Written by Nathan Rudolph
Parents ask us all the time: Why are you able to consistently improve students’ ACT and SAT scores?
Ensuring Quality Tutoring
There are many reasons we are so successful at helping our Philadelphia Area students improve their standardized test scores. The greatest factor leading to our students’ success, however, is our tutors. We invest a considerable amount of time and energy in screening, interviewing, and training our tutors.
Our minimum requirement is that our tutors have a bachelor’s degree. However, the majority of our tutors have a master’s degree or higher. Before the interview itself begins, each applicant must pass two 30-minute quizzes containing some of the most difficult questions found on the ACT and SAT. Only after passing the two challenging quizzes are tutor candidates interviewed.
During the interview, A+ directors ask customary interview questions while at the same time continuously evaluating the prospective tutor’s humility, confidence, experience, and overall demeanor. It is not sufficient that our tutors merely have content knowledge; we prioritize patient attitudes and friendly personalities.
If the interviewing director believes the applicant exhibits these characteristics, the prospective tutor is invited to attend an all-day training. During the training day, our trainers—who are experienced tutors themselves—evaluate the tutor candidates based on their skills, ability to communicate, and teaching styles.
The next step is a “teachback” session in which the prospective tutor conducts a mock lesson with one of our experienced tutors. The teachback is meant to resemble what a first session would be with a new student. Once this is completed, each candidate must take full-length test sections for the subjects he plans to tutor (math and science, or verbal) and meet our demanding score requirements. Finally, the candidate must attend an orientation session, which introduces him to our online student database called Central.
Candidates that complete this process successfully will be assigned a mentor—an experienced tutor who will provide guidance as the candidate begins tutoring for A+.
Even after a tutor has been integrated into the A+ team, we still have ongoing professional development twice a year. At these events, tutors get to engage with other tutors to ask questions and discuss methods of providing better instruction. A+ also provides short tutorials on any recent updates: for example, details about the revised SAT. These are great opportunities for new and old tutors alike to become more familiar with the individuals that make up A+ and to foster pedagogic excellence.
Throughout all of these steps, A+ directors and experienced A+ tutors engage with and evaluate prospective tutors. We assess their content knowledge, their amiability, their ability to engage with and teach students, and their overall dispositions. This is a rigorous, demanding process, but it is all worth it because we end up with a group of high-quality tutors on whom we confidently rely to foster our students’ success.
Some of the best feedback we get about our ACT and SAT test-prep programs is praise for our tutors. Read what some of our clients have said on our testimonials page.