Parents and students often gravitate toward one-on-one tutoring because it gives students the individual attention classroom teachers can't provide. However, many students benefit even more from small-group instruction.
Studies show that small-group tutoring is particularly effective for problem-solving skills and targeted skill-building. Furthermore, students who participate in small group tutoring outperform their peers.
Curious about the benefits of group tutoring? Here are three big advantages of enrolling in a small group (besides saving money!).
1. Students Stay Engaged
In a small group, different perspectives and learning styles create a fun, high-energy environment.
If one student is struggling with a concept, another student can explain how she arrived at the correct answer. This makes the session feel less like a lecture and more like a discussion. Students feel motivated to keep up with the group, and each student can use his or her strengths to assist others.
This set-up also removes some pressure when a student is dealing with a challenging skill. Watching another student apply the skill successfully can be a very effective learning tool.
2. Students Stick with It
A friend at the tutoring center is a powerful incentive to keep students working hard and coming back. While short-term tutoring is certainly helpful for a difficult class or test preparation, long-term instruction is what builds the academic strategies that position students for lifelong success.
Long-term tutoring groups offer social and academic support. Students learn from each other's strengths and feel more at ease tackling challenging concepts. With a small group, students are less likely to view tutoring as a chore.
3. Students Build Confidence
For shy children and teens, speaking up in a classroom of 30 students can be daunting. Small groups create an opportunity for students to practice sharing their thoughts in a low-stakes environment. Without so many eyes on them, timid students can start taking small risks, eventually becoming comfortable enough to share their opinions confidently and consistently.
This confidence is essential to students' success in college and the workforce. Many college classes are discussion-based and come with a participation grade, and almost all careers involve some form of public speaking or collaborative discussion. Students who can thoughtfully express their ideas and offer feedback to others will achieve more.
Finding the Right Small Group
Not every small group will be a good fit for your child, even if the other participants are the same age.
A good tutor will place your child with others at his skill level, but will also take personalities into account. For instance, a highly motivated student may get frustrated if she's working with a student who needs a little more prodding. Conversely, a class clown might settle down if placed in a group with focused students. Your tutor should work with you to find the most helpful placement for your child and her study style.
To learn more about available math, English and test prep tutoring groups for students in Glenview, Wilmette, Northbrook and the surrounding towns, call 847-834-0791.
How young is too young for tutoring? That depends on what you want from it.
When most people think of tutoring, they think of junior high and high school students who need help with challenging classes. But tutoring also builds strong foundational academic skills and self image for young children. In other words, tutoring doesn't have to be reactive -- it can also be proactive.
By enrolling young students in tutoring, you help them build healthy habits and avoid learning challenges down the line.
The Value of Early Intervention
It's well established that students' experiences in kindergarten through second grade set the trajectory for the rest of their academic careers. Their level of comfort with basic reading and math skills positions them for ongoing success or frustration, and the study and organization habits they form during this period will stick with them. Furthermore, early intervention allows educators to track a student's academic and social development and identify any challenges.
If a student is behind developmentally, teachers and parents don't always have the time to give him the individualized academic attention he needs to catch up. This is where tutoring can make a huge difference.
Tutoring for elementary-aged children focuses on establishing helpful learning strategies and positive self image, giving young children an edge over students who don't receive this personalized instruction. For example, a student who struggles with math can spend years developing learning strategies before hitting challenging classes like Algebra and Geometry. Because her tutor has helped her prepare, she avoids the negative experience of receiving a low grade and labeling herself "bad at math."
Additionally, elementary years are ideal for tutoring because children are still developing their identities as students. Will your child's school experience make him confident or insecure? Curious or resistant? Motivated or resigned? Tutoring can play a large role in students' self-image and attitude toward learning. A curious, motivated student remains engaged - even in challenging courses - and is better positioned to pursue her passions later in life.
Tutoring for Gifted Students
Tutoring is useful for far more than boosting grades. It's also an excellent way for advanced children to learn at their own pace and avoid "academic boredom." If a student is not challenged in school, he often loses interest, disengages or acts out. By providing advanced students with a place to work ahead and explore their interests, tutoring helps them stay focused and reach their potential.
Would you like you elementary-aged student to get a leg up and get ahead in class?
Talk to an iLearn Academy staff member about how tutoring can set your child up for future academic success, or enroll now in our Fall Program.
As the cost of child care steadily rises, parents are looking for ways to get more for their money. Whether that's through nannies who also teach piano or after-school programs that help children learn Spanish, today's parents want their child care dollars to go farther.
Tutoring is a great example of a child care option with added benefits. Tutoring gives parents the chance to run errands or squeeze in a workout while their children build skills that help them excel in school and beyond.
In most cases, tutoring costs more than a babysitter, because students receive personalized academic support from a knowledgeable instructor. In some cases, however, small-group tutoring is more affordable than hiring a nanny or paying for athletics.
