Archives for August 2015

Is your child really a 99% student? No ratings yet.

Getting into good universities have become challenging, however, earning one’s keep and staying in one has become more of an issue for some students. It is not uncommon for kids to score extremely high grades >95%s in their high school courses. In fact, these extremely high grades have become too common. How is this possible? Have kids become geniuses? More and more do we see high school class averages of > 80% and yet student performance in many first year university courses are poor.

There is a systemic problem in our secondary school education system. Good marks are given out freely, giving students a false confidence and a false representation of their skills and abilities. Students are constantly set up for the biggest disappointment of their lives. It’s time to stop telling kids they are amazing at everything and start showing them the true picture of the reality. Sooner or later they will find out they are not a 99% student in science. If they are fortunate enough to have a good teacher, they will find that out before committing their time and money to the wrong post secondary degree. The true representation of their strengths and weaknesses only helps students strive towards learning better study skills, working harder, and dedicating themselves to self improvement.

The dramatic drop from high school to university negatively impacts students’ mental health as many find it hard to cope with the demands of their coursework. Many struggle with anxiety and depression and adopt the ‘as long as I pass’  bare minimum attitude.  Is this the attitude we want university grads to take into the workforce?

If you see that your child’s class average is very high it is likely that the mark you see in their report card is not a true representation of their abilities in that subject. Class averages should be around 65% for a high mark of 99% to mean anything. Class averages that are too high mean that kids are not being challenges enough to prepare them for post secondary studies at a university level.

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What is the goal of tutoring? 5/5 (1)

The goal of tutoring is not to replace independent homework time for students. The goal of tutoring is to give students the skills and confidence they need to tackle unfamiliar questions and find their own correct answers. When hiring a tutor, the goal should be to develop a strategic plan, so as the student reaches grade 12, the hours of tutorials are gradually decreased without impacting the student’s marks. When this has been achieved, we can say tutoring was successful. By the end of their grade 12 year, students who wish to continue into university must have the skills to study independently, organize their time wisely and stay focused on tasks; otherwise, they will have a hard time adapting to the demanding coursework that comes with earning a university degree.

Too many students are dependent on their tutors and tutoring lessons just to complete the given homework. It is important for parents to work as a team with their tutor to ensure their child is doing independent work at home. Some students get into the habit of taking weekends off. Their weekend starts Friday until the end of the day on Sunday, and no work or study gets done for 3 days of the week! It is definitely OK for students to take Friday evenings off to relax from their busy weeks, but Saturday and Sundays are a great time to catch up with homework and do a little review of the material covered.

The best use of tutoring time is when the student comes prepared with their questions because they have already spent the time to recognize their trouble spots. Tutors can then help the student with specific questions and move on to either getting the student ahead of class or review the previous material to ensure complete understanding.

With this system of tutoring, a child would only need to see their tutor once a week and still perform extremely well in school. Once the student sees the initial improvement from tutorials and consistently scores above their grade goal, the move towards lessening their tutoring hours can be implemented. This move must take place slowly to allow the tutor and the student to become accustomed to the change without impacting the student’s grades. We have found that it is harder to improve a student’s performance the second time around if the student experiences a big drop.

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When is tutoring and hiring a tutor a waste of parents’ money? 5/5 (1)

When is tutoring and hiring a tutor a waste of parents’ money?

Hiring a good tutor/mentor is money well spent. A good mentor will not only help children with their struggling subjects, but often inspire students and have a significant impact on their academic careers. Spending money on tutoring is wasteful only when the child sees no improvement in their grades or confidence, or worse, when the child’s confidence drops even lower after working with a tutor. When this happens, both parents and children may generalize their disappointing experience and lose confidence in tutors and tutoring altogether. They scratch the idea of having a tutor, and the child continues to struggle and dislike school, not reaching their full potential and not knowing that school does not have to be so hard.

Here are a few suggestions to consider when hiring a tutor to ensure your child gets the maximum value for their efforts.

If your child is struggling, asking the tutor for once-a-week lessons will not cut it.

Children struggle due to unresolved knowledge gaps that have piled up over the years. It is important to recognize that tutors need time to work with the child to eliminate the knowledge gaps so the child is caught up with his/her class. Hiring a tutor to work with your child just once a week is not enough when a child has been struggling. At MyGradeBooster, we recommend the following tutorial hours to our customers as we have seen results within 1-3 months with the following tutoring schedules:

1.5 hours / week for students who are within 5% of their grade goals
3.0 hours / week for students who are within 25% of their grade goals

Parents are encouraged to hire tutorials only if they are ready to commit to the tutorial time needed to see improvement. Without giving the tutor and your child the sufficient time they need together, even the best tutor will not be able to accomplish much, and you would have wasted your money.

Not all tutors can teach, and not all teachers can tutor

Hiring a tutor is the most important step as with the right tutor you will be able to see significant results within only 1-3 months of tutoring. The tutor does not need to be a school teacher, although school teachers can be good tutors. Students, especially those interested in pursuing non-teaching careers, can benefit immensely from working with tutors who are already in their field of interest. If you are using Craigslist or other tutor-classified ads, it is important to perform thorough interviews to ensure that they are good. How will you know you have hired a good tutor? Listen in and also ask your child after the first lesson to see what (s)he thought about the tutor. Trust your intuition as most times you will have a correct assessment of the tutor after just one lesson. Finding a good tutor is challenging and requires patience. At MyGradeBooster, we typically hire only 10% of the candidates that apply to tutor, so be prepared to go through a few before you find the right one for your child.

Don’t let the price tag fool you

Don’t get too excited if a tutor charges $15/hr, and don’t get too discouraged if another charges $60/hr. Good tutors often ask for what they are worth, but they will take less time to give results. However, not all expensive tutors are good, and not all cheap tutors save you money. You will have to determine their skills during the first lesson to determine how the value the tutor brings to you compares with the price tag. If your tutor who charges $60/hr can give your child significant results within 1-3 months, they have not only eliminated a big stress for you and your family, they have also given your child the hope and confidence they need to continue their achievement, which tends to spill over into other areas of their lives. As a rule of thumb, if the tutor you have hired (no matter the price tag), is unable to show any results after 3 months of tutoring, it is time to let them go.

Do not overload your child

Some kids are overloaded with extracurricular activities. They are so tired all the time that they are unable to focus during the lessons. If the child is doing well in school, then being involved in extracurricular activities is not a problem. However, if they are struggling, their academic needs must be prioritized, especially if you are spending the money to engage a tutor. Consistent poor performance in school can potentially lead children to convince themselves that they are not good enough and give up trying altogether. With the right planning and strategic tutoring, children can perform well in school and follow their extracurricular activities.

Be involved in your child’s education

Improving a child’s academic performance is achieved through teamwork. The team members include you, your child, their tutor, school teachers and the company director (if you have hired a company). If all team members work together, the child will start seeing initial results as early as 2-4 weeks after the beginning of tutorials. Teamwork does not mean micro-managing and helicopter parenting. All team members must feel comfortable and have the creative flexibility in doing their part. Once you have hired an amazing tutor for your child, trust that they will do their job well, and refrain from asking for too much extra work that takes up the tutor’s personal time. A brief written or oral progress report after each lesson is a great way to keep track of your child’s progress.

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