Survey reveals Urban students get boost from private tutors

Ella McLeod, Staff Writer

How much help do Urban students get outside of school? A Legend survey has found that one in three Urban students has used a private tutor during the 2012-13 school year.  And of the students who are tutored, all but one said they believed they attained higher grades and better overall course reports due to the extra help they received.

A total of 76 students responded to a Legend survey of 10 questions, which was conducted online from March 25 to April 1. Students were randomly selected and represented a range of classes as well as gender.

Asked how tutors assisted them, 83 percent of the privately tutored Urban students said that tutors helped them to study for tests. Second place was completing problem sets (75 percent), followed by completing recycles (67 percent), and writing essays (42 percent).  Others reported being tutored for homework help, grammar, and lab reports.

More than 2 in 3 students — 67 percent — met with their tutors once a week.  The next-largest group — 17 percent — met with their tutors twice a week, and a few met with their tutors either three times a week, once or twice a month, or sometimes just before final exams.

Tutor fees varied significantly.  In the survey, 28 percent of students reported that they are tutored for free, seven percent pay $15 to $50 an hour, 31 percent pay $51 to $75, 17 percent pay $76 to $100 an hour, seven percent pay more than $100 an hour. The other 10 percent pay a flat fee.

A total of 38 percent of those tutored reported that they are tutored because they have “a learning difference.”

Though there was agreement in other areas, responses were mixed when it came to a question about whether or not private tutoring should be considered by teachers when giving grades or writing course reports.

Of the respondents, 33 percent said that tutors should be factored into grades and course reports, 31 said they should not, and 36 percent said they were “not sure.”

Asked to elaborate on their responses, several students added written comments. “The student should be graded on how they did in class, and if (the tutoring help) shows on their tests or doesn’t, the tutor should have no effect on how the final grades appear,” one survey participant wrote.

Another student said that tutors should be considered by teachers when grading, but “not necessarily in a way that would change grades, but just keeping it in mind.

“A student without a tutor could be doing much better than a student with one, and I believe that the student without the tutor should be recognized in that way,” the student wrote. “It is still great that students are seeking help and spending extra time towards school.”

A student who was not sure whether or not private tutors should be considered while grading posed some valid questions. “Should students be judged on how smart they are or how much they learned?” the student asked. “Is the purpose of school to learn a certain amount or to achieve a certain benchmark of intelligence? I don’t know.”