So before spending big bucks on child care, take a look at the afterschool tutoring programs in your area. You might find a perfect fit for your child care needs -- and your student's academic goals.
Rising Cost of Child Care
In Illinois, families spend an average of $27,854 annually on in-home childcare and $10,229 on in-center child care. This expense makes up 32 percent of the median household income in the state. That means that a given family in Illinois could easily be spending one third of its annual income on child care.
With child care making up such an enormous chunk of household spending, it makes sense that parents increasingly view child care as an investment in their children's futures -- and choose child care options that offer concrete benefits.
It's tough to find anything more beneficial for children than academic skill and confidence. That's why so many parents turn to tutoring as a regular child care option.
Benefits of Tutoring
A 90-minute tutoring session for an elementary school student can be as affordable as $36/hour. When you pick your child up from the session, her homework is complete, she is caught up on new concepts, and her tutor has helped her prepare for any upcoming projects or large assignments. This lets families spend weekday evenings free from homework stress.
Studies show that students who receive tutoring perform significantly better in core subjects and on standardized tests. With weekly tutoring, parents can spend less time worrying about school performance and more time connecting with kids.
Not only does tutoring boost grades and save time at home, it builds confidence. This can affect your child's attitude toward learning and his motivation in school for years to come.
Paying for Tutoring
Many companies allow employees to put up to $5,000 in tax-free Dependent Care Accounts to pay for child care. This money can be applied to tutoring expenses, as well. Ask your employer about its Flexible Spending Account options, and check with your human resources office to see if your company offers other child care subsidies.
On your personal income tax return, you can itemize up to $3,000 per child for child care or tutoring expenses, which can yield up to $600 in tax savings.
Group tutoring is another way to save money. Look for a tutoring center that places no more than two or three students in a group and matches your student with others at her level.
Find a Small Group
iLearn Academy offers affordable small-group tutoring for children as young as kindergarten. To learn more, sign your student up for a short diagnostic test.
As a tutor, a large part of what I do is prepare students for the SAT or ACT, two standardized tests used for college admissions.
Typically, students have a limited amount of time to prepare for these tests. As such, they’re always asking which test they should focus on – the ACT or the SAT.
My answer to them is simple: Unless a student initially performs markedly better on an SAT than an ACT, he or she should prepare for the ACT.
I believe that preparing for the ACT is more helpful than preparing for the SAT because the structure and format of the ACT is more predictable. However, students must decide for themselves based off their test-taking performances and desired colleges. Here are some things to consider as you or your student decides whether to focus on the ACT or SAT:
Take a Practice Test
The first thing any student should do when deciding between the SAT and ACT is take a practice exam for each.
There are many free online and paper practice tests for both the SAT and ACT. Once a student has taken both, she can compare the scale scores for both tests. Scale scores measure aptitude by percentile (the percent of test-takers a student did as well as or better than).
If the scale score for one test is significantly higher than the other, that student should prepare for the test on which they scored the highest. If the scale scores are similar (within 5 percentile points of one another), students should prepare for the ACT.
The most accessible SAT tests can be found here. ACT tests can be found here. Either test can be taken online or printed out.
Why it is Tougher to Prepare for the SAT
Preparing for an SAT is not impossible – it's just harder.
The writers of the SAT, the College Board, reformatted the structure and timing of SAT passages, as well as the way the test is scored, at the end of the '16/'17 school year. Because this change was so recent, there aren't many trusted materials in the new format. The skills being tested have not changed, so students can still confidently prepare for the content of the SAT. However, working on timing and measuring score progress is harder.
In contrast, the ACT has been virtually the same for more than 20 years with no large changes. For example, the ACT recently adjusted the science portion from seven to six passages and added a new type of passage to the reading section. However, the number of questions and the way the test is scored remains the same.
Because the ACT is so consistent, it’s much easier to give students concrete goals. We can look up what scores they will need to get into the colleges of their choice. We can find out exactly how many questions students need to get correct in order to reach that score. We also can find ample materials in the correct format, so students can practice timing and strategy for years before test day, if they wish. All of this precision helps students build confidence.
Other Test Prep Tips
Students should not prepare for both tests at the same time. If a student must take both an ACT and SAT, I suggest working on them in sequence. First prepare for the ACT, then move on to SAT.
The ACT and SAT have very similar content. Once a student has prepared for an ACT, he should know nearly everything that would show up on an SAT. The student will simply have to get used to a different format and timing structure to get ready for an SAT.
Students and tutors should try to use materials that were printed in 2017 or later.
If a student is unsure where he’d like to attend college, it can be tough to decide which test to take. Practice tests are a great way to identify which test plays to a student’s strengths.
The ACT is more straightforward and has more practice material at the ready, so I suggest starting there. Luckily, once a student prepares for the ACT, he will be better prepared to take the SAT, as well, should he decide to.
When in doubt, take both tests. That way, students will be ready to put their best foot forward no matter which test a college prefers.
