense on your state return.

Other Help for Tutoring Expenses

  • Many school districts have programs that assist with tutoring expenses for disadvantaged or low-income students. Contact your school’s financial aid office to see if they can connect you with financial aid resources for students in K-12. If your school doesn’t have a financial aid office, the school counseling office may be a good resource, or your school district administrator’s office can guide you.
  • The federal government has approved coronavirus relief money to fund “microgrants” for parents to use to hire tutors or teachers.
  • Some non-profits are funding tutoring programs for students who can’t afford private tutoring otherwise.
  • Some states provide vouchers that can help pay for private education.

Is Private Tutoring Worth the Cost?

One thing most everyone can agree on is that education has suffered a huge setback due to the COVID-19 quarantines and subsequent shutdown of schools and regular school programs as we knew them. Student grades have suffered, test scores on assessment and achievement tests have dropped, and the dropout rate has soared.

Private tutoring is not a free service, and as such is not the solution for every child. However, many parents are rearranging budgets and prioritizing tutoring as a necessary expense instead of a luxury. For many parents, being able to hire a private tutor for their child not only helps the child catch up and keep up with grade-level schoolwork, but it also takes the burden off of the parent who may be juggling a lot right now. Lots of parents who work from home full-time or part-time welcome even a few hours a week of professional academic help for their kids.

How Tutoring Helps

The Hechinger Report, a national non-profit reporting exclusively on education, recently published an in-depth look at how tutoring is helping students right now: The Simple Intervention that Could Lift Kids Out of the “Covid slide”. They report that “tutoring is more effective than other measures” and the challenge is to expand it to support more kids. Individualized tutoring gives a child the one-on-one attention they can’t get in the classroom or doing virtual school. The results are impressive.

TutorUp Tutoring Services

TutorUp is committed to providing the highest-quality tutoring services at a reasonable cost, while paying our teacher/tutors a rate that their professionalism deserves. All of our tutors are certified, background-checked, experienced teachers who are professionals devoted to helping children succeed academically, one child at a time.

Whether your child needs help keeping up with the daily/weekly assignments that so many schools are using instead of a typical in-person all day school experience, or they have fallen behind and need help catching up, a tutor could be the help they need.

To find out more, and get matched with the perfect tutor for your child, let’s get started!

Online Tutoring is NOT Remote Learning or Distance Learning

Online Tutoring is NOT Remote Learning or Distance Learning

Student Achievement Suffered Due to Remote Learning

In an article published this week by Education Week, reporter Mark Lieberman discusses the continued debate over the harms of extended remote learning. He cites a report published on November 28 from the American Enterprise Institute that “found that districts that stuck with full-time remote learning for longer in the first year of the pandemic saw larger declines in enrollment in subsequent school years” and that these findings showed clear signs that remote learning was among the factors that “diminished academic achievement for millions of students in the last couple of years.”

What Do They Mean by “Remote Learning?”

A definition is in order here, to make sure we all understand what they are talking about. Remote learning was the quickly constructed “solution” to schools that were closed to in-person learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. Initially it was thought this would be a short-term solution, but school districts, parents, teachers, politicians, and others were reluctant to send students back to school while there was an increase in infections and uncertainty about how it would affect students in the school environment. So “online school” lasted much longer than first anticipated. Starting in the final months of the 2020-2021 school year, many schools kept students at home for many more months, or even the entire school year of 2021-2022. Other schools implemented a hybrid approach, where students attended 2 or 3 days in person, with the remaining days remote.

Remote learning was not a universally built and deployed replacement for in-person school, and some things quickly became clear. Not all students had the technology or the internet access needed to participate. Even those who did had to share that computer and internet access with siblings and parents who were suddenly working from home. At a particular disadvantage were students in lower-income areas. This was a huge contributor to student dropout rates and low attendance, as recent research showed.

Teachers were also inexperienced with the new format and struggled to translate classroom activities to online gatherings. As teachers dropped out, the ones who were left found themselves with even greater responsibilities and challenges. In most cases, there was little to no training or preparation for this new reality, and teachers struggled to do their best.

If Remote Learning is Bad, What About Online Tutoring?

There can’t be many people who aren’t aware of how much time we all spend staring at screens. “Globally, people average 6 hours 58 minutes of screen time per day. The average American spends 7 hours and 4 minutes looking at (an internet-connected) screen each day,” according to Digital Information World. Gen Z spends around 9 hours per day looking at a screen. For the average US teen, this breaks down to:

  • Watching TV/Videos – 3 hours 16 mins
  • Gaming – 1 hour 46 mins
  • Social Media – 1 hour 27 mins
  • Browsing Websites – 51 mins
  • Other – 29 mins
  • Video Chatting – 20 mins
  • E-reading – 15 mins
  • Content Creation – 14 mins

Additionally, 88 percent of parents report that their children between 0 and 11 years old are watching TV, 67 percent are using tablets, 60 percent are using smartphones, 44 percent are using a desktop/laptop, and 44 percent are gaming.

In light of this, what are the reasons to consider online tutoring for your child?

It’s One-to-One

Unlike remote learning, where there is one teacher for dozens of students, lecturing, assigning homework, and trying to keep students engaged, online tutoring is one tutor with one student, no distractions.

