Does Tutoring Improve Grades?

Regular tutoring sessions can help students improve their grades in myriad ways. Many students receive occasional homework assistance or one-on-one tutoring, but few build it into their weekly schedule and are regularly tutored.

Effective tutoring is more than just homework help. The best tutors can guide their students by learning new information to develop problem-solving and thinking skills to succeed independent of tutoring.

Tutoring has been shown to impact homework and testing grades significantly. Still, it also can provide students with intangible benefits, such as a strong work ethic, a better attitude toward challenging subjects and reduced testing anxiety.


How Tutoring Can Help Students Improve Their Grades And Performance In School

Coordinating Lessons With The School Curriculum

One of the main advantages of having private tutoring is getting the opportunity to learn more than the standard course load. With private instruction, students can move ahead in the syllabus and begin working on concepts before the rest of their class does. Getting ahead of the syllabus better prepares students to comprehend difficult concepts when they come up. In addition, it will give students an advantage on exams and make it easier to keep up with their peers.

For students who aren't ready to jump ahead in coursework, tutoring allows them to work through concepts they are struggling with and can help reinforce those they feel confident in.

Coordinating tutoring sessions with the school curriculum has been shown to help at-risk students learn and retain concepts. In addition, students who tend to fall behind in class will often benefit from the focused guidance that they get in tutoring sessions.

Practising Effective Study Habits

Tutors help students with learning material and can help students build effective study habits. 

"The dictionary defines a tutor as a person who gives an individual, or in some cases a small group, instruction. However, I am not satisfied with the definition," Halina Goetz, assistant professor of mathematics at Chapman University, wrote in a blog post. "I would add that the purpose of tutoring is to help students help themselves, and to assist or guide them to the point at which they become independent learners, and thus no longer need a tutor."

In other words, a strong tutor will be able to provide their students with individualised attention and strong study habits and comprehension skills that can help students keep up with coursework and material even after they stop taking tutoring.

"Tutoring offers a systematic, structured learning experience in a more individualised way," she added. "It also improves the tutee's self-esteem, attitude toward subject matter, and academic performance as well as personal growth. In addition to that, tutoring is a self-paced and self-directed learning process."

There is some evidence that self-discipline — not advanced course material or tutoring — is the most important factor in education. However, a good tutor will teach students practice and develop skills related to self-discipline and work ethic. These skills can have an enduring effect on a student's education and even post-educational success.

Learning One-On-One

The main advantage of receiving tutoring is the opportunity to work one-on-one with their instructor consistently. Individualised instruction allows students to hone in on areas of strength and weakness across subjects. Experienced tutors know how to work with various learners and adapt their teaching styles accordingly. It allows students to learn at a comfortable pace and spend additional time on areas they struggle.

Various studies have shown that class sizes can raise student test scores and even improve student outcomes down the line. Even group tutoring can help students develop strong skills. In small groups and one-on-one sessions, the focused attention that a tutor can provide has its advantages.

Learning From Peers

Research-based tutoring methods are particularly effective for helping students' grades and test scores, and tutoring by teachers and teaching assistants provides students with the most benefit. However, while volunteer tutoring is less effective, primarily because volunteer programs face difficulties in having volunteers every day, not all students have direct access to trained tutors

Fortunately, peer tutoring, in which students serve as tutors for other students, has positively impacted students of all ages. 

Assisting With Homework

Helping with homework should never be the sole job of a tutor. Goetz noted that in conversations with students who have received tutoring, she found that "many, too many, parents and students equate a tutor with a 'homework machine.'"

It is true that tutoring too often consists purely of homework help. However, assistance with homework can benefit many students who don't receive assistance with homework from parents, siblings, or peers. Students who don't receive help at home may struggle compared to peers who receive guidance on their homework.

Getting some extra help with homework can instantly help students boost their grades. However, tutors should do more than walk their tutees, step-by-step, through problems. Rather, students should expect their tutors to help them work through challenging concepts and teach them critical thinking and problem-solving skills to help them work through problems independently.

