Impact of tutoring on academic achievement when administered by highly qualified teachers

Melanie R. McMillon-Nelson

Abstract

Tutoring is necessary in the educational realm to help students acquire skills needed to become independent learners. Students do not all learn at the same rate and can fall behind. When proper tutoring skills are practiced, students have an opportunity to become independent learners. Schools are incorporating tutoring programs to help individuals, who are academically challenged, become independent learners and increase test scores. This is vital to the educational field as test scores have become critical to accreditation status and federal and state funding for schools. A purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a first year tutoring program administered by highly qualified teachers. The study focused on finding a difference in scores from the Standardized Test and Assessment in Reading (STAR) and mathematics and final grade point averages in reading and mathematics. The difference was examined between tutored and non-tutored students. All students used in this study attended the school during the 2003-2004 academic school year. Students in this study were enrolled in the second through sixth grades. Tutored students were compared to non-tutored students based on grade, race, and gender. In addition, nine teachers were given an opinion survey to obtain descriptive data for explanatory purposes. The teachers surveyed served as instructional tutors for the program. All nine surveys were returned. In this study, there were no significant differences in STAR reading and math NCE test scores between tutored and non-tutored students. Therefore, tutoring services were effective. Because students who were not tutored did not have scores significantly higher than those who were tutored, the program did what it was designed to accomplish. Tutored students scored high enough to close the gap between their scores and the scores of non-tutored students on standardized tests such as Standardized Tests and Assessments in Reading and Mathematics and the Mississippi Curriculum Test. There were significant differences in final yearly grade point averages between the groups. The non-tutored students maintained higher scores than tutored students. The tutoring program was not designed to directly help students with regular classroom assignments but rather focus on building standardized achievement test taking skills. Teachers' attitudes and opinions about the program supported that they believed it was effective for improving students' self-esteem. They were also in agreement that the program was effective because highly qualified teachers served as instructors.