To increase your score with iLearn Academy's proven ACT and SAT test-prep programs, sign up for a diagnostic pre-test today.
In 1951, legendary radio host Edward R. Murrow launched a series asking listeners to share their most fundamental beliefs about humanity and the world around them.
Dozens of leading cultural, political and literary figures of the 1950s contributed their thoughts to the program, and listeners across the nation tuned in. Although Murrow stated many were skeptical that any meaningful ideas could be articulated in only five minutes on the radio (a concern bowled over by the advent of sound bites and social media), luminaries like Albert Einstein, Helen Keller and Eleanor Roosevelt shared their most personal philosophies and beliefs on the air.
Today, the This I Believe project lives on as an opportunity for students to share their values and opinions while honing their writing skills.
As part of our summer English curriculum, elementary and middle school students will compose and refine essays about their strongest convictions — whether that’s the value of team sports, the importance of equality or the superiority of chocolate ice cream. At the end of their courses, students will submit their pieces to the This I Believe website. Through this project, students will build their persuasive writing skills and develop their unique writing voices.
At iLearn Academy, we believe strong writing skills are important not just for school and work, but for students' personal expression and exploration. We're proud to participate in This I Believe alongside our students.
You can browse personal essays from students across the country on the official This I Believe website. To learn more about iLearn Academy's enriching academic programs, view our curriculum.
Individualized instruction significantly boosts students’ grades, but the effect on their confidence -- and eventually, their identities -- is even more important.
Children develop identities by noticing how they are similar or different from those around them. When a student struggles in school but sees his peers excelling, he often comes to the conclusion: “I’m not smart.” This feeling may stick with him throughout his life and affect his confidence, performance and willingness to try new tasks.
Alternatively, when a student works hard to master a new concept or overcome a learning challenge, that victory remains with him and shapes his identity. He starts to see himself as someone who is resourceful, hardworking and capable: “I am smart.”
It’s no surprise that the right instructor can make a huge difference not only on a student’s grades, but on his or her life.
While many tutoring centers hire college students looking to supplement their incomes, iLearn Academy’s instructors are certified teachers or experts in their given fields. These instructors have extensive experience identifying a student’s needs and delivering tailored instruction.
Think back to your favorite teacher from elementary school. Now imagine getting to sit with him or her for an hour or two every week for small-group or individualized instruction. The combination of outstanding teachers and one-on-one attention can completely transform a student’s attitude toward school and learning.
Each summer, we see young people eager to return to school. They’re excited to walk into the classroom with the confidence to overcome new challenges.
Thank you for giving your child the gift of confidence this summer. We look forward to more victories - large and small - this school year.
Are there classes not currently in our curriculum that would benefit your child? Take our 15-second survey and let us know how we can serve you better.
My sincere gratitude,
Youngah Anderson, Director
Many students look forward to sun-filled summers free from books and homework, but this extended break from learning sets many students back.
The average summer learning loss in math and reading for American students amounts to one month per year, according to a report by the RAND Corporation. The negative effects of summer learning loss show up as early as first grade in some students, and it takes up to two months after school starts for students' brain development to get back on track.
Summer learning loss can have long-term implications, as well. By the end of sixth grade, students who experience summer learning loss are, on average, two years behind their peers.
This learning and achievement gap is daunting. The good news, however, is that summer learning loss is easy to avoid.
While summer provides a break from learning in a traditional school environment, it offers countless opportunities for students to grow academically outside the classroom. From pursuing their particular interests to exploring brand new subjects, summer gives students time to build knowledge in fun, stimulating ways.
Looking for strategies to combat learning loss while keeping your child's summer fun? Here are five easy ways to weave some learning into those carefree summer days:
1. Add the Library to Your Weekly Routine
Reading is the best way for students to keep their brains sharp during summer break. Reading promotes brain development, teaches vocabulary and comprehension, builds empathy and opens students' minds to worlds outside their own.
Visit the library each week so your student can pick out a new book. If she's a reluctant reader, try creating a simple incentive program to get her started: When she finishes five books, she gets a small prize. If she can finish 20, she earns an ice cream date with the whole family. Sometimes, her own library card is all the incentive a student needs!
2. Learn from Household Projects
Learning doesn't have to involve writing assignments and problem sets. Much of learning is simply developing the ability to think critically and solve problems. What better practice than to complete a project as a family?
This could be as simple as baking a cake, assembling a bicycle or building a birdhouse. Walk through the directions together, and let your student guess what step comes next -- or write out all the steps beforehand and let him guess the correct order.
This list of 15 kid-friendly household projects can get you started.
3. Visit a Cultural or Historical Site
A visit to a local cultural or historical site presents many opportunities to learn. Together, read any signage providing background about the site, and talk about what it might have been like to live during that time period. What would be different? What would be the same? Talk to your child about why cities, states and nations choose to preserve historical sites, and ask for their opinions.
