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Tracking Student Progress

How can you monitor your studen's progress? How can you tell whether they have understood certain concepts, the comprehension of which may be vital if they are to progress further into the curriculum? In a perfect world pupils would tell their teachers exactly what part of the lesson they have misunderstood, and the teacher would go over these parts with patience and care, remedying the student's misunderstanding. As modern educational institutions generally have about one teacher for every thirty pupils, this rarely happens. The teacher will have a curriculum to follow, and a deadline to complete it in. Time strictures will always constrain them, preventing personal time being given to each pupil. Under these conditions it is inevitable that teachers will not be aware of the progress of all their pupils.

Personal tuition seems to overcome this barrier. With all their attention focused on just one student, the tutor is in a far better position to gauge the progress of their pupil. Even in this idealised learning environment, care needs to be taken, if the tutor is to be aware of their pupil's progress. A good teacher will know the strengths and weaknesses of their student: a study of their past schoolwork, and an informal testing of theirpupil will help identify where their abilities are strongest, and their misunderstandings most pronounced. When teaching aspects of the curriculum that have been discerned to be concomitant with their abilities, the tutor can be more confident of understanding; but when delving into areas the pupil has difficulty with, care and patience must be employed.

Regular work assignments should be set for the pupil, allowing the tutor to see over time their pupil's progress. Perhaps once a month there could be a test, allowing the tutor so assess on a regular basis the pupil's progress. Schoolwork should also be checked, and the pupil asked what particular areas they are having difficulty with. It may even be helpful for the tutor to inspect school work done the previous year, as this may reveal with greater clarity long standing misunderstandings the pupil has been burdened with.

Past exam papers are an excellent way from a tutor to track their pupils progress. A perspicacious technique is for the pupil to sit, under exam conditions, a past paper, at the very beginning of their tuition. When, a period of time later, the tutor is confident that their pupil has improved in ability, another past paper can be sat. These exams are designed to be of consistent difficulty, so a clear, unbiased picture of the pupil's progress should be produced. Even if their progress is only very slight, comparing the two exams should tell the tutor whether problems encountered by the student at the beginning of their tuition have been alleviated; perhaps they have improved in some areas, but regressed in others. Whatever the case, the tutor will learn much from this technique, knowing which areas they need to spend more time on.

A slightly unconventional course of action would be for the tutor to meet with the pupil's teachers. It is likely that these teachers will have known the student for a number of years, and have much knowledge regarding their progress throughout the school. They might be able to supply the tutor with exam results and teachers reports from the past. Since the problems the tutor will be trying to alleviate in their pupil's comprehension will likely have been formed long ago, this information may be useful.

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