Content is Highly Personalized

The tutor is able to assess the student’s needs and tailor the subject, teaching method, and support to match that student’s needs.

Short, Variable-Length Sessions

Unlike remote learning, which required hours of sitting in front of a computer screen, online tutoring sessions are short and the time length is flexible, based on student age and attention-span and the difficulty of the subject matter.

Convenience Factor

Tutors and parents decide on a mutually convenient schedule. Families have a lot of activities going on, and the online format means you don’t have to drive somewhere. You choose the day/time that works best for your schedule, in the convenience of your own home.

Parents Have Total Visibility to Their Child’s Learning

Since sessions are online, parents can watch live or even record their child’s sessions, ensuring that they have complete visibility to what goes on in the tutoring session.

Parents Choose Their Child’s Tutor

In school, it’s the luck of the draw when it comes to which teachers your child spends the day with. With online tutoring, you review the available tutors and choose the one you think is the best match for your child. And you can always switch tutors if you find it’s not the best match after all.

How TutorUp Can Help

At TutorUp, all of our tutors are certified, classroom-experienced teachers. This means that they are not just subject matter experts in whichever subject your child needs help with. They are also trained educators who can assess a student’s needs and adapt their teaching approach to best help each student. They know how to evaluate the effectiveness of their tutoring and provide meaningful feedback to parents.

Contact us today so we can help your child succeed.

Speech Therapy or Tutoring?

Speech Therapy or Tutoring?

The answer is often “Both”

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) explains the importance of communication skills, “You need language skills to communicate. And you need to communicate to learn. Reading, writing, gesturing, listening, and speaking are all forms of language. The better your communication skills, the better you will do in school.”

If a child has difficulty with reading, writing, spelling or doing grade-level work, taking tests or understanding social cues, they may have a speech and language problem.

By the time a child enters school, it becomes obvious to parents and teachers if they are having problems with speech and language. Here are some common indicators for younger school-age children:

  • Has difficulty following directions
  • Has difficulty answering questions
  • Has difficulty staying on topic during conversations
  • Frequently misunderstands what is said to them
  • Has difficulty telling a story
  • Has a poor memory
  • Is difficult to understand
  • Doesn’t use the right sounds for words
  • Is the problem in one subject or across many subjects

First, Diagnose

Since public schools have Speech Language Pathologists, or SLPs who can conduct evaluations to help pinpoint a child’s problem, that is usually the first recommended step. The student’s problem may be due to hearing loss, or an attention deficit disorder. A dyslexic child can also display some of these symptoms. In order to provide the most helpful support, it’s important to identify the cause.

The Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) specifies the necessary components of an evaluation:

  • A variety of assessment tools and strategies should be used to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information about the child;
  • No single measure or assessment should be used as the sole criterion for determining whether a child is a child with a disability and for determining an appropriate educational program for the child; and
  • Technically sound instruments should be used that may assess the relative contribution of cognitive and behavioral factors, in addition to physical or developmental factors.

SLPs play a central role in screening, assessment, diagnosis and treatment of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and the development of literacy for children with dyslexia.

There are laws and regulations on the federal and state levels that impact the provision of services in the school setting, and the creation of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 Plans.

How to Achieve the Best Outcome

Should it be determined that a child needs the support of a speech therapist, that help can often take place in the school setting. Of course, outside help is also available and certified Speech Language Pathologists whether in school or outside, have the training required to provide assessment, evaluation, testing, and treatment. SLPs coordinate with teachers and families to set goals, determine the best plan of treatment, and measure achievement.

Qualified tutors who are experienced and/or certified in working with students with learning disabilities can also provide great support and become a crucial part of the team contributing to student success. SLPs concentrate on the overall goals, treatment, and progress of a student with speech and language challenges. A tutor can provide subject-specific help and, working with the classroom curriculum, reinforce what is being taught in school. Often a child benefits from both types of support since speech therapy and tutoring are compatible and not mutually exclusive.

Tutors who are certified teachers are able to recognize when a child would benefit from an evaluation to see if speech therapy is indicated. And conversely, a speech therapist is able to see when a student needs subject-specific tutoring in order to stay on track in the classroom. The earlier intervention takes place, whether therapy or tutoring or both, the better the outcome for the student.

10 Trends in K-12 Education

10 Trends in K-12 Education

Surveys ask the educators

The results of two nationally representative surveys of educators were recently reported in the Education Week special report “Big Ideas 2022: 10 Broad Trends in K-12 Education”. In all, 1,897 educators responded to the first survey, and 1,099 educators participated in the second survey. We recap the survey results below.

You can download the full report here.

Questions about Equity and Equality

  • Educators were asked to define the word “equality” vs. the word “equity” in K-12 education. 78% responded that “equality is about giving all students the same opportunities; equity is about outcomes and giving some students, who have tended to have lower performance or higher needs, additional resources.” 13% of educators said that the “concepts are similar, but ‘equity’ has become controversial/weaponized.”
  • When asked what their views are of equity and equality in K-12 education are, 76% responded that they “support equity and equality, even though I define both in different ways.” 12% said they “support equality but not equity” and 4% said they “support equity but not equality.”
  • Responding to a question about their district policy on equality/equity, 52% said they “have formally committed to both equity and equality”, 15% said they “have formally committed to equity but not to equality”, 9% said they have “formally committed to equality but not to equity”, and 24% said their district has “not formally committed to either equity or equality.”

