March 31, 2013

School board nixes same school teacher tutoring

Editor’s Note:

This controversy has been brewing for months. The Crossroads of Learning Journal curated an article on 2/16/13, concerning a hearing in December of 2012 which resulted in the teacher’s union taking a position on school teacher tutoring being appropriate. [ Click here to read previous article.]

The following story was written by Dan Glaun, The Island Now, originally published on 3/14/13

The Great Neck Public School Board banned private tutoring between teachers and students within their buildings at Monday night’s meeting, capping months of debate between advocates concerned about potential conflicts of interest and opponents who said the change would harm students. Trustee and policy committee chair Susan Healy acknowledged in a statement the concerns of parents who use private tutors but argued that the change was necessary to guard against the appearance of favoritism or unfairness.

“The prohibition on tutoring students in one’s own building is directly related to the appearance of a conflict of interest,” Healy said. “We do not do so because there are inappropriate situations. We do it so that those situations cannot occur.”

The policy, which was approved unanimously following the fourth public hearing on the topic since September, expands the district’s tutoring restrictions from teachers and students within the same class to those within the same building. The board and several administrators and teachers who testified in favor of the change said the move was necessary to avoid placing teachers in compromising situations, creating the perception of unfairness and corrupting the teacher-parent relationship with money.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Commercial Providers,Government,High School,Small Private Practices,Test Prep,Tutoring Practices

March 28, 2013

Petition against machine scoring of high-stake tests

By Nalini Lasiewicz, BOL, Registrar, Crossroads of Learning

One thing we know about university writing center administrators, they like to write.  They write well, thoughtfully and often.

Earlier this year a discussion on protesting the trend towards machine scoring of essays drew significant interest among members of the WPA-L Listserv, an international e-mail discussion group intended primarily for professionals in writing program administration at universities, colleges and community colleges.  Their postings quickly moved from the theoretical to a call to action, generating hundreds of posts and perspectives.  Within a few weeks, members of the list collaborated on, and launched, an online petition against machine scoring of high-stake tests.

The “Human Readers” petition and website delivers an urgent appeal to all stakeholders to temper the rush in implementing this still controversial technology.  They urge policy makers to remain committed to the use of human readers in evaluating and critiquing student essays.  They are also asking their own institutions to stop buying or accepting machine scoring of essays until the process is proven to be “valid, equitable, and worth stakeholders’ money.”  (http://humanreaders.org)

Evolving since the early 1960s, education and technology companies have developed software and data base management systems to support the collection of student data, including the delivery and grading of high stake products such as the SAT.  In recent years, and with both public and commercial funding, an economic engine has exploded in the education field, with technology and service providers playing a major role.


Click here to read more.

Filed under: Pedagogy,Study Tools,Technology,Training/Education

March 24, 2013

Parents Complain About School Ad Excluding Whites From Tutoring Program

Originally published 2/13/13 on the CBS4 Denver Website

A school principal said no white children were allowed at an after-school tutoring program, and now some parents call it discrimination.

The principal at Mission Viejo Elementary in Aurora sent a letter telling parents the program is only for students of color. Parents CBS4 talked with said they were shocked to see, in this day and age, what they consider to be segregation. “I was infuriated. I didn’t understand why they would include or exclude certain groups,” said parent Nicole Cox, who is white.

Cox’s 10-year-old daughter needs tutoring. After receiving the notice, other parents complained to the school’s principal, Andre Pearson. “We have come so far in all of these years to show everybody that everyone is equal, that everyone should be treated equally … this is a form of bullying,” Cox said.

Before Cox could complain to the school, Pearson contacted her directly. His voicemail only seemed to reinforce the segregated tutoring idea. “This is Andre Pearson. It’s focused for and designed for children of color, but certainly, if we have space for other kids who have needs, we can definitely meet those needs,” Pearson told Cox in the voicemail.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Government,K-8,NCLB

March 17, 2013

New sites help students find subject tutors

By Ariana Assaf, Daily Staff Reporter, The Michigan Daily

Wouldn’t it be nice to get a tricky homework question answered in the middle of the night or find a tutor who your friends have already used and recommend? Two new companies targeting students — one started by a University student — are working to do just that.

LSA sophomore Ryan Gottfried is helping students find tutors with his new website, TutorScoop. TutorScoop is an academic social networking site that connects students at the University with tutors who are trained in a range of subjects. Gottfried launched the website in beta form on Jan. 17, but developed it for about a year prior to its release.

TutorScoop aims to simplify the process for students to find tutors. There are currently more than 75 tutors and 300 students signed up, and these numbers continue to rise, Gottfried said.
“Thousands of UM students seek out tutors each year, and TutorScoop is here to finally make that process easier,” Gottfried said. The site not only enables tutors to find students online, but it also gives them the ability to build up their businesses and brand themselves. Bookings and payments are both done online.

TutorScoop empowers its student base by allowing customers to review their tutors and give recommendations to their peers. A student who finds a tutor with good reviews and a schedule that suits his or hers can book an appointment instantly. “We are quite literally a service for students, by students,” Gottfried said. Gottfried hopes to expand his program to other colleges in the fall and eventually add a video chat feature. A rewards program is also in the works. The hope is that students who are very active on TutorScoop can also earn benefits from local businesses.

InstaEDU, another paid tutor service founded by Alison Johnston, Dan Johnston and Joey Shurtleff, has a similar mission of helping both high school and college students find a tutor.

To read more click here.

Filed under: Peer-Tutoring

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