Help! 5 Questions to Ask When Choosing Between Math Programs

By Huntington Learning Center

If your child is struggling in school it is natural to search for a math tutoring program that can provide the assistance needed before gaps grow too wide and misunderstanding snowballs out of control. Watching your child struggle with learning math is hard and finding the perfect program can raise a child’s understanding and boost confidence. A carefully designed program will work to fill in gaps in your child’s learning and build on established strengths. You want to choose a program that carefully evaluates your child’s math skills, is aligned with adopted standards, personalizes instruction to the individual child’s needs, and provides ongoing feedback.

As you research programs that provide math help it is important to ask questions. Make sure you find the answers to these helpful questions:

  1. What format is the math tutoring program? There are a variety of different formats for programs that provide math help. You can choose a program that is housed in a tutoring center and offers help sessions on a regularly scheduled basis. There are programs available online that provide an interactive, self-directed learning model and are available at any time. You may find that a textbook curriculum is a good fit for your child and can choose a program that utilizes individual instruction in your home by a parent or other adult. As a parent you will know which format is the best for your child and can evaluate how your family’s schedule and work habits will impact the choice you make.
  2. How is my child evaluated? Since no two children are alike, a program designed to provide math help must carefully evaluate the student’s ability before prioritizing necessary skills. This evaluation should be thorough and based on learning standards to identify areas of strength and need. Evaluation also shouldn’t end with the onset of instruction. The program should employ evaluation methods throughout the instructional time, or even school year, to monitor progress and check for understanding. This ongoing evaluation will provide valuable information on how your child progresses at learning math.
  3. What is the curriculum aligned with? A child’s evaluation results are crucial when determining programming and instruction but ensuring that it is aligned with age based or developmental standards is just as important. A program can be aligned with a variety of standards including state and local standards, national Common Core State Standards, developmental standards, or a scope and sequence that carefully spirals instruction and skills. Carefully planned instruction, aligned with a set of standards or as part of a scope and sequence, will help to prevent gaps in your child’s understanding.  
  4. Is the program personalized? Once the evaluation is complete and your child’s strengths and weaknesses are aligned with age based or developmental learning standards, instruction can begin. This instruction should be personalized to the child’s determined needs and built on established strengths. This personalization targets your child’s individual needs and prevents further gaps in your child’s math achievement. An effective program will also employ instructional strategies and activities based on your child’s interests. Research proves that learning is most effective when it is engaging, interactive, and based upon what a child is interested in.
  5. What type of feedback will I receive? As the math instruction continues it is important that you receive feedback on your child’s progress. This feedback will provide you with information that you need on your child’s developing skills, continued areas of need, and the effectiveness of the program. Evaluation data and progress reports will paint a picture of your child’s work in the program.

What insights have you discovered in your search for an effective math help program? What characteristics in a math tutoring program are most important to you?


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