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Your Child May be Eligible for Free Tutoring

What You Should Know About Free Tutoring Programs for Qualified Children


Updated May 20, 2014

Teacher helping child with work in class
John Slater/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Tutoring services are available under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The NCLB requires that low-performing low-income schools must provide free tutoring services to children who qualify.

Which Schools Must Provide Free Tutoring?

  • Schools with Title I programs serving low-income students; and
  • Those that fail to make adequate progress for two years.

Which Children Qualify for Free Tutoring Services?

Low-income, low-achieving children have priority for tutoring services. Tutoring can be provided to other students as budgets permit. Students with specific learning disabilities may also receive tutoring.

What Services are Available?

Tutoring services in reading and math may be available depending on the school's overall testing results.

Who Provides Free Tutoring?

States evaluate independent tutoring agencies and approve them as providers.

Tutoring providers may include commercial tutoring agencies, local educators, church and civic organizations, and individuals who demonstrate qualifications for tutoring. Parents can choose from tutoring providers in their areas.

How to Find Out if Your School Must Provide Free Tutoring

School districts must notify parents if they are required to provide tutoring. Parents can also contact their local school board offices to find out if tutoring is required in their children's schools.

Choosing the Right Tutoring Provider

States provide information on the qualifications, services, and performance records of each approved tutoring service provider to help parents make informed choices of programs.

What Should Parents Look for in Quality Tutoring and Instructional Programs?

Parents should consider available information on the tutoring program and ask questions to ensure the tutoring services meet their children's needs. Things to consider include:

Location - Is Access to the Tutoring Program Convenient?

Can you get your child to the tutoring sessions? If not, does the school provide transportation to tutoring sessions?

Tutoring, Assessment, and School Support

Does the tutoring program test your child to determine his skill levels? Does the tutoring service develop unique learning goals for each child? Does the tutoring program also communicate with your child's school to ensure that their methods align with classroom expectations?

Personalization - Will the Tutoring Adapt to Meet Your Child's Needs?

Does the tutoring program work with your child to determine what strategies will help him, or is the tutoring program fixed only on teaching a specific method?

Behavior - Can the tutoring program effectively manage behavior problems?

Is the tutoring program ready to meet the instructional needs for children with behavior problems as well as learning problems? Do they use positive behavior strategies while tutoring to motivate children? How and when will the tutoring program share behavior progress reports with you?

Staffing - Are There Enough Adults to Adequately Serve the Children in the Tutoring Program?

Does the tutoring program have enough staff and support to give each child the attention he needs? Is there a certified teacher with advanced degrees either delivering tutoring or closely supervising those who deliver the tutoring services?

Materials - Does the tutoring program use fun and engaging materials?

Look for a variety of types of tutoring materials for instruction. Are there books, tapes, hands-on materials, learning games, physical activities, and other fun activities that also teach concepts during tutoring?

Children's Opinions - Is the Tutoring Program Responsive to Them?

Do the children seem to enjoy the tutoring experience in the program? Do kids talk favorably about the tutoring program? Do they look forward to the tutoring sessions? Does the tutoring facility seem like a fun, safe, environment where tutors and students enjoy working together?

Service Delivery - Look for Flexible Tutoring Strategies

Does the tutoring program offer one-on-one or small group instruction? If the program is online, does the school or the tutoring service offer help if you need it? Is there an online, real-time tutor to guide your child?

Resolving Problems - Find Out How Problems are Resolved by the Tutoring Service Beforehand

Is the tutoring program open to parental input and participation? If there is a problem, what is the school district's policy on changing tutors? Who are the contact people at the school district who can assist you with problems or questions about your child's tutoring?

Cost for Value - Find Out Which Tutoring Programs are the Best Value?

Even though the tutoring program is funded by the school district, it is important for parents to consider the cost of the services. Parents will want to choose tutoring programs that offer the best tutoring at the best price to ensure their children get the maximum amount of quality tutoring services that they can.

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