Questions about No Child Left Behind and Every Student Succeeds Acts

  • Inquiring about the federal No Child Left Behind and Every Student Succeeds Acts, 26% of educators surveyed felt that “there was nothing positive about these laws”. 23% felt that a positive outcome was that there is “additional Title I and other funding.” 21% felt that it was good that there is a “requirement to look at disaggregated data to see how student groups performed.” 15% felt that the “requirements to improve/intervene in schools or with student groups with low performance” was a positive outcome of these acts.
  • Nearly all educators surveyed (97%) felt that there was some type of negative effect from the NCLB and ESSA acts. 38% felt the most negative outcome was the mandated annual testing in reading and math, 29% felt the most negative outcome was the “consequences for schools or districts with low performance.”

Questions about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • When asked if the pandemic transformed public K-12 education, 94% of educators surveyed agreed that COVID-19 has had an impact. 52% said “Yes-it’s been a major transformation”, while 43% said “I’d describe it as more of a minor change than a transformation”, and 6% of educators didn’t feel that the pandemic had transformed public K-12 education at all.
  • Educators were asked to list all impacts of the coronavirus pandemic that they think will have a lasting positive impact on education a decade from now. The majority of educators, 61%, said that the “added flexibility of moving at least some meetings/gatherings online” would be the most lasting positive impact. 57% said that “more attention given to student mental health” would be one of the most lasting positive impacts, 54% felt that “better integration of technology” was a lasting positive, and 54% felt that the “ability to offer remote learning when necessary” was a lasting positive. Others included more and better technology, more attention given to staff mental health, improved cleaning protocols, better ventilation/HVAC systems, and several other factors would be a lasting positive.
  • When asked which pandemic impact they would MOST like to see in their district or school in ten years was, 21% said “more attention given to student mental health”, 20% said “less focus on standardized testing”, 11% said “more attention given to staff mental health”, 11% said they hoped that “more wraparound services for student well-being” would be a lasting impact, 16% hoped for more flexibility to be a permanent change, and 9% want to see more/better technology and integration of technology.

Questions about transformation and change in K-12 education

  • When asked for their opinion on what is the biggest obstacle preventing major transformations in K-12 education, 42% of educators said that local, state or federal officials or their policies are the biggest obstacles to change. 23% said that funding levels are the biggest obstacle. 19% responded that either parents, administrators, teachers, or students themselves were the biggest obstacle.
  • In response to the question about what they believe is the biggest enabler of change/transformation in K-12 education, 35% pointed to teachers as the most significant change agent. 13% think funding levels are the key to major change, and 10% think administrators have the largest impact.
Student Test Scores Dropping

Student Test Scores Dropping

ACT Reports Declining Scores That Are “particularly alarming”

On October 12, 2022, ACT reported that the national average composite score on the ACT for the high school class of 2022 was 19.8, the lowest average score in more than three decades. “This is the fifth consecutive year of declines in average scores, a worrisome trend that began long before the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has persisted,” said ACT CEO Janet Godwin. “The magnitude of the declines this year is particularly alarming, as we see rapidly growing numbers of seniors leaving high school without meeting the college-readiness benchmark in any of the subjects we measure.”

The ACT has identified readiness benchmarks for seniors which help determine which students will have a higher probability of success in credit-bearing first-year college courses. Their research shows that students who meet the benchmark have a 50% chance of earning a B or better and approximately a 75% chance of earning a C or better in their college course or courses.

What they found was that among the 2022 graduating class, only 22% of students met all four ACT benchmarks, while 42% of students met none of these benchmarks.

Number of Students Taking the ACT is Increasing

Since 2015, when only 27% of graduates took the ACT as part of a statewide or districtwide administration, the number of students taking the test has increased. For the 2022 graduating class, 60% of students took the test at least once.

NCES Assessment Results

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) conducted a special administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) long-term trend (LTT) test this year, which is often referred to as the Nation’s Report Card. They tested students age 9 in both reading and mathematics to examine student achievement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Average scores for students in 2022 declined by 5 points in reading and 7 points in mathematics as compared to 2020. The NAEP said “This is the largest average score decline in reading since 1990, and the first ever score decline in mathematics.” These lower scores in mathematics were demonstrated in students from city, suburban, town, and rural school districts and from students in the lower (25th percentile) and higher (75th percentile) performance groups. In reading, scores declined for most groups compared to 2020, with some exceptions.

Higher Performers Had Greater Access to Remote Resources

All students who took the LTT test were asked if they had attended school from home or somewhere else outside of school for any portion of the 2020-21 school year. Seventy percent indicated that they had done some remote learning. Among these students, the ones with higher scores tended to be the ones with greater access to a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet all the time; had a quiet place to work available some of the time; and had a teacher available to help them with mathematics or reading every day or almost every day.

Higher Performers Overall More Confident in Their Remote Learning Abilities

When asked if they could recognize when they don’t understand something they’re learning remotely, 67% of the higher performing students said they could. When asked if they could ask for help when they need it while learning remotely, 82% of the higher performing students said yes. And when asked if they could find learning resources online, 60% of the higher performing students said yes.

What Does All This Mean?

