Testing Assessment and Program Guarantee
There are several methods of testing children and adults prior to tutoring or academic placement in public, private, or home schooling.
Testing methods also vary based on the student's literacy level or for purposes of evaluating for learning disabilities. The following categories are discussed on this page. Scroll down to find the category of interest to you.
Contents of this page:
Assessment for children or adults who can read
Assessment for children or adults who cannot read
Assessment for special needs related to learning or attention
Tuition and Discounts
Traditional testing for students who can read is traditionally done in written form. I do not administer tests in this form as it is reduces confidence and does not provide enough information to customize the optimum program for my students.
With traditional testing, the student reads and answers questions or selects answers through multiple choice. The student's answers are compared to preset answers and results are assessed by the number correct. Various subjects are often tested with such written tests.
The deficiency in this type of testing is that the person grading the test does not usually know why the student gave the answer, what his thinking may have been, whether he was guessing, or how certain he was in giving that answer. With written tests, too much is left unknown about the student's aptitude and potential. Five other students may give identical answers yet each can have different learning rates, conceptual aptitude and most important, widely varying learning potential.
There is another important factor that turns me against traditional assessments as described above. The student cannot be 'inspired' during such a test. It is when the student is inspired by instilled confidence in his potential, that more potential surfaces. We can tap into this surfacing potential to bring out more of what the student has forgotten, or in other environments, has lacked confidence to learn.
The most effective testing will tap into this potential, and I don't mean mechanical IQ and sensory type of testing, which has some but limited value. I'm referring to an art of communication that increases confidence first and then goes for the deeper barriers and missing basics.
Writing tests for students who can read
Writing tests assess many basic skills such as spelling, punctuation, grammar, vocabulary, expression of ideas, and writing structure. No more than a few sentences or paragraphs is needed from a struggling reader to assess these basics skills. We would need a greater volume of writing to assess the formation and structure of ideas of the more experienced writer.
Writing potential however, can not always be assessed by means of a writing test. Many weak writers are extremely expressive, creative, and
articulate when verbalizing their thoughts and telling stories. The potential so demonstrated in oral expression may never bridge over to his writing. There are reasons for this other than missing writing basics, and they may include lack of confidence, organized flow between thought and pen and of course, authoritative criticism from others. Many orally adept students with extensive experience in writing however, never do reach their writing potential because they have become mechanical; writing may actually come to inhibit creative thought. These barriers should be found, and only non evasive, non-mechanical techniques should be used on students with such barriers until they have been penetrated and the student has realized his writing potential. The mechanics ought be a separate study from expressing one's thoughts in writing.
Assessing for various subjects
When testing a struggling student in any subject, whether math, science or even cooking proficiency, one would do the student a great disservice by administering a written test. By doing so, we are will not necessarily find out what the student does and does not know about the subject. If the student has any trouble with study, he will have difficulty studying or understanding the test itself. And this does not tell us that he does not know the correct answer. Often, when orally tested, the student will score higher - sometimes much higher. If so, the problem area is in reading and/ or study as individual subjects.
When I test a student in any subject other than literacy related basics, I use a technique I've partially developed and partially learned over the past 25 years. It is done more like a tutoring session so that we can have some discussion and I can observe the student reading aloud. While he reads a section of the troubling subject, I can assess word decoding/pronunciation (phonetics). I can see how he follows punctuation, observe vocabulary, thought flow and even get an idea of spelling aptitude without giving a spelling test. I of course test spelling separately, but I can get an idea of spelling proficiency by having the student read to me. I can tell if he is comprehending or simply memorizing. I can tell if he takes in the information as though the author is talking to him at his level of understanding, or if he is trying to absorb undigested bits of information. All the while, I assess confidence, concentration and have an idea of what can be retained. Most importantly, I can tell if the student would be able to take that information and put it to practical use - or if the information had no value whatsoever. I would assess all of this in a tutorial-style assessment. I would never give a student a written test on a struggling subject.