There is a huge collection of excellent historical fiction for children and teens. Do a quick search to find any books related to the site or area you're visiting, then read the book together before or after your trip. The same goes for age-appropriate movies and TV shows.
4. Take a Hike
Nature is a boundless source for summer learning. Students can study types of plants, animal behavior and ecology simply by spending time outdoors. Take some time to learn about the parks and walking trails in your town. Some parks districts even offer guided hikes for children and families.
Here's a list of fun, educational outdoor activities to spark students' curiosity about nature.
5. Invest in a Tutor
Summer tutoring keeps your child's academic skills sharp and her mind engaged. Even one hour weekly with a tutor sets students up for success during the year. One-on-one and small-group tutoring not only boosts grades, it builds confidence and helps students feel comfortable confronting new academic challenges. In short, tutoring can affect a student's attitude toward learning for the rest of his or her life.
Get the most from your investment by finding a tutoring center with certified teachers, personalized lesson plans and a results-focused approach.
With these simple steps, your student will be ready to start the school year strong.
iLearn Academy offers two-day-a-week summer academic programs that help students keep math and reading skills sharp. Browse our summer offerings to find a schedule that works for you.
2. Read Actively: It’s best not to take notes while reading, because that can interrupt the flow of the message. It can also decrease the reader’s comprehension. Sometimes, the main point of a paragraph is not recognized until the entire paragraph is read, so taking notes at the end helps the reader include all of the main elements. Highlight a phrase, or dates, that stand out. A few words are not enough, and entire sentences are too much.
3. Review: When finished reading the ten-page chunk, consider what the section was about. In your own words, write a summary of it. Write down broad connections of the material to things you already knew, or previous readings.
Other tips include reading aloud when something doesn’t seem logical upon the first read. The extra step of speaking the words can sometimes engage thought processes and help clarify the language. Writing notes in your own words encourages additional thought about the reading, which also adds to memory retention. The idea of highlighting and handwriting notes is to include enough material to provide a summary of the entire passage, and the through process of doing that is what increases retention.
For more suggestions on note taking, ask your iLearn Academy instructors today.
Ever wonder if students are missing anything by choosing to read a digital book versus a hard copy version? With the convenience of digital resources at their fingertips, students have access to volumes of literature, almost instantly. In a world where there are so many digital apps that compete for your child’s attention, does quicker access mean more learning and better retention is taking place? According to the research, it’s not. However, there are some clear benefits to using both. Researchers have examined if comprehension is affected by one medium or the other, and you can help your student understand how digital and paper choices affect learning.
Research shows our brains respond differently to onscreen text than words on paper. According to the magazine, The Scientific American: On The Reading Brain in the Digital Age, the benefit of physical print allows the brain to recall text on a certain page as the brain function retains the words in a physical landscape. Similar to walking in a forest, your brain knows how far you have read the book and this spatial awareness leads to better recall on identifying which page you read a particular detail of a passage. Screen reading, on the other hand, “interfere with intuitive navigation of a text and inhibit people from mapping the journey in their minds.”
During class, students are exposed to interactive lessons, and homework options are often available digitally. While a majority of students who participated in the study preferred to read digitally and felt their comprehension was better when they read online, comprehension was measurably better when students read in print.
iLearn Academy offers both print and digital resources to help your students excel in both areas. We assess the student’s ability to comprehend and retain information yet try to maximize all the benefits of learning that the digital world has to offer.
We offer three tips to improving your student’s retention when reading digitally:
For more information on the debate on learning in the digital age read more at:
If you would like to learn more about your students learning style, please contact iLearn Academy today at 847-834-0791.
Parents can take part in active and respectful listening - which simply means tuning in to what students have to say and, at times, to what they are feeling. The best response for parents is empathy, not answers, when teens share their new ideas and feelings. Active listening, repeating back what your student said to you, is a healthy and effective way to clarify meaning. By repeating words back to the speaker, you’re showing you heard him or her and that you acknowledge how he or she is feeling.
The ability to stay calm is critical to keep the communication lines open. Resist the urge to question, judge and criticize when you learn something new about your teen’s interests. Encourage your student to learn as much as possible about new interests or fields of study, and suggest finding out things together. That lets your son and daughter know your support is unconditional.
According to the College Board in 2017, the average debt per graduating student with a 4 year degree from a public school was $27,000. Future graduates are likely to have even a larger debt burden as inflation for college tuition continues to outpace core inflation in the U.S. by nearly 4%. The long term consequence? Graduating with a large amount of student debt can reduce your son or daughter's ability to save for retirement throughout their career by an average $325,000*.
Helping your children pay for the cost of college does not have to be a daunting experience. If you get started early and consider the various sources of financial aid then you can help your student start their career debt free.