Regardless of the contributing factors that may result in students’ declining test scores, parents are concerned about the quality of their child’s education, and how to help them achieve their best results. Parents are exploring alternative options to the traditional public school education as well as looking for ways to help their students improve academic performance. Charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online learning, and homeschooling are all experiencing increased levels of participation. Private tutoring has been shown to “yield consistent and substantial positive impacts on learning outcomes.”

The overall goal of education is to prepare students to be successful in life after school. Even students who are not planning to go on to college need to be equipped for success, whichever path they decide to follow. Helping your student perform better in school isn’t just so their grades can improve. It’s a way to make sure they get the most out of their education so they can move ahead with confidence.

For help with private online tutoring for your student, send us your contact info below, and we will show you how TutorUp can help.

What Makes an Effective Tutor?

What Makes an Effective Tutor?

How to Choose the Right Tutor

Parents have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a tutor for their child. When a child is struggling in school, chances are that they are also feeling anxious about it. It can be a hit to their self-confidence, their self-esteem, and can make them the target of bullying. And then the problem isn’t simply that they need help getting caught up to their peers in a certain subject; instead, it becomes a bigger problem.

This is exactly why choosing a tutor is more than just finding someone who is a subject matter expert and who knows more about what your child is struggling with than they do. It is equally as important for your tutor to understand the bigger picture and be able to relate to your child in a positive way that will help them gain confidence and learn skills that will stay with them.

The Top 4 Most Important Qualities of an Effective Tutor

  1. Knowledge: Must be a subject matter expert
  2. Skill: Must have experience teaching and tutoring
  3. Empathy: Must be able to see and work with a student as a whole person
  4. Flexibility: Must be able to personalize and adapt tutoring for each individual child’s needs

These are not the only qualities that define an effective tutor, but they are the must-haves. It’s also very important to be a good listener and to respect the concerns and fears the student may have. There is also a need to be able to maintain discipline without being an authoritarian. Kids are going to have times where they would rather goof off than have a tutoring session, and an effective tutor needs to know if they should steer them back to work or reschedule for another time.

Successful Tutoring is a Partnership

There are four partners in every successful tutoring relationship:

Student: It’s more difficult to make progress with a reluctant student than with a student who sees tutoring as being helpful and supportive. Fostering a positive attitude towards tutoring is key to its success.

Parents: Parents are busy. They may have jobs and other children and responsibilities, so the tendency is to find a tutor and leave it up to the tutor and student to work things out. Checking in with the tutor regularly is important to the child’s success. And helping the child prepare for and then review each tutoring session is a great way to stay involved and know what your child is learning.

Teachers: When classroom teachers are aware of and involved in their student’s tutoring, chances are it will be more effective. Teachers can provide the syllabus to the tutor, and communicate what they see as the student’s strengths and weaknesses. This helps the tutor know what to focus on.

Tutor: The best tutors know that communication is critical. Working with parents and with classroom teachers will help them to be more successful in their tutoring efforts. It’s also important for tutors to connect with other tutors and to stay on top of professional development opportunities.

Personal Preferences

Your child may respond better to a female tutor or a male tutor. Some children need a firmer hand while others need an empathetic, supportive tutor. If language differences are a factor, matching a student with a tutor who can speak their language and who sounds like them may be important. They key is to choose the tutor you think your child will be able to connect with and learn from most effectively. If, after a few sessions, you or your child don’t feel that connection is working, by all means switch to a different tutor.

TutorUp Tutors

In keeping with the Top 4 Most Important Qualities of an Effective Tutor, all TutorUp tutors are:

  • Certified teachers in the subject(s) they are tutoring
  • Experienced classroom teachers with tutoring experience
  • Skilled at working with students who are struggling and have all different levels of achievement
  • Able to work effectively face-to-face and one-on-one in the online tutoring environment, personalizing each session for that student

For help getting matched with the right tutor, fill out the form below, or give us a call at 877-TutorUp (877-888-6787)

What is High-Impact Tutoring?

What is High-Impact Tutoring?

How Frequent Tutoring Makes a Difference

Sometimes referred to as high-intensity tutoring, or high-dosage tutoring, high-impact tutoring is defined as one-on-one (or sometimes small group) tutoring at least three times a week for an extended period of time, like a semester or an entire school year.

A recent study published by Brown University, The Impressive Effects of Tutoring on PreK-12 Learning: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Experimental Evidence, evaluated the effectiveness of PreK-12 tutoring by looking at data from dozens of experiments and studies. The paper they published on their study can be found here, but these are some of their conclusions, “We find that tutoring programs yield consistent and substantial positive impacts on learning outcomes, with an overall pooled effect size estimate of 0.37 standard deviation. Effects are stronger, on average, for teacher and paraprofessional tutoring programs than for nonprofessional and parent tutoring. Effects also tend to be strongest among the earlier grades. While overall effects for reading and math interventions are similar, reading tutoring tends to yield higher effect sizes in earlier grades, while math tutoring tends to yield higher effect sizes in later grades. Tutoring programs conducted during school tend to have larger impacts than those conducted after school.” They clarified that the “after school” tutoring they refer to here is with parents and non-professionals, which is why it was considered to not have as large of an impact.