All such areas I assess, will have little to do with the subject itself. I will always look for reading proficiency. Don't let a flowing reader fool you. Just because he orally flows and can recite from the text doesn't mean he understands what he is reading. He may be memorizing and quoting back.This is how teachers were educated and trained to teach and they can tell you it is a widespread problem. This is traditional education at its worst and is ironically most common, even amongst many of the most prestigious private schools and tutorial agencies.
It is more common than you might imagine that an eight-year-old is brought to me for tutoring, whose parents have invested $10,000 to $20,000 per year for two years of private schooling, only to find they the child is not yet reading. And it is also common that even privately schooled teens struggle with word pronunciation and basic literacy skills.
Rather than'dummy down' our kids and adult students with rote learning, why not reverse the cycle and find the true causes of their struggles and then apply the effective solutions to learning. The vital fundamental to your child's education is literacy. This is not new information. What is new information for many however, is that most parents do not know the true quality of their own child's reading skill or what their barriers really are. When a parent is in the dark about this, he cannot suspect possible misdiagnosis of some learning disability and may resort to medication. It's easy for a parent to be deceived unless he observes the effects of missing basics first-hand
Studying any subject involves reading and writing words with Phonics, knowing their meanings, grammar use, and of course, following these words with an understanding of punctuation.
If you feel your child is a good reader, yet he or she is struggling in mathematics or another subject, a one-hour assessment in literacy as applied to that subject, may be extremely enlightening. Professional tutoring, even with a credentialed teacher, is a slow and arduous process if the real barriers to learning that subject is not first found and addressed. And if not found and effectively addressed, what happens when your child struggles in that subject again in the future, or in other subjects?
A truly literate individual can tutor himself through most any difficulty in any subject. When we resolve hidden deficiencies in literacy, we make knowledge of any subject possible.
Assessment for functionally illiterate and pre-readers.
This section of the web page is forthcoming. I do miracles in this area!
Contact me for a consultation
Assessment for learning or attention barriers and potential
This section is also forthcoming. See paragraph above for update or contact information regarding this topic.
Call for an assessment appointment
Call to schedule a math and study assessment and find out why your child is unable to understand his math book or retain simple math - like multiplication facts. When a student learns to study, he becomes his own tutor, not only in math, but in any subject. Most math difficulties are symptoms of weak study or learning aptitude. It may appear to be only in one subject, but why not find out the true cause and let us teach mastery of missing math basics as well as math study skills.
Tutoring rates begin at $30 per hour for small group sessions.
Custom Program Tuition is based on testing and guaranteed results rather than by the hour. I can usually provide telephone estimates for tutoring program rates after asking you a few assessment questions or doing a brief telephone assessment in many cases. Kids enjoy the telephone assessment - even those who are a little resistive to help.
Just call me at the number below between 10am - 9pm to schedule a telephone consultation appointment. Testing is also guaranteed. We ask you to sit in on your child's testing because it's similar to a tutoring session and you will usually see progress take place right in testing. If you are not impressed with your testing, the fee is refunded.. Testing fees may also be credited toward your guaranteed program; ask for details. Testing is $125 plus half off for each additional family member. If you find discounted tuition or assessmenvt rates on other pages of this site, let us know, as those rates should be honored.
What is Tracy's program guarantee?
The guaranteed program is for parents who want to learn along.
If you sit in on our sessions and learn and practice the techniques at home per the terms of our guarantee, I will achieve the custom guaranteed goals as determined after assessment within the hours estimated or I will continue until every goal is met. This means your child will be able to demonstrate in your presence, skill in each programmed step or we are not done. When other tutorng programs offer a guarantee, ask them specifically, "What if your goals are not met within the hours I purchase? Will I have to pay for more hours and will you continue until I see for myself that the goals have been met:? Also, are the goals actual skills that can be seen or are they simply completion of academic assignments or steps?" It's important to know what to expect from your investment.
We double or triple any advertised guarantee!
Already paid for testing elsewhere within the last year? Bring in your receipt and and get testing for learning level and aptitude, potential, and custom programming at 50% off..
Already invested in other tutoring programs? - with unacceptable progress? If so, our testing, program demonstration, custom written guarantee and abundance of happy parent references may help.
'If a tutor's promises 'seem' too good to believe,
they were probably promised by me."
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