1. Think Long-Term College Savings. The earlier you start saving, the better off you'll be. One of the best methods is to combine tax benefits and savings by investing in a 529 Plan. There are two types of plans: Prepaid Tuition Plans and College Savings Plans. You can choose any state sponsored plan, however, if you choose an Illinois plan, you receive an added tax break by deducting part of your contribution from state tax. The primary benefits of a 529 plan are earnings will grow tax free when used for college, ability to transfer funds from one family member to another, and ability to choose your investment in attempts to outpace college inflation. Other savings plans include a Coverdell (Educational IRA) with lower annual contribution limits of $2,000, Custodial Accounts with less tax benefits, and Personal Savings. No matter how you save, careful planning for the long haul is the best way to prepare for the cost of college.
2. Free College Money. If you're looking for someone else to pay for college then knowing the options and understanding the filing deadlines in this highly competitive marketplace will be the keys to your success. Available options include: 1. Federal and State Grants, 2. Scholarships, 3. Service and Work Study Awards, and 4. Tuition Waivers and Allowances. The first step is to consider if you qualify for "needs-based" or "non-needs based" aid. Start by visiting FASFA (Free Application for Student Aid) at fasfa.ed.gov to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), or what the government thinks you can pay for college. Next, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) to be given to the financial aid center at your prospective college. The main source of free money is the needs-based "Pell Grant" followed by the Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG). Next, learn more about Illinois' state grants at www.isbe.net. Scholarships are the next best free source and are usually based on merit or competition. Check with your college and visit sites that do not charge a fee such as fastweb.com, studentaid.ed.gov, fastaid.com, and collegenet.com. There are a lot of scholarship scams on the internet so be careful with the "too good to be true" offers.
3. Alternatives to Loans. Consider alternatives such as deciding which school to attend will keep your costs down. The reality is, unless you are graduating from an Ivy League school, most employers are more interested in your skill sets and less on where you graduated. Consider attending a school close to home to save money on room and board. Also, think about picking a lower cost school and research which classes will transfer to a school of choice then transfer to your ideal school in your senior year. These strategies can save you thousands of dollars. If borrowing is your only option, understand the interest rates and payback options. The best choice for loans is the subsidized needs-based "Perkins" or "Stafford" Loan with lower interest rates than institutional loans.
Learn more about how iLearn Academy can help you save and prepare for college by contacting Mr. Anderson at 847-834-0791. Please be sure and attend our free "Paying for College" workshop at our learning center on March XX, 2018 or call for more information.
*College Board, Trends in Student Aid 2017, read more at: https://trends.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/2017-trends-student-aid_0.pdf
Hello iLearn Academy followers,
This is a friendly reminder that ACT Test Preparation Courses for the April ACT Test are set to begin January 20th. If you are interested in attending this program be sure to register for iLearn Academy's free Mock ACT Test so we know where to begin.
To schedule the Mock Exam or inquire for more details regarding our ACT program call 847 834 0791.
-A pitfall for some parents is to dismiss their child's education to the responsibility of the public or private school teacher. In reality, your attitude and involvement towards your child's academics has a major impact on their overall development and grades. Studies show 90% of all children experience some form of anxiety or depression. By building a strong emotional foundation at home, your son or daughter will be more focused and less anxious on preparing for and taking tests. Consider for a moment your own experience as a child--did one or both of your parents take a personal interest in your education? What was their attitude toward your getting an A or D--were you rewarded or reprimanded? If your child knows they have your full support, no matter the result, their level of stress will be manageable. This guide will identify some effective ways to help your student build confidence, stay focused, and reduce anxiety.
The Five Things You Should Know about Reducing Anxiety
iLearn Academy has a lot of dual-language learners. This article shares that as these students gain English proficiency, they often outperform students who only speak English!
Here is a great story about a middle school student that stood up to bullies. Talk to your parents or teachers if you are being bullied. Never suffer silently. Click the picture below to read the article.
Hi iLearn Academy followers,
Here is a great article about what colleges look for from the applicants.
Results of Study Conducted in Chicago Public Schools Lead Experts to Prescribe More Individualized Tutoring Nationwide
At iLearn Academy, we know the impact a tutor can have on a student's academics and future opportunities. Study after study confirm the benefits of tutors and we see these benefits every day in iLearn Academy classrooms. Since our inception, iLearn Academy has sought to bring our small class, and progress based personal approach to tutoring to as many students as possible at as low a cost as possible. Though we strive to make our type of tutoring accessible we are often limited by the practicalities of having to keep the doors open all the while compensating our highly qualified teachers. A new education policy proposal may change that for charitable tutoring centers like ours, by making it conceivable to bring iLearn Academy type tutoring sessions into public schools across the nation at no extra cost to school districts.
