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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:07 am 
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My son has been assessed by two tutors recently. One did this as a favour, the other is a prospective tutor who we are thinking of using to 'patch up' for school where there have been quite a lot of problems (loads of different teachers etc.) and I feel he isn't getting the attention he needs to iron out a couple of issues with his writing/ to prevent him making sloppy mistakes in class on occasions and to challenge him more than his teachers have done in some areas.

So, tutor number one did 1.25 hours of assessment one morning at her house and said that he is bright but not super-selective material in her view. She said Ds' concentration was poor and he seemed distracted (particularly by her pets which were coming in and out). She showed us the papers she used and e.g. in maths he had got 36/40 but she said those marks meant the difference between a 3c and a 3a. I thought he'd made sloppy mistakes on those questions and whilst he obviously got them wrong, basing a whole year's worth of level of 4 errors was draconian.
She did a short NVR paper and he did ok but not amazingly on that- again he got about 4 wrong. Never done that sort of thing before. Maybe if he was super super bright he'd have got them right though but again I fear he was not concentrating well/ not engaged that day (it was a Sunday morning not sure if that matters).

Anyway, tutor number two did a slightly shorter assessment and was then raving about him. Without me saying anything about what schools we might have in mind later on, she said he would stand a very good change with super-selectives near us, was clearly very, very bright, had a phenomenal memory, breezed through everything she gave him. She showed me some of the question and they were pretty tough. No silly mistakes evident this time.

The final bit of the jigsaw is that he also sat for an occasional place at a very top indie prep with very little notice/ preparation. He did not get in and they said this is because his writing was not up to standard (which I agree with - it's his weakest area) but they said he seemed very able and they felt confident he would have absolutely no problems at their 11+ provided we do a little work on his writing.

So....why are the tutors giving such massively different messages?

Which one do I believe or is this all much more subjective than it seems?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:23 am 
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elevenlevel wrote:
So....why are the tutors giving such massively different messages?


Because it's a completely unregulated and unpoliced occupation, which requires no qualifications or training, performs not even the beginnings of robust data collection, operates entirely via anecdote and school-gate gossip, and in large part serves to take money off well-meaning parents for rather nebulous benefits?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:51 am 
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I know we haven't got to the bottom of it all but you've made me laugh - in a good way. So true.

So how is one supposed to find a good tutor you can trust?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:21 am 
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Are either of these two tutors qualified teachers?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:16 pm 
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Yes both are/ were experienced teachers.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:03 pm 
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Location: Herts
Four marks out of forty cannot possibly take you from a 3C to a 3A. If 3A was the highest possible mark you can get on the paper then in my opinion the tutor should have been using a harder paper. What year is your ds in? What papers would he have to sit for the super selectives you are interested in? There is being able and there is being able to cope with the exams of a particular school. Very very able students fail to secure a place at our local selective school because they are not prepared properly. We know Level 7 maths students already well into KS3 who did not get in because they got their timing wrong and did not finish. I would sit a mock and get some feedback from that. DG


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:47 pm 
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Have you asked your child's school what they think?


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:37 pm 
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Oh goodness. I'd forget both their opinions, and go with whichever one teaches your child better ...... probably tutor 2 as no pets in the way to distract him, and she sounds very positive. Personally I'd never choose tutor number 1 as she sounds quite unpleasant and a bit thick to me. :shock:

You want your child to learn something from the tutor, you'll know after a few sessions whether he is or not ... if he's not, then change again!


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:44 pm 
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DAO, that's what I thought about the four marks.
The paper said 'above 26/30' is 'at least a 3c'. She then extrapolated from that mark and said because he only just got the mark for the level 3 i.e. 26 he would be a 3c.

Ourmam (love your username by the way), school don't really give views on such things. Well maybe they do in year 5 but all this informs my school choices now. His report was peppered with compliments about him being very able and hardworking. But their very able could well be quite vague.

That said, he has so far always been in top groups and on the highest reading level (although I appreciate that won't count for much when he does the 11+!)

Tutor number one was actually very nice, welcoming and fun and seemed slick. I just think that she makes far too firm conclusions from tests which perhaps don't have enough granularity. Tutor two had a less slick approach. She sounds like she gets results for our local super-selectives and said that whilst she can never know for sure, he certainly seems like he'd be the sort of child who'd do very well in the exams. In fact, she was pointing me in the direction of the super-selectives as an alternative to the indies.

As background, he read and did basic sums when he was three, has always seemed very able, and is probably two years ahead in maths with no teaching at that level as far as I know at school and just the occasional bit of maths at home (like 10 mins twice a week). He has so far always picked up maths concepts very quickly with little or no repetition. So my gut feel is tutor two is more likely to be right but I could be a deluded mother!


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