Over the years we have had many requests from parents to send tutors to students’ homes, or to meet with them in other locations such as the library. We do not do this. All our tutoring is done in our office in Boston, or via Skype. We have Skyped with clients all across the United States, and in Europe, Asia and Central and South America.
One of the biggest reasons we do not send tutors outside our office is that we cannot be responsible for the quality of the work if the tutors are not with us on a regular basis. We have heard stories from parents of tutors not showing up on time, not showing up at all, or showing up impaired to work with their children.
A center based tutoring environment offers many advantages for students. Tutors have access to lesson plans, supplemental material, a team of other tutors to consult, and supervision and guidance from administrators. It is much more expensive to operate a center based tutoring business, but it is the right thing to do in terms of providing a quality program.
Our tutors have access to proprietary lesson plans, supplemental books, and input from other tutors and the center director. Our close relationship with our staff allows us to give them feedback and provide them with resources to help them give the best possible service to our clients. We hear how the tutors interact with students, and we can offer suggestions and resources based on individual needs. A tutor that is sent out on their own has no supervision, no resources and no feedback. We are able to mentor our staff and help them meet the individual needs of each student.
Every few years we shop other tutoring business to get a sense of what they have to offer, and it is always surprising to us when some of the people we talk to provide incorrect information about test basics, cannot answer simple questions, or provide little details about materials used and the results of their work with students. We have found that some companies will say anything to bring in business, but they do not have much to back up their sales pitch.
Many tutoring businesses rely on their tutors to provide material for test prep and they do not supply a standardized curriculum. We have found this to be a recipe for disaster. There is limited material available for ISEE and SSAT test preparation, and many of the books on the market today are outdated, or have significant gaps in content.
Tutoring is very much a buyer beware business. It is important for parents to do their due diligence in researching what options are available and what is provided by the tutoring business. Below are some questions to ask when evaluating a test prep provider.
- How well do you know the test? How many years have you been teaching the test material?
- What materials do you use to teach the test material?
- Do you actually teach the material, or just tell students when they get something wrong?
- Who are your instructors, how are they trained, and how experienced are they with the test? Do you do a background check on your tutors?
- How do you evaluate students to determine what they need?
- What is your success rate, and do you follow up with each student to see how he or she scored on the test?
- What ongoing support do you offer parents through the process of application to exam and private schools? Do you have children that have attended the exam schools or a private school?
- How does your program help students get ready for the curriculum at an exam or private school?
- Will your program help my child do well in school this year?
- Do you have references you can share with me?
If the tutoring company cannot answer the above questions to your satisfaction, then you should look elsewhere.
Anne Yount Boston ISEE Prep 617-553-8083 www.bostoniseeprep.com - Test Prep for the ISEE & Latin School Exam Boston Tutoring Center 617-553-8083 www.bostontutoringcenter.com - Tutoring Grades K-12 Boston Private School Search 617-553-0540 www.bostonprivateschoolsearch.com - Your Resource for Private School Admissions Follow my blog at: www.privateschoolguru.com/blog