Many tutoring providers negatively impacted by the NCLB waivers are shifting their focus more on the Common Core “effect.” As schools respond to the Common Core State Standards shift, a national framework that spells out what every public school student should know and adopted by 45 states, tutoring providers are instead developing a more robust and comprehensive programs, software tools, and curriculum that respond to the national changes in math and English language art. This Common Core effect is expected to unify the curriculum nationally, change the way teachers teach and students learn, and the way students are tested. The testing will also focus more on greater depth of the curriculum and encourages real-life applications and less on multiple choice tests.
With the Common Core shift, students in classroom are expected to respond to questions in written format, rather than just seeking for that key answers or statements within a passage, for instance. Instead, students are expected to use evidence to justify, examine, analyze, and present their response to demonstrate critical thinking skills. As a result, many schools are taking a dramatic focus on different approach to instruction, but so are tutoring providers and private companies providing individual instructional support outside of the regular instruction.
Just as how schools and districts are investing on technology, tutoring providers are using digital tools, internet-based programs, and other forms of technology to support students with various learning styles and needs to meet the national benchmark. The "Common Core products" may be replacing heavy textbooks as we’ve already seen in many classrooms and homes, so it is no surprise that digital tools are increasingly popular trend in education and for many teaching professionals. This transformative effect has become a necessary tool as we prepare for students for college and career.
In particular, many online tutoring companies offer one-to-one online tutoring instruction and 24/7 on demand tutoring support. According to the providers, these are now being supported by Common Core standards based curriculum. Others claim their assessment tool is “Common Core-aligned” for grades K-8 in reading and math. Recently, parents and teachers may find there are myriad of new software and web-based reading programs on the market for all ages and abilities that may have specific target, such comprehension, fluency, phonemic awareness and vocabulary, all indicating they are aligned to the Common Core. Certainly, access to virtual learning has changed greatly over the last few years. As we observe in and outside of the classroom, students no longer need to be present in a computer lab to use Web-based programs. Students can easily use their laptops or tablets as part of their research and access to information using their own devices.
Tutoring programs are promoting this delivery of service more than ever, pitching to the students and families that easy access for instructional support anytime, anywhere, while sharing that their curriculum and program are aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Just like many virtual programs, tutoring companies developed a mobile apps for their students as an additional support feature of their services.
Some tutoring providers and companies even highlight that they are customizing their web-based curriculum to meet the needs of students to ensure the materials being taught meet the critical key core components of the Common Core. For instance, there are tutoring companies that provide services to beginning or struggling readers and English language learners that offer to track student progress through automated recording and offers easy-to-use tools to improve their fluency. Parents enjoy these types of feature since they can provide oversight and also personally track their child’s progress or areas of strengths and challenges.
To see if a tutoring provider are aligning their services to the Common Core benchmark, here are some key suggestions for parents:
1. First, parents should research and learn about what the Common Core State Standards initiative are and its impact on your child’s learning and school instruction. http://www.corestandards.org/.
2. Though we enjoy the features of technology, parents need to also look beyond these easy access applications. Request from the tutoring provider their general implementation strategies and copy of their curriculum that help support your child’s learning needs and styles and evidence of some sort that their curriculum is meeting the benchmark of the national initiative.
3. Request for information about any additional resources offered, such as digital tools or features of their service deliveries. This may include online demand support, 24/7 technical support, regular notifications of progress for parents, reporting tools, newsletter, and other web-based assistance.
4. If available, ask to see their assessment tools, pre or post-assessments to track student progress. Sometimes these assessment tools are correlated with the state standards and may demonstrate to parents the correlation between the materials taught or areas of focus to the Common Core standards.