Learning Test-Taking Strategies

One of the most tangible ways tutors can help their students improve their grades is by teaching them test-taking techniques and strategies. 

Knowledge and mastery of test-taking and problem-solving strategies positively correlate with performance on exams and reduction in test anxiety. Conversely, students with less working knowledge of test-taking strategies tend to have worse grades and more test anxiety.

Learning viable strategies can help improve students' grades, improve their confidence on exams and help them understand how to work through unfamiliar material.

Improving Attitude And Perception Of School

In addition to the educational benefits of tutoring, there is evidence that direct tutoring can help improve students' attitudes toward the subject matter they cover. The best tutors help their tutees develop a sense of confidence and comfort with academics. 

Tutors can teach their students effective procedural learning skills. In other words, a good tutor will show their tutees how to teach themselves. In addition, seeking out information, research, and working through difficult concepts independently are valuable educational and life skills.

FAQs About Tutoring

They found that tutoring has been reported to increase grades and scores for eight out of 10 students while raising test scores by up to 12 percentage points! So, for college students, taking advantage of your school's tutoring services is an easy (and often free!) way to improve academic areas you may be struggling in.

Tutoring can also improve self-confidence, motivation for reading, and behaviour, both among tutees and peer or cross-age tutors. In addition, when tutoring is coordinated with good classroom reading practises, students perform better than tutoring unrelated to classroom instruction.

Tutors help students build academic skills and assist them in areas they struggle in whilst preparing them with improved work and study skills. The extra layer of preparedness and confidence students gain through tutoring will increase their overall academic achievement.

Tutors don't just help students with their current classes — they teach the skills needed to succeed in any academic environment. For example, students who work with tutors develop stronger time management and study skills. In addition, they understand their learning style and how to capitalise on their strengths.

Tutoring can help strengthen subject comprehension, boost confidence, and build important learning skills. Tutoring gives students individualised attention that they don't get in a crowded classroom. As a result, it helps children who struggle to keep up and those who aren't challenged enough. Students heading off to college will learn how to create study plans, develop advanced study skills, and learn superior time management skills. There are numerous benefits of tutoring in college, including reinforcement of existing knowledge and a better understanding of a field of study.

Does Traditional Private Tutoring Help Students?

On Average, Traditional Tutoring Does Not Show Significant Results

The first point on our list may come as a shocker. However, several studies performed in the United States have concluded that traditional tutoring on average does not help students to the extent that we think. It does not result in significant growth or gains.

Does that mean that you should give up on the idea of private tutoring for good? Unfortunately, no. While average results show ineffectiveness, this does not mean that all private tutoring is ineffective.

Research shows that there are factors that, if taken into consideration, can indeed yield superior results.

A private tutor can become a very important person in a child's life. Nonetheless, data shows that you can't just choose any private tutor or the cheapest one you have available. You need to select a private tutor or an institution providing private tutoring services carefully, or you indeed risk wasting your time and money.

Let's look at more findings to see how you can make the best decision.

Research-Based Tutoring Produces Improved Results

A variety of studies have concluded that tutoring programs that incorporate research-based elements produce improved results. What does that mean?

Many teachers follow the most popular and widespread teaching method is, the direct teaching approach. Teachers present a new rule or a new concept after which practice happens.

Despite being popular, this method isn't the most effective. That's because, during it, students remain passive. Instead, they need to listen and replicate.

Teaching methods that involve research and discovery produce much more effective results. It is due to students being actively involved in figuring out why and how something works. It develops critical thinking, which can boost academic performance and help in the work environment in the future.

Research-based methods are also more entertaining and engaging for students and increase their intrinsic motivation. However, they also require more preparation on the teacher's or tutor's part, so not all teachers utilise them.

Allowing Ample Information Processing Time Improves Tutoring Results

Students must first establish a solid foundation to advance in any given subject. Failing to do so can result in falling behind in the future.

Students have different learning styles and speeds in the general large classroom setting. Therefore they do not process and assimilate information at the same rate. Some students will do so faster; others will not fully do it by the time the class moves on to a new topic.

