Math tutoring for low-achieving students

Ronnie Karsenty has written an article entitled Nonprofessional mathematics tutoring for low-achieving students in secondary schools: A case study. This article was published online in Educational Studies in Mathematics last week. The project that is reported in the article is part of a larger project (SHLAV – Hebrew acronym for Improving Mathematics Learning). The research questions in the study are:

  1. Will nonprofessional tutoring be effective, in terms of improving students’ achievements in mathematics, and if so, to what extent?
  2. Which factors will be identified by tutors as having the greatest impact on the success or failure of tutoring?

Here is the abstract of the article:

This article discusses the possibility of using nonprofessional tutoring as means for advancing low achievers in secondary school mathematics. In comparison with professional, paraprofessional, and peer tutoring, nonprofessional tutoring may seem less beneficial and, at first glance, inadequate. The described case study shows that nonprofessional tutors may contribute to students’ understanding and achievements, and thus, they can serve as an important assisting resource for mathematics teachers, especially in disadvantaged communities. In the study, young adults volunteered to tutor low-achieving students in an urban secondary school. Results showed a considerable mean gain in students’ grades. It is suggested that affective factors, as well as the instruction given to tutors by a specialized counselor, have played a major role in maintaining successful tutoring.

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