The Goal of Tutoring

The overall goal of tutoring is to provide the personalized support that each student needs. For some, this will be remedial help with subjects in which a child needs to get caught up with their peers. In other cases, tutoring can provide supplemental practice in subjects that help a student maintain progress. And for some students, tutoring can provide enrichment in subjects of interest that they cannot get in class at school. The best way to provide support in each of these models is by giving each student the one-on-one attention and instruction that they can’t get in a classroom scenario with dozens of other students vying for the teacher’s attention. And, as the studies have shown, professional highly-qualified tutors provide the best results.

Different Tutoring Formats

On-site tutoring is generally in small groups, at brick and mortar learning centers, often specializing in one subject area, like math. Students enroll in these sessions and usually follow a curriculum and lesson plans created by the vendor.

Online homework help is available from a number of resources, and is helpful for the student who has a quick question or two or is stuck on a specific issue that they need one-time help with. These services are often staffed by other students.

Self-paced online resources aren’t actually considered tutoring, but are available as enrichment and don’t usually include any contact with a tutor.

In-school tutoring is offered in many schools, and may be one-on-one or small groups, with sessions taking place during the school day, or before or after school.

In-person, one-on-one tutoring is often conducted in the student’s home, the tutor’s home, or in a public place like a library or coffee shop. This type of tutoring can include homework help, or specific remedial support in a given subject area.

Online, one-on-one tutoring is very much like the in-person version, but takes place over an internet video chat platform like Zoom or Google Meet. The online format makes scheduling much more convenient for both the tutor and the student and still provides the individual, personalized support and attention the student needs.

Key Elements of High-Impact Tutoring

According to the Texas Education Agency, high-impact tutoring needs to include these 6 key elements:

  • Well-trained, consistent tutor who builds a strong relationship with students. Research indicates that teachers, paraprofessionals, college students, and other types of tutors can all be effective when tutoring one-to-one or in small groups.
  • High-quality instructional material aligned to standards and core classwork, focusing on addressing missed concepts and skills
  • One-to-one or small group (three or four students) for individualized support
  • Embedded in the school day or just before or after, to maximize student access
  • At least three sessions per week, 30 minutes minimum
  • Data-driven with tutors building and delivering sessions around student strengths and needs

High-Impact Tutoring with TutorUp

All of our tutors are certified, experienced classroom teachers who build their tutoring sessions around the specific needs of each student. All of our sessions are online, one-on-one so the student gets the tutor’s undivided attention. Session length and frequency are completely flexible and can be customized for each tutor’s/student’s convenience. For more information, or to talk with a tutoring consultant, fill out the form below or call 877-TutorUp (877-888-6787).

American students’ test scores plunge to lowest levels in decades

American students’ test scores plunge to lowest levels in decades

Report shows the serious impact of the pandemic

The just-released report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has been making waves in mainstream media and across the nation. Based on test results of 9-year-old fourth graders that were given from January to March in 2020 and in 2022, the test scores were alarming. Math scores dropped seven points, which is the first ever decline, and reading scores dropped five points, which is the largest drop in 30 years.

“These results are sobering,” said Peggy G. Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, which administers the tests. “It’s clear that covid-19 shocked American education and stunted the academic growth of this age group.”

As reported in The Washington Post by Donna St. George, this historic falloff “left little doubt about the pandemic’s toll. The average math score of 234 this year was comparable to the average score recorded in 1999, and the reading score of 215 was similar to the 2004 score. How long it might take to catch up is unclear and not likely to be understood until further test results are analyzed.”

According to other studies, there has also been an increase in classroom disruption, school violence, absenteeism, cyberbullying, teacher and staff vacancies, and an increase in students seeking mental health services.

“While we see declines at all performance levels, the growing gap between students at the top and those at the bottom is an important but overlooked trend,” said Martin West, a member of the governing board that sets policy for NAEP and academic dean at Harvard Graduate School of Education, in a statement. “These results show that this gap widened further during the pandemic.”

“Supporting the academic recovery of lower-performing students should be a top priority for educators and policymakers nationwide,” West said.

St. George reports that “seventy percent of the 9-year-olds tested this year recalled learning remotely at some point during the pandemic. More than 80 percent of higher-performing students reported always having access to a laptop, a desktop computer or a tablet. Among lower-performing students, about 60 percent had constant access.”

The NAEP testing is done at public and private schools chosen randomly from across the country. This year’s testing included 14,800 students from 410 schools. There are three 15-minute blocks of questions, mostly multiple-choice, plus a questionnaire.

Frequent, regular tutoring a proven strategy to help

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona stated that the NAEP results cast the experiences of the last two years in “a stark light” but should remind people to press ahead with efforts to accelerate student learning, support student mental health needs and invest in educators. States should steer federal relief funds “even more effectively and expeditiously” to proven strategies including “high-dosage” tutoring and after-school and summer programs, Cardona said.

NAEP tests are a congressionally authorized project, sponsored by the Department of Education and administered through its statistical arm, the NCES.

Read St. George’s full reporting on this at The Washington Post, here.

How You Can Help Your Child Improve in School

How You Can Help Your Child Improve in School

Get Organized, Do Better

No, this isn’t a pitch for hiring tutors. It’s not a list of recommended study aids. Or books, tapes, videos, or other programs you can buy that will help your child in school. One of the simplest ways you can give your child a boost that will help him or her in school as well as for the rest of their lives is to give them the gift of organization.

