Our Learning Partners Share How iTutor Services Support Their GEAR UP Efforts

Heather Di Beneditto

See what our GEAR UP learning partners have to say about how iTutor supports student achievement and improves student performance across multiple subjects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kristin Seay, Midlands GEAR UP Project Director

Why did you choose iTutor?

We were looking for a new and effective way of doing instructional business that would meet the needs of all students – from at risk to AP/IB/Honors.

How did you use it?

We’ve used iTutor for numerous subjects at points before, during, and after the school day. Additionally, we utilized iTutor for ACT and SAT test preparation.  This summer, we are using iTutor to frontload content for the upcoming school year.

We’ve done some pre- and post-testing, but given the variety of subjects and contexts we’ve used iTutor for, gathering comprehensive efficacy data hasn’t been practical. We did, however, survey students and teachers on whether they thought iTutor made a positive difference, and both groups responded to all questions with greater than an 80% approval rating.

What do you like most about it?

What I appreciate most about iTutor is the flexibility. If you ask teachers (students too) what their biggest problem is, they’ll likely answer a lack of time. With iTutor, we’re able to use time more efficiently. We’re not locked into the traditional after-school tutoring window, which becomes increasingly important as students get older and their responsibilities and time demands change. For instance, we have students who do their tutoring sessions in the early evening, after sports or work. iTutor does a great job of accommodating schedules, and doing so in a way that makes sense. When students log on, they don’t just get the first tutor in the queue, they get the same tutor they’ve been working with all term, so there’s the opportunity for a true mentoring relationship.

Additionally, iTutor expands our instructional capacity during the class period. Instead of having only one English teacher trying to individual coaching for an entire class on writing assignments, we utilize iTutor to deepen our impact. And there are times when hearing a concept explained a second time in a different way, in a different voice, can suddenly make it “click.”

What would you like to share with other programs considering iTutor?

Whatever your instructional needs, iTutor can meet them. The subject doesn’t matter, the time doesn’t matter, iTutor will find the right teachers for your students to deliver consistent, high-quality of instruction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtney Moody, College Support Specialist- GEAR UP Coordinator Richland Northeast High School

Why did you choose iTutor?

We chose iTutor after hearing from neighboring Lauren County on how helpful it was for their students. We wanted to offer tutoring to our English-language Learner (ELL) students, and the fact that iTutor could provide bilingual teachers was a big plus.

How did you use it?

We gave students in the program 30 minutes of one-on-one online tutoring every other day for several months in subjects they were struggling with. For many students, this was Algebra or Geometry, though we didn’t limit the tutoring to math alone.

The students were initially skeptical about online 1:1 tutoring, but quickly grew comfortable with both the format and their respective tutors. They especially appreciated being able to go at their own pace. The teachers noticed the difference; they could see the positive impact of personalized instruction on performance.

We plan to use iTutor again for this same group.

What do you like most about it?

There are a lot of things I like about iTutor for GEAR UP, but the main thing is how readily accessible it is. I can speak with iTutor on a Monday and brainstorm on a plan and they’ll have tutoring sessions in place by Wednesday.

Another great thing about iTutor is the flexibility. The breadth of subjects and the quality of the teaching pool are both high. This not only allows us to address a wide range of populations but to carefully match students with exactly the kind of help they need, whether they are fast learners or slow learners, whether they comfortable speaking and writing English or not.

iTutor is also flexible when it comes to scheduling, so students can get tutoring at a time that works best for them. And their customer service is amazingly responsive.

What would you like to share with other programs considering iTutor?

iTutor can be completely unique to your school; there is no one cookie cutter plan. You can sit with iTutor and collaborate on a plan that is tailored directly to your school or district’s unique needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Elise Buggs, Director, Academic Success Partnerships, Eastern Michigan University

Why did you choose iTutor?

Our research has shown that students who are successful in their remedial math, writing and speech communication courses during their first two semesters have a much higher chance of staying in college than those who don’t. We chose iTutor to give our students extra support for these critical classes.

How do you use it?

We encourage students to do 3 hours of live online tutoring – 1 hour for each subject – with iTutor instructors each week. We experimented with both 1:1 and small group sessions.

What do you like most about it?

What I like first and foremost are the results. Our post-project review indicated that students who took advantage of iTutor had grades a letter grade higher in the target courses than those who didn’t.

I think the main reason iTutor works as well as it does is the quality of their instructional staff, who are all trained educators and subject matter experts. The flexibility of the service was also a big plus. If a student had difficulty making a session during regular hours, they were able to schedule sessions at times that worked for them.

What would you like to share with other programs considering iTutor?

First, do what you must to make sure students use iTutor. In our situation, tutoring was optional, and seeing the difference in grades between the students who did iTutor sessions and those who didn’t, I wish every student had utilized iTutor.

Second, take advantage of iTutor’s GEAR UP expertise. My contacts at iTutor did a wonderful job of launching the program with us and helping to come up with creative incentives for the students. iTutor understands and appreciates the premise of the GEAR UP program; they are a great partner. If I could, I’d have opened iTutor up to my entire institution.

 

Alex Bernard,  GEAR UP Program Director for Lower Kuskokwim School District, Alaska

Why did you choose iTutor?

We chose iTutor over other providers because iTutor brings experienced tutors who are ready to teach. Other companies would have required us to add teaching staff and train them on site, which wasn’t practical given our limited budget and sprawling geography.

How do you use it?

We used iTutor for a 6-week intervention program for over two hundred students across 6 sites. We broke students up into groups of 4 based on their grade level and the GLE provided by the GEAR UP program. Each group received 2 hours of enrichment per week for a total of 900 hours.

For the students who completed both pre- and post-testing (78), we saw a mean GLE score gain of .26, about the equivalent of 3 months of a school year.

What do you like most about it?

We were most impressed by the quality of instruction and the responsiveness of the iTutor staff. All tutors came prepared, and engaged with the same students throughout the period, which not only ensured for consistency of instruction but also allowed them to develop a rapport with the children. Our cohort, comprised almost entirely of individuals who are native to Alaska and have historically endured cultural trauma, requires a special sensitivity.  The iTutor teachers came through with flying colors. They were consistently respectful and supportive. The children enjoyed the interactivity of the tutoring sessions, and previously skeptical families gave iTutor high marks.

As for the iTutor staff, we were thrilled with their responsiveness. In our district, we had to deal with major infrastructure and connectivity issues, and it took a while to iron out the kinks and make it work across all the sites. Even with the 4-hour time difference, iTutor usually responded in 20-25 minutes and were quick to address any issues on their end. Their customer service is amazing.

What would you like to share with other programs considering iTutor?

I suggest investigating and comparing options. In our case, iTutor was a great fit as far as expanding our instructional impact quickly by not having to hire and train teachers, though our infrastructure presented many logistical and technical challenges to overcome along the way. iTutor may or may not be the best fit for your program, but I wholeheartedly recommend speaking with them; among other things, they are great listeners and eager to help.

 

Check out our iTutor-GEAR UP headquarters to learn more on how GEAR UP students are excelling with iTutor’s live, online instruction from our network of vetted, certified teachers.

For additional information on how your GEAR UP peers are partnering with us, download our free whitepaper on Closing the Gap: Leveraging Technology and Certified Teachers to Achieve College Readiness

 

 

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