The Hamilton Project
We were pleased but not surprised to hear about a recent national education policy proposal made by the Hamilton Project (an economic policy initiative at the Brookings Institute) which calls for public schools to adopt an approach to teaching that is foundational to how iLearn Academy operates. The new policy calls to dramatically ramp up the use of in-school math tutors in addition to regular classes to help students perform at higher levels with existing school funds. This policy was announced by the Hamilton Project following a two year study in the Chicago Public Schools which showed dramatic increases in math understanding through multiple means of assessment on ninth and tenth grade underperforming students. The proposal brought forth in the Hamilton Project, "Improving Academic Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students: Scaling Up Individualized Tutorials" (Ander, Guryan, and Ludwig) calls for public schools to provide its underperforming students with targeted sessions multiple times per week in a small group setting by a tutor well-versed in secondary mathematics with frequent assessments to monitor growth. This approach has long worked for iLearn Academy students and it has now been proven to work for students in the Chicago Public Schools as well.
The Hamilton Project Results: Improved Grades
The Hamilton Project uses the data gathered from a 2013-14 study they conducted to support to their claims that individualized tutoring for math leads to big results. During the study Chicago Public Schools welcomed Match/SAGA (non-profit tutoring organizations) tutors into 12 high schools for one year. The results were impressive: after one year of being tutored in a two to one student to tutor ratio for 50 minutes a day, ninth and tenth grade CPS students who participated in the tutorials saw an average "increase of 0.58" to their math GPA on a 4 point scale, moved from the "34th percentile to the 42nd percentile" in math standardized tests (Plan/Pre-ACT), and "learned one to two extra years of math, over and above what the typical American high school student learns in one year", (p 11. Ander, Guryan, and Ludwig). These results, however, are nothing new. We've long known that tutoring in a small group setting helps students immensely. You'd be hard pressed to find any studies since the 70s that don't reaffirm that. What's new here is being able to provide personalized tutoring to students with no additional expenses to school districts.
Results Show Benefits of Tutoring Go Beyond Education:
1. Reduced Crime Rates
The Hamilton Project lists in "Improving Academic Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students" many future economic benefits, from individual earnings to reductions in crime for having a tutoring safety-net in place for students at risk of failing out of school. The proposal found that the benefits could be "1.3 to 2.9 times as large as the cost" (Ander, 11). The possible social and monetary benefits are wild especially considering that we can get them through funds already available. Due to the reauthorization of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015 school districts can now allocate Title 1 funding to reputable non-profit tutoring services. Chicago Public Schools was able to pay for all Match/SAGA tutorials for '14/'15 and 15'/16' school years all with government stipends through Title 1. Title 1 paid all totaled $2.9 million to provide these tutoring services for 12 high schools one year and 20 high schools the next year.
2. Lower Educational Costs
The Hamilton Project states that the average cost per student to CPS for a year of tutoring was $3,800. If this system was scaled up nationally they predict costs could be cut down to $2,500/yr about 2/3 of the original cost. There were $14 billion (Ander, 12) of Title 1 funding made available to districts nationwide in 2014, and hundreds of millions of dollars each year to large districts like CPS. These cost for tutoring would be 3-4% of Title 1 funds already allocated to schools.
3. Personalized Student Attention
The Hamilton Project has prescribed for the nation essentially what we prescribe for every student who comes through our doors: devoted, personalized, attention in a very small group setting by a tutor who is highly knowledgeable in math. The Match/SAGA Tutorial Experiment done in Chicago Public School proves once again that regular sessions with a small student to tutor ratio are undeniably helpful for students who are behind. They further provide a way schools can get these services at no extra cost to themselves. This would be a practical way to get tutors into public schools where they can have the most impact. iLearn Academy strongly believes in the power of personalized tutoring. We would love to see services like these and ours reach a wider audience and will be covering the progress of this proposal closely.
To read more about the proposal please follow the links below.
There’s no substitute for a comprehensive review of Standard Written English, but as I’ve taught English over the past several years I have found that there are a handful of skills that nearly all of my students require help relearning. I present here my attempt to hash some of these skills out, and I’ve happily narrowed it down to five. But, before getting to the good stuff, why not a quick skills check? Answers are listed right afterwards; no peeking!
1. Despite bankruptcy rumors the staff at the marketing firm continued showing up for work.
A. NO CHANGE
B. bankruptcy rumors; the staff
C. bankruptcy rumors – the staff
D. bankruptcy rumors, the staff
2. Joselyn unexpectedly decided to see the new horror film. Everyone knows they hate scary movies!
A. NO CHANGE
B. they all hate
C. she hates
D. I hate
3. Not one of the many colorful machines with flashing lights were a pinball machine.
A. NO CHANGE
B. were an actual
C. would have been an actual
D. was a
4. As a six year-old girl, Jane would sit by the window for hours, wishing and hoping for the rain to stop
A. NO CHANGE
C. Wishing and yearning
D. Wishing and hoping without end
5. After moving to Colorado, Zack decided to hike, go fishing, and skis.
A. NO CHANGE
B. to hike, fish, and ski.
C. to go hiking, fish, and ski.
D. hiking, fishing, and skiing.
Answer Key: 1. D, 2. C, 3. D, 4. B, 5. B
How well did you score? Each of these problems highlight a specific English language skill, and it’s absolutely worth discussing each of these skills more in depth.