That’s it. You can do those other things as well, but they won’t work or be as effective if your child’s desk, backpack, bedroom, home, and life are a disorganized mess. Because chances are that if your child’s environment is chaotic, so is their brain.

Where to Start

Start small. Does your child’s backpack for school have pockets, dividers, pouches, etc. or is it just one big open bag they throw everything into? Get color-coded folders and pouches and other containers that fit inside the backpack to help them keep things sorted. Have one folder that is just for papers they’re supposed to bring home for you to see and/or sign. Have a folder for each subject so they can easily sort their work, whether it’s completed assignments or works in progress. Of course they need other supplies; pens, pencils, erasers, sharpener, highlighter, calculator, compass, ruler, etc. Whatever your student needs to carry from classroom to classroom or from school to home, help them get it organized and work with them to keep it that way.

If your child’s assignments, classroom work, notes from the teacher, etc. are online, then take a few minutes every day to go over those things together.

Most kids can effectively use a daily planner by 4th or 5th grade. And even though today everything is online, electronic, and virtual, teach your child how to write down assignments, due dates, reminders, etc. It’s actually handier than having to look it up, plus the act of writing things down helps sear it into memory.

Being Organized as a Lifestyle

There’s a certain amount of casual clutter or disorganization that just happens in the daily flow of life’s activities, and that’s understandable. But studies have shown that living amongst clutter is stressful, and can cause anxiety and impair the ability to concentrate. Once the backpack or bookbag is sorted, work with your child to get their closet, dresser, desk, bedroom, toys, sports equipment, and other belongings sorted and organized, and teach them how to keep up with it so it’s not a huge chore once a month, but a daily habit that only takes a few minutes. This will help contribute to their inner calm, which in turn helps them focus and concentrate.

Unbusy Their Schedule

Families are on the go. In addition to school for them and work for you, there’s meals, shopping, errands, sports, extracurricular activities, church or worship, social activities, pets to care for, and the list goes on. It’s up to you to take a step back and look at your own family’s dynamics and see if there are ways you can fit in blocks of down time for your child. If there is more than one adult in the family, can one of you do some of the errands while the other stays home, giving the kids a break from being on the go? Will meal prep once a week be a viable timesaver for you that can lessen the daily burden? Will prepared meal delivery services fit into the budget so meals are super easy?

Look for ways to clear some time every day that is unstructured and unscheduled. It will help your child and also help you.

Unplug the Electronics

Kids spend too much time online, plugged in, overstimulated. Apparently the average kid between 8 and 18 spends six to seven hours a day in front of a screen. For their sanity, safety, and success, put limits on screen time. Build a library of actual books, magazines, journals, comic books, travel guides, cookbooks, catalogs, hobby books, etc. And help them get up off the couch and do something active every day. Weather permitting, spending some time outdoors each day is ideal. Walk the dog, water the flowers, pick weeds, ride a bike, skateboard, go for a walk, but just find something to do that gets your child outside and moving.

These are all things that contribute to your child’s overall mental health, which in turn is going to help them get the most out of school. Making these activities part of their daily routine is going to help your child feel focused, confident and proactive. Turning these activities into habits helps set up your child for a lifetime of success.

What is School Choice?

What is School Choice?

What are the school choice trends in 2022-23?

In the United States since 2011, the last week of January each year has been designated School Choice Week to promote the concept of all the different forms of school choice. For this current school year, National School Choice Week will be January 22-28, 2023.

There are six main options for schooling in the United States: traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online academies, and homeschooling. The National School Choice Week Team has published the trends for 2022-23, recapped here.

Traditional Public Schools and Open Enrollment

Available in all 50 states, traditional public schools are established by school districts. Open enrollment policies mean that parents can choose a public school that is outside of their own zone or district. Currently:

  • 13 states allow parents to choose any public school for their child, in any school district
  • 18 states allow open enrollment to parents that meet certain requirements, like living too far from the assigned school, or wishing to transfer out of a low-performing school.
  • An additional 19 states allow districts and schools to choose whether they will participate in open enrollment. So families must request and receive school district approval to take advantage of open enrollment in these states. Some states are lenient with their requirements while others rarely permit transfers.

Public Charter Schools

Charter schools are created by school districts, colleges, nonprofit organizations or other entities and are generally innovative schools within the public school system. 45 states and the District of Columbia allow public charter schools, and there are currently about 7,700 in the U.S. The number of students in charter schools has more than doubled in the last 10 years.

Magnet Schools

Magnet schools are also public schools operated by school districts, but they allow students to focus on a specific learning track, like STEM, medical science, or performing arts. There are more than 4,000 magnet schools across the US, and there are thousands of magnet programs within traditional public schools nationwide. All 50 states permit magnet schools, theme-based schools, or magnet programs, and 5 states have magnet programs but no freestanding magnet schools at this time.

Private Schools

Private schools are an educational choice in all 50 states and vary widely as to tuition and curriculum. Many private schools and nonprofit organizations offer scholarships to help students pay for tuition. In addition, 30 states offer official programs that provide scholarships or tuition assistance for families choosing private schools.

