It’s back to school now for millions of students and vicariously for their parents. And as they hit the books, virtually all have the same goal: raise grades and test scores substantially to get into a good college and have a chance in an increasingly competitive job market. But the bad news is that many students are falling short of their academic goals.
“Low or failing grades produce shame, frustration, helplessness, hopelessness and peer group rejection,” says Larrie Reynolds, Superintendent of Mount Olive Township Public Schools. “This allows the student to convince even themselves that their lacking success in school is actually a personal lifestyle choice, rather than an inevitable fate.”
The good news is that through an effective tutoring program, students can overcome the academic and resultant social difficulties.
There are many causes of poor academic performance, but it almost always leads to negative consequences for the confidence of the student. “They may be upset with parental pressure, have no strong drive, lack confidence, have learning problems or face other apparent barriers. So to simply start ‘tutoring’ them so often backfires, turning out to be an exercise in futility,” says Frank Milner, president of Tutor Doctor, a global network of academic coaching companies.
“That’s why our academic coaches begin with what our process refers to as a personal discovery. Our people find out what is in the student’s heart and mind before we begin to deal with English, mathematics or history. If we know that there is something working against the learning process, we can address it quickly and effectively,” says Milner.
As an example, we look at a sophomore in High School and a competitive swimmer who failed most of his classes during his freshman year. Family stress reached a boiling point and his parents reached out to a tutor for help. Sophomore year, the student went through the personal discovery process and was seen by an academic coach for both English and Math. The student proceeded to get A’s and B’s and his parents couldn’t be happier.
The personal discovery looks for five key issues that can be blocking the student’s academic success:
- Working parents have little time to help students with academics.
- Students that “struggle in silence.” These students are too embarrassed to reach out for help at school.
- Too many extra-mural activities impede the student’s ability to perform academically.
- Gaps in educational fundamentals. These gaps need to be filled in while working on current studies.
- Situations where moving is involved. Moving from state to state, elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, public to private and vice-versa.
“We know that by conducting the personal discovery first and also by filling in gaps in the student’s knowledge before trying to go to the next level, “says James Zazeski of Tutor Doctor, ” our system proves that it is highly effective in accelerating the trajectory of learning.”
“Dakota has only been with her academic coach for two months and already her test scores in grammar, science and history have gone from D’s and F’s to high A’s,” says Tracy Healey, a Tutor Doctor client. “Your careful selection in matching the right tutor to the student was spot on. Dakota’s confidence level is through the roof and she now feels that she is very capable of achieving great success as a student. As a parent, I’m thrilled!”