How much tutoring is enough?

Once you decide that you or your child needs tutoring, how much tutoring time do you really need? There are so many things occupying your time that you want to pinpoint exactly how many hours a week you need. You may not know how to judge you/ your child’s needs. This article gives you four tips to help you decide how much tutoring you need.

1. Grades and test scores. K – 12 students take standardized tests – sometimes more than one each year – that can tell you about how well your child is doing in school. Collect any score reports you have and review the remarks and the charts. This is especially helpful if you have more than one year’s worth. Compare the charts from several years’ worth of score reports. Is your child improving, or are scores going down each year? Are they staying the same? Declining scores indicates students are not keeping up with classmates academically. While their scores might be consistent, students should be earning higher scores to be performing “at grade level”. If student’s scores are the same from year to year or decline, you may need two to three days (or two to three hours) of tutoring per week.

If you don’t have a copy of your child’s standardized test scores, look at their current and past grades. Contact teachers to get a current progress report so you know how they’re doing right now. Then, consider your child’s current grades and compare them to past report cards. If your child has earned “C’s” or “D’s” in one specific class the past several grading periods, then you may also need two to three hours a week. However, if your child’s grades are just beginning to slip, one or two hours a week is probably enough to get them back on track.

2. Student motivation. This holds true for adults and K – 12 students. As an adult student, consider how motivated you are to complete assignments and study for exams. If your motivation is low, consider getting a tutor to help you for an hour or two a week. You could meet your tutor once a week for two hours, or spread the time across two days. They can check in with you and help you study for tests or narrow down a research paper topics.

K – 12 students may lack motivation for many reasons. Peer issues, bullying, school failure, and undiagnosed learning difficulties may cause students to reduce their effort at school. Parents should question their child to diagnose the problem first. Then, decide whether tutoring is appropriate or if another intervention is necessary. If your child is unmotivated due to peer pressure (desire to fit in with peers) or simply does not see the value of education, you may need two to three hours a week when tutoring starts. As your child works with their tutor, their attitude and effort should begin to improve. As students improve, you can lower the number of tutoring hours to one to two per week.

3. Number of subjects. Also, consider the number of subjects that need improvement. Adult students taking four college level courses may need two hours of tutoring a week if they struggle with just one subject. This is especially true if the subject is required for your major or to meet professional training requirements.

On the other hand, K – 12 students who struggle with two subjects may not need tutoring at all. Consider which subjects are giving your child trouble. If your child struggles in two subjects such as English and Math, consider two to three hours of tutoring a week. If your child struggles in two to four classes, more help is probably necessary. Consider three to four hours of tutoring per week so they get help nearly every day.

4. Timing. By “timing”, I’m referring to how early or late it is in the school year. Tutoring needs will differ depending on the student’s age, grade level, and how far into the school year it is. For example, high school seniors have many important exams they must pass each spring in order to graduate. If your high schooler is struggling with subjects that will be on the exam, you may need several hours of tutoring a week to make sure they catch up and can pass the test. High school seniors struggling with a subject or two at the beginning of the last grading period may only need an hour or two. This should be enough help to make sure they learn the material and keep up with the class so they can graduate on time.

Parents and adult students who need tutoring often have a hard time deciding how much help they/ their children need. Current academic performance and standardized test scores can reveal trends, which should be accounted for when deciding how much tutoring is needed. Motivation, number of subjects the student struggles with, and how much of the school year remains are other factors to consider. Most students require one to four hours of tutoring per week. However, virtual school students and students living with learning disabilities may need more hours than this. Consider these factors and then contact a tutor to discuss their availability and how to schedule the lessons.

I hope you found this article helpful. Please take a minute to leave a comment, Like this post on Facebook, or Tweet the post via Twitter using the buttons on the right side of my blog page. If you have questions about whether a tutor is right for you or if you would like advice for your unique situation, feel free to E-mail me using the “E-mail Jeff S.” button on my Wyzant tutor home page. (Here is a link to my page: I’m happy to help!

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