Online Learning and Course Access

Virtual academies instruct students 100% through online or digital curricula. In the 2019-20 school year, approximately 375,000 K-12 students attended a statewide online school full time in the United States. That number jumped to 656,000 for the 2020-21 school year. The numbers for 2021-22 aren’t in yet.

35 states offer full-time, tuition-free online public schools, established by state authorities, school districts, or charter schools. In many states, students can use online coursework to supplement their in-person schooling. Many states also offer this online course access to private school or homeschooled students.

Homeschooling

All 50 states allow parents to homeschool their children. Many families collaborate with others, using tutorials, cooperatives, and leagues. Enrollment in homeschool programs nearly doubled from 1999 to 2016. By 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic, more than 2 million children were homeschooled. As of 2022, that number has grown to about 3.7 million, and is growing in all race and income categories.

To view maps showing the details of these various school options for each state, please visit SchoolChoiceWeek.com.

Back to School 2022

Back to School 2022

The 2022/23 School Year Will Be Starting Soon

Once July 4th celebrations begin fading from our memories, the steady countdown to “back to school” begins. Sure, there’s still summer left to enjoy, but when stores begin stocking school supplies, and emails begin arriving encouraging school registration, it’s time to get prepared.

When Does School Start in Your District?

Depending on where you live, some kids may go back to school as early as the first week of August while others don’t start until the week after Labor Day in September. Chances are that you’re well aware of exactly when school starts in your local district, but if you’re not sure, a quick online search for your school district’s website will give you all the info you need about start dates, registration, school supply lists, and more.

If you’re not sure which school district you’re in, this handy tool or also this search tool will tell you. Just enter your address and you can see the name of your school district and the elementary, middle, and high schools in it. You can even search for charter and private schools. Once you identify your school district, it’s easy to find the website and phone number to get the details.

Getting in the Back to School Groove

You’ll want to squeeze every moment of summer fun into the remaining days of summer vacation, but it’s also a good idea to gently steer thoughts in the direction of starting back to school. Many students have done some type of summer school, summer learning programs, summer tutoring, or other learning-related activities over the break, and the transition back to full-time school might be less of a chore for them. But whether your kids have done any of that or not, encouraging a positive attitude about returning to school is important.

If your child has struggled in school, you may need to help them overcome negative feelings about school and about their own achievements and obstacles. Even kids who have few issues academically might have performance anxiety or socialization challenges that make them feel negatively about school. Being sensitive to these real hurdles, taking them seriously, and talking about them can help your child overcome the negativity.

As with many areas in life, if you’re a positive role model for your child, and show that you value education and you are supportive, it will help foster confidence and a positive attitude towards school. And while all of this is important, so is maintaining a balance between school and other activities. Be careful not to overwhelm your child with concerns about performance in school.

One way to help a child who struggles with school is to provide them with opportunities to excel at something. Sometimes this means giving them activities or tasks that are below their actual grade level, just to help them experience the joy in getting things right and mastering something.

Help Overcome the Summer Slide

It’s long been an established fact that students lose ground academically over the summer break, and starting back to school in the fall involves a lot of remedial work. This learning loss is most remarkable in math and English. Over the past couple of school years, families have also had to contend with Covid-related learning loss due to major disruptions in normal school attendance and functionality. This double-impact on learning has resulted in students who are further behind in these core subjects than ever before.

Providing kids with some fun activities that don’t feel like work or school yet still provide lots of learning opportunities can help mitigate learning loss. For help with math-related fun things to do, check out these resources. And for ways to incorporate fun reading activities that help kids keep up and improve, you’ll find great reading recommendations here.

Whenever the new 2022/23 school year starts for your student, it’s not too early to get ready for it now.

FUN Summer Math Exercises

FUN Summer Math Exercises

Fun ways to keep up with math over the summer

Even in “normal” years, kids of all ages lose ground over the summer, especially in math and reading. With the disruptions in school we’ve all experienced the past couple of years, this year the “summer slide” is even more pronounced than usual. But how is a parent supposed to get kids doing anything resembling homework over summer vacation? Worksheets just aren’t going to cut it.

Searching online for “fun math activities” highlights a lot of different resources for students of all ages. Here are a few of the best:

Bedtime Math

This site has daily activities that you can do with your kids that incorporate math and numbers in creative ways, engaging kids of various ages, like this one on the invention of the calculator. Check out their great daily math challenges.

Mathseeds

This site combines free and paid activities for kids that are presented as classroom aids for the teacher, but are easily adapted to at-home activities. Ideas include Math Bingo, making a paper plate clock, guessing the weight of different objects, hopscotch math, pizza fractions, and more.

ID Tech

For the older kids, ID Tech has fun math activities geared to middle and high school students. Did you know that Minecraft has an incredible math educator’s guide? Find out ways to apply math to Minecraft activities. There are ways to incorporate Fantasy Football, Math Jeopardy, subtraction dice and more.

NASA’s Math Series

Want some fun and challenging ways to engage your STEM students? NASA offers activities for algebra, geometry, and pre-calculus.

Beyond Sudoku

Of course you’re familiar with the number challenges in playing Sudoku, but have you heard of KenKen? These puzzles can be addictive!

Math Games and Activities for Kids on the Move

Not everyone learns well by sitting at a desk or staring at a computer screen. Kids need to be active and move and they can still be learning while working off some energy. We Are Teachers has a variety of activities you can offer to your squirmy kids who learn better when in motion.