In Standard Written English there are dozens of rules governing punctuation marks. Sometimes the only difference between two answer choices is the placement of a single apostrophe; while it can be tricky, mastery of these straightforward rules means you will always get these questions correct and inevitably improve your score!
Let’s look at the example from before:
Despite bankruptcy rumors the staff at the marketing firm continued showing up for work.
The underlined portion screams of a punctuation error! Standard Written English tells us that a comma should always be placed after the introductory element of a sentence, in this case “Despite bankruptcy rumors...” Consider our answer choices again:
A. NO CHANGE
B. bankruptcy rumors; the staff
C. bankruptcy rumors – the staff
D. bankruptcy rumors, the staff
A student well-versed in punctuation rules would arrive at choice D. Even if this student were not entirely confident in their answer, they would easily be able to eliminate the other answer choices. Choice A leaves the sentence without a needed break, choice B incorrectly uses a semicolon, and choice C incorrectly uses a dash.
Parts of Speech: Pronouns
Understanding the role of different elements of English speech – verbs, pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions, interjections – is crucial! Oftentimes, students with experience writing are able to compose sentences and paragraphs without serious consideration of their parts of speech. That is because as students mature as English-speakers, they develop a natural “flow” and work quickly to put their thoughts together. Here is our example from above:
Joselyn unexpectedly decided to see the new horror film. Everyone knows they hate scary movies!
The pronoun “they” and the verb “hate” are underlined. Many students might read this sentence and think no error exists here, but the rules governing pronoun cases are very clear. “They” is a plural pronoun, but what is “they” intended to replace? It is intended to replace to proper noun Joselyn, but Joselyn is a singular feminine noun, and so the singular feminine pronoun “she” is the only acceptable pronoun to use here…
A. NO CHANGE
B. they all hate
C. she hates
D. I hate
… so we know that C would be the only acceptable answer. (Note too that the verb “hate” must be changed to accommodate the newly singular pronoun.)
Parts of Speech: Verbs
Verb forms require a similar level of meticulousness. The key to successfully addressing both pronoun and verb errors is to identify the subject of the sentence. Here’s the example again:
Not one of the many colorful machines with flashing lights were a pinball machine.
A. NO CHANGE
B. were an actual
C. would have been an actual
D. was a
This shows perfectly why you should always identify the true subject! The verb “were” (past-tense of the verb “to be”) is in plural form, and here lies the error. The descriptors “many colorful machines” and “flashing lights” mislead us towards the plural verb, but we actually need to go further back to identify the true subject, “Not one,” which is a singular subject.
Because our subject is singular, we need to verb form to be singular. This is why we should arrive at answer choice D. Notice, if we took out all of our extra descriptors, our subject-predicate would read “Not one was a pinball machine.” which is perfectly acceptable. Answer choice C uses the correct verb form but is needlessly wordy. Speaking of wordiness…
Wordiness and Redundancy
Less is more! Standard Written English is clear and concise, meaning ideas are presented as clearly as possible and in as few words as possible. Good writing always includes appropriate details and imagery, but filling a text with unnecessary words results in clunky and awkward-sounding sentences where the main point becomes lost. Even if an answer choice is technically correct, it can still be an incorrect answer choice on the grounds of wordiness or redundancy.
As a six year-old girl, Jane would sit by the window for hours, wishing and hoping for the rain to stop
A. NO CHANGE
C. Wishing and yearning
D. Wishing and hoping without end
Underlined here is an example of a redundancy error. “Wishing” and “hoping” have nearly identical meanings in this context, and so to use both words makes the sentence needlessly wordier.
Ideally you would arrive at answer choice B. Not only is it the clearest and most concise answer choice, but all of the other answer choices here add unnecessary words, answer choice D being the worst culprit.
It’s okay to let your eyes gravitate towards the answer choices with the fewest words; as long as no crucial or unique details are being left out, these often turn out to be the correct choice!
Elements in a series, or list, must match in tense/form. Not sure what that means? See if you can spot the parallelism error here, in our example from above:
After moving to Colorado, Zack decided to hike, go fishing, and skis.
This sentence has a series with three elements: “to hike,” “go fishing,” and “skis.” There are three verbs, but they are all in different forms.
To hike: infinite verb form
Go fishing: present-perfect verb tense
Skis: basic present tense
Standard Written English dictates these three elements must match, and so we would choose an answer choice that provides three matching elements.
A. NO CHANGE
B. to hike, fish, and ski.
C. to go hiking, fish, and ski.
D. hiking, fishing, and skiing.
Answer choice B provides us with three verbs, in infinite form, that match. It’s important to note that articles (a/an/the) and elements such as “to” must match a certain way as well. Either they must be placed before each specific element, or listed only before the first one. So, our correct answer choice also could have been written as “to hike, to fish, and to ski.”
Also, while answer choice D provides us with three verbs in present-perfect tense, but that tense does not match the way the rest of the preceding sentence is written.