Studies show that allowing ample time to process and assimilate information yields more significant results. How long each student needs will vary. Therefore, the tutor must get to know their tutee and their learning style and needs for this to occur.

Positive Student –Tutor Relationship Can Improve Private Tutoring Results

Another important factor for private tutoring to be successful is a positive relationship between the tutor and student. It means that whether your child gets along with their tutor matters.

A study has shown that private tutoring can help students if they understand their students' family situation and life circumstances. Students have also shown improved results if they can relate to their teacher.

It also means that working with the same tutor long-term is also beneficial for improved results. Remember that this only refers to tutors who help your child and with whom your child has a good relationship. Don't hesitate to change if your child complains about the tutor or you do not see any improvement.

Private Tutoring Can Boost Self Confidence

Research shows that traditional tutoring can help students boost their self-confidence levels. While this may not help your child get better grades right away, it can be extremely beneficial long term.

A self-confident student is more likely to participate, answer questions, and be less afraid of making mistakes. These are all essential not only for optimal learning but work environment in the future.

Coordinating Tutoring With School Curriculum Improves Results

Studies have shown that tutors who coordinate private tutoring sessions with the curriculum taught at school help students more than teaching unrelated topics.

It doesn't mean that tutors need to teach what's been taught at school. Instead, they can provide additional, hands-on practice that helps reinforce school material and make it more applicable and relatable.

Tutors Who Continuously Develop Perform Better

Students are not the only ones who should keep learning. Research proves that tutors who continuously learn and improve help students achieve better results.

It is important because education and the subjects taught are continuously evolving. Therefore, private tutors are more equipped to stay up-to-date with the most effective teaching methods and industry developments.

Frequent Private Tutoring Sessions Result In Better Gains

A private tutor's availability should be an important determining factor in whether you should select them. You may hire the best tutor in the world, but if they are only available once every two weeks, results may suffer.

A study concluded that frequent traditional tutoring sessions produce better results even if they are shorter. In addition to that, the study evaluated tutoring sessions of different duration (from 10-60 minutes), and longer sessions did not necessarily yield more successful results. It was their frequency that mattered more.

Cheap Tutoring Alternatives Do Not Yield Effective Results

Nowadays, anything can be found on the Internet, including online traditional tutoring options from other corners of the globe. If you have considered those, you may want to drop your searches.

A study performed in the UK showed that distance tutoring with affordable instructors from India and Sri Lanka showed barely any improvement.

Traditional Tutoring Can Help Students, But

While many parents automatically assume that traditional tutoring will help students, it is not always the case. Therefore, it is important to select a tutor carefully, or you may end up wasting your time and money.

Make sure to choose a skilled and experienced professional who continuously improves themselves, gets along with your child, takes their individual needs into account, offers creative hands-on practice, and is available for frequent private tutoring sessions.


Untutored Vs. Tutored

The average tutoring gain for students at risk for reading failure was equivalent to moving from the 50th percentile to the 65th percentile.

Human tutoring can result in classroom scores that are 35% higher than software-driven tutoring—Maths tutoring [has improved] final scores by four to six percentage points. Tutoring has been reported to boost test scores by 12 percentage points. Tutoring has been reported to increase [the] grades and [test] scores for eight out of 10 students. Tutored students outperform non-tutored students in 45 out of 52 studies, a rate of nearly 90%.

Tutored students had higher pass rates on average than non-tutored students in every class examined—15.5% in anatomy, 15.4% in biology, 16.3% in business, 16.9% in chemistry, 31.9% in communications, 13.7% in English, and 9.3% in English as a Second Language.

Tutoring has improved high school exit examination scores by 11–12 percentage points. In addition, a study shows 82% of tutored college students re-enrol from the fall to spring semesters versus an institutional average of only 70%—a difference of nearly one-fifth!


Tutoring can have various benefits for students who fall behind in class, want to improve their grades, or would like to reinforce their knowledge with test-taking skills. More than just homework help, effective tutoring can help students develop habits and critical thinking capabilities that will last a lifetime.

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