Summer Math Tutoring

If your student could use some one-on-one math support from a certified, classroom-experienced teacher, we have math tutors for all grade levels. Private online sessions can be arranged to suit your summer schedule, and can help guarantee that your student is ready when school starts back up this fall.

What stressed teachers want from parents and kids

What stressed teachers want from parents and kids

by Erica Pandey, Business Reporter at Axios

reposted with the author’s permission

Teaching has become one of the most draining jobs in America. So we asked Axios Finish Line readers who are teachers how we can help them.

Why it matters: Teachers’ stress and burnout is on the rise, while wages remain stagnant. All of us can step up to aid those who educate the next generation of leaders.

Here’s what we learned from educators:

Gifts and acts of service make a difference.

  • “Pool resources and get your teacher a gift card to a local pool or yoga studio. Teachers are overworked and underpaid, and they’ve probably spent most of their discretionary income on their classroom anyway.” —Cari C., a teacher in San Francisco
  • “I think people can help teachers by donating cleaning supplies to their child’s teachers. … Kids like having a job at school. The students gain a sense of pride and are rewarded by being told, ‘Job well done!'” —Ashley N., a teacher in Orlando
  • “What teachers need is more and regular volunteers in the classrooms.” —Sheila C., a teacher in Durant, Mississippi
  • Coffee, coffee, coffee. Best gift ever. We cannot leave the building and have 20 minutes for lunch at best.” —Beth T., a teacher in Northern Virginia

If you’re a parent, be kind — and engage.

  • “Parents should always give the teacher the benefit of the doubt, rather than right away racing to the child’s side. When the child performs well, it reflects on their teacher, so no teacher wants anything else for the child.” —Keith S., a fifth-grade teacher in Old Greenwich, Connecticut
  • Please think before sending a request or complaint. The number of emails that teachers receive every day is breaking their backs.” —Jeananne F., a retired principal from Fort Myers, Florida
  • “Read to your child if they are young. If they are older, take them to the library with you and check out books. Talk about what you have read. Kids who see reading is important to the adults in their lives are far more likely to be engaged in school.” —Patty M., a high school science teacher in Hammond, Indiana

“Thank you” goes a long way.

  • “Just saying thanks is unusual but provides such a mental energy boost for us when we are exhausted down to our souls!” —Robin G., a high school English teacher in Springdale, Arkansas
  • Copy administrators on your “thank you” emails to teachers, says Joan K., a retired Connecticut teacher.

The bottom line: “Teachers perform an indispensable public service and work extremely hard doing it. But our society acts as if teaching is unskilled labor that anyone can do and chooses to compensate that labor accordingly,” says Sabrina U., a former K-12 teacher from Decatur, Georgia.

  • Appreciate and support the teachers in your life.
Summer Reading for Kids

Summer Reading for Kids

How to encourage your kids to read this summer

It’s summer and the last thing your kids want is an assignment. You know they should do some reading over the break in order to help mitigate the “summer slide” that happens to most kids. But if you make reading a chore, you risk turning your kids off.

Schools have summer reading programs. Libraries have summer reading programs. Parent groups have recommendations and lists of books that appeal to parents. And there are goals and rewards and milestones. And all of this feels like work.

Ditch the program

One of the best ways to encourage your kids to read is for you to be a reader. Seriously. They learn by example. And younger children usually love being read to. But just seeing that reading is important to you helps make it a natural activity.

If you have more than one child, having them read to each other can also be fun, or have an older child read aloud to younger kids who can’t yet read themselves.

Don’t force or cajole or bribe your kids to read. Just make reading materials of all types readily available to them. This includes:

  • magazines
  • newspapers
  • graphic novels
  • audio books
  • blog posts
  • travel brochures
  • how-to-books
  • cookbooks
  • recipes
  • catalogs
  • word puzzles
  • encyclopedias
  • poetry
  • fiction
  • fantasy
  • hobby books (like coin collecting, gardening, insects, music, art, vintage record albums…)

Resist the temptation to consult an “approved” reading list this summer and let your child’s own interests and hobbies guide them (and you) to reading about what they’re interested in, regardless of the medium. Your local librarian will be super helpful in directing you to reading materials on every topic.

Reading and writing are connected

Encouraging writing helps boost your child’s reading skills. You can help your child make a journal, or buy a ready-made one that they pick out, if they seem interested. Have them make a list of things they see or do over the summer so they have a ready made essay for back-to-school. This could easily turn into a scrapbook project. Help them pick a pen pal to write letters to. Have them write down recipes they like, creating their own collection or “cookbook”. Any type of writing activity is valuable and will improve their reading ability.

If your child has reading difficulties

Children who struggle to read are not going to enjoy reading. For some kids, making lower level, easier reading materials available can help. But if you suspect that your child is having a more serious problem with reading, summer is a good time to look into it. If the problem is something physical or cognitive, the earlier you get it diagnosed, the better. If it’s just that your child may be slower to catch on and develop reading skills, taking the pressure off and making it as fun and stress-free as possible will help.

Bottom line: remove the “work” aspect from summer reading and make a variety of materials available to your kids. Encourage reading without pressure and have a great summer!