Questions for Families To Ask SES Providers
Where does the provider offer tutoring services?
Providers may offer services in a variety of settings including schools, public libraries, providers’ offices, community centers and places of worship.
Many providers will offer “hands on” tutoring by trained instructors. Others may offer internet-based instruction that students can access through a computer at home, in a school, or a community center. Most tutoring is face-to-face, but some children are tutored on a computer over the Internet. Make sure you and your child are comfortable with the location.
If your child will need transportation to the provider, ask whether transportation will be offered. If no transportation will be offered, make plans to get your child to and from the tutoring sessions.
When does the provider offer services?
Students can receive tutoring services after school, before school, or at other times, but some provide services before school, on weekends, or during the summer. Make sure the services are scheduled at a time that works for your family so that your child will be able to attend regularly. Success will depend on regular attendance.
How often and how long will my child receive tutoring?
This can vary, from every day to a few times a week. Make sure you know how many tutoring sessions the provider will offer, and how long those sessions will continue.
Also, find out if the tutor will work with your child as part of a group or one-on-one. Usually, the fewer students a tutor works with, the better the results for each child.
How are students grouped during tutoring?
Providers offer different types of instruction. Some providers tutor small groups of students at a time, while others offer one-on-one instruction or teach through computer programs. Other programs may use a combination of these approaches. Be sure to choose a provider that offers instruction in way that will work best for your child.
What subject areas do your services address?
If your child is having trouble in a specific subject area, such as reading or math, make sure that the provider you choose offers services focused on that subject area.
Can instructors speak languages other than English?
If your child’s first language is not English, ask whether the provider you are considering can offer services in your child’s first language.
What is the provider's track record in raising student achievement?
To get on the state list, providers must be able to demonstrate that they have a track record of raising student achievement in academic subjects, such as reading and math. Be sure to find out whether the provider has a successful track record of working with students whose needs are similar to your child’s needs.
Look for evidence in the form of:
Who will be instructing my child? What are their qualifications?
Ask about the backgrounds and qualifications of staff that will be working with your child.
SES providers are not required to hire certified teachers. Ask the tutor or the provider to show you evidence that s/he has the training and experience needed to work with children struggling in school, especially in reading and math.
However, you should make sure you are confident that each instructor’s level of experience and knowledge has prepared him or her to help your child improve academically.
Can you adapt your tutoring to meet my child’s learning style?
Take the time to tell the provider how your child learns best or about problems she may have faced in the classroom. You should get the feeling that the provider is willing to listen to you, be flexible with your child, and be competent to meet your child’s learning needs.
Can the provider meet the learning needs of students with disabilities?
If your child has disabilities, be sure that the providers you are interested in can accommodate those disabilities. all services provided should be consistent with your child's individualized education program (IEP) or specialized services under Section 504.
Does the provider measure student needs?
Make sure your child’s progress will be measured in a way that will be clear and useful for you. For example, if the provider will report on your child’s progress in writing, you can ask for a sample progress report to get a clearer picture of how this process would work.
How successful has the tutor been in raising student achievement?
SES providers keep records about how well students do in their program. Ask the provider to give you written information about how students have improved their grades, homework, or attendance. Ask to see a copy of parent satisfaction surveys.
How will I know if my child is progressing?
Providers must keep you and your school informed about your child’s progress. Ask to see a sample progress report and find out how often you will receive it. Providers should be willing to talk to you anytime.
How will the provider keep me informed of my child’s progress?
Once you choose a provider, the provider is required to establish goals for your child in a meeting with you, your district, and your child’s teacher or principal. Providers are also required to report back to you, your child’s school, and the district about your child’s progress towards these goals. Find out how the provider will measure progress and report this information to you. Ask to see a sample progress report and find out how often you can expect to get this information. Providers should be willing to talk to you anytime.
What happens if I choose a provider, but it does not help my child?
Be sure to ask what procedures are in place if your child does not show improvement after working with a provider. Ask the program and your district if and when you can switch to another provider. If you are unhappy with a provider’s services, be sure to provide feedback to the district and state to help them monitor the provider.
Some providers may offer guarantees of improved student performance. Ask if the program offers such a guarantee and find out what happens if the guarantee is not met.
This information is adapted from a document entitled “Questions for Families To Ask SES Providers,” developed by the Supplemental Educational Services Quality Center. The document is on the Web, along with other SES information and resources, at: http://www.tutorsforkids.org/families/infoforfamilies.asp
November 1, 2014
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