When first tutoring or coaching a student, I conduct a free consultation and assessment in order to understand the student and the academic situation. I pull together previous educational and psychological testing from schools and professionals, combine them with my own working knowledge of subject areas and skill levels, parent and teacher feedback, and current school performance to create an overall picture of a student. There can be a multitude of reasons for academic problems, and can include social elements and bullying as well. This is why I consider all factors when assessing a student. I call this concept “assessing the total child.”
It is very much like detective work, my assessment process, in which I seek clues using a variety of tools and essentially interview everyone involved so that I can find and implement academic solutions.
Mathematics, in particular, has recently been an area that needs assessment because of the use of software to teach. While software such as IXL are quite brilliantly constructed, they can cause problems because there is often no written record of a child’s performance. We can see where they not understanding, but we do not know why. Therefore, quick assessment into basic math concepts can unearth of sorts of interesting information regarding a student’s understanding. For example, simply talking about fractions led me to discover that one student thought that the divisor in a fraction, was “one big subtraction sign.” You can see where little mishaps in math knowledge can easily lead to greater difficulties and poor grades.
Taking everything into account, including and especially the student’s own perspective, is vital in teaching and tutoring efficiently and effectively. Every student’s academic challenges and strength or very unique, so my assessments are always different. These informal assessments allow me to understand the student in as much detail as possible, which aids my work as a teacher and tutor and ensures that I honor their distinctness.
If you are near Northern Virginia, and have a student that may need an informal assessment in any subject area, I am happy to help. Simply call (202) 930-2326 or Email Adam.