Self-teaching is easier than ever before, but there is no replacement for an experienced teacher who is driven to help you achieve your goals. I would highly recommend enrolling in a tutoring program today to help prepare you for your next standardized test. As you plan for your future, keep in mind that that universities continue to use standardized test scores to quickly differentiate between thousands of applicants. If you hope to be a competitive college applicant, it is never too early to begin preparing yourself!
iLearn Academy ACT Instructor
Our goal is to help students succeed in academics now and in the future. We believe students should not rely solely on Digits to build a strong math foundation. It appears many students spend time guessing the right answer instead of learning how to solve math. We feel your student's math skills will significantly improve if math concepts are introduced by a qualified math teacher then reinforced through practice with online programs like Digits or even by solving problems step-by-step using the good ol' fashioned way--pencil and paper.
iLearn Academy Followers:
My name is John Campbell. I am a manager, here, at iLearn Academy. I am writing to let you all know about a program we launched last spring called Guided Test Prep! Guided Test Prep was put together to offer students a convenient, low stress way to start preparing for standardized tests such as the PSATs or Terra Novas. Students who participated last year gave a lot of positive feedback, and said it was a very helpful to them. I wanted to take a moment to make sure that all iLearn Academy followers knew Guided Test Prep is available for you as well!
What it is...
Guided Test Prep was put in place to help 7th-11th grade students to prepare for standardized tests. We are offering Guided Test Prep for Math and Guided Test Prep for Reading Comprehension/English.
During Guided Test Prep students will:
- review math, and reading/English skills and concepts in an organized sequence
- learn to cope with being tested over many different skills at once
- develop strategies for reading and retaining longer passages
- practice timing and pacing
- learn to take advantage of multiple choice questions
- be made aware of common question phrasing or common traps in word problems
- receive frequent, timely feedback to measure progress on an ongoing basis
- get the repetition needed to master test taking skills
Why we made it...
Standardized tests are becoming a larger and larger part of a student's academic career. There are MAP tests, Terra Nova, PARCC, SSAT, ISEE, PSAT, PreACT, PSAT, ACT and SAT. Just too name a few!
I, and other iLearn Academy teachers, found ourselves being asked by parents and students alike to prepare them for standardized tests during our regular iLearn Academy sessions. We're happy to do that, but there are so many concepts to review for any standardized test, and students need a good amount practice to retain them. We always felt crunched for time to try and prepare students for standardized test and simultaneously help them prepare for their regular school work.
So, we put together Guided Test Prep for students to have a time and place which is devoted only to test preparation, where students could get the practice needed to master test taking concepts and skills.
Who it's for...
This program is for all students 7th-11th grade. However, it's most important to me that 8th graders and 10th graders participate, because these students have the most important upcoming tests to prepare for. 8th graders have high school placement and or admittance tests to prepare for (NWEA, Terra Nova, etc) , and 10th graders have college admittance exams (ACT, SAT, PSAT) looming on the horizon.
8th and 10th grade students who join Guided Test Prep now, will have ample time to prepare for these tests in a structured, low stress way.
Guided Test Prep is only $75/mo per subject for any student enrolled in concurrent iLearn Academy classes!
Please contact us at (847) 834 -0791 or contact us via or contact page if you are interested. To begin students will need to schedule a placement exam to determine starting levels for Guided Test Prep for math and/or Guided Test Prep for reading comprehension/English.
Thank you for your time. I hope to hear from you,
With the shift to the SAT as the official Illinois State Standardized Test, many students and parents are left wondering which college-readiness exam to prepare for as they near the end of their high school track.
ACT or SAT?
Choosing the right test largely depends on the strengths of the students themselves, as each test caters to certain skill sets.
iLearn Academy offers these helpful tips for making this big decision.
Play to your strengths
The SAT completely does away with the Science portion in its layout. While it may cover less material overall, SAT math includes Data Analysis on top of Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry and the SAT Reading portion contains one more passage than does the ACT. The writing is optional on both tests.
Speak with your iLearn Academy teacher
Taking time to sit down with your iLearn Academy teacher – who knows very well your particular strong areas – will help you make an informed decision that will leave you confident in your choice.
With all the nice weather and long summer days, the inevitable return to a school routine falls easily to the back of the mind.
For parents and students alike, this usually means the beginning of the fall semester is characterized by a sense of unpreparedness. The PSAT is a two-hour test administered in October, giving students very little time to readjust to the early morning hours and homework grooves, much less adequately prepare for this crucial juncture in a high schooler’s four year stint.
Many people focus on the ‘P’ in PSAT (which stands for practice) and thus view the test as merely a trial run leading up to the more important SAT, but here are three reasons the PSAT is more than just an exercise in standardized testing:
3. Both sophomore and junior high schoolers take the PSAT, but all PSAT scores from juniors are automatically considered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation – a program which awards finalists a variety of corporate- and college-sponsored scholarships that help reduce the cost of college.