How Is Above Grade Level Different?

  • Teaching students effective study skills. If your child’s idea of “studying” is glancing over notes or cramming from a study guide, be encouraged that we will teach him or her how to study effectively!
  • In-home learning. Rather than driving your son or daughter to a learning center,tutoring is completed in a convenient, comfortable learning environment, your home.
  • 1-on-1 tutoring. Your child receives individual attention, the entire time, rather than the group-learning offered by other tutoring centers and schools. This makes all the difference in achieving successful results!
  • FREE diagnostic skill evaluation. Every student’s program starts with a free skill evaluation. This is the diagnostic “X-ray” that reveals students’ skill levels in approximately 300 areas. Unlike any other test students take in school, our skill evaluation is unmatched for detail and accuracy, with independently validated results. It’s the Golden Egg in education. Although valued at $250, we cover the cost fully as a service to students in Chester County. This is our community, too!
  • No cookie-cutter approach. Everything we do is 100% customized for each individual student. Every curriculum is designed to accelerate students where they’re strong, fill skill gaps when we find them, and accelerate students above the low Common Core standards.
  • Highly qualified tutors. Our tutors are the cream of the crop. Thoroughly screened and background cleared, our dedicated tutors are not only highly-qualified to teach students, but also to reach them and motivate them for success. All our tutors utilize brain-based, research-proven teaching methods for skill mastery—methods that are seldom utilized in classroom learning.
  • “Minds-on learning.” In contrast to classroom learning—which is primarily a passive learning model—our methods are designed to engage the student’s brain actively…what we call “minds-on” learning. This is where real learning can take place. This is where learning becomes fun! We take our students through all the levels of high-order critical thinking and problem-solving—because the world into which they will graduate requires them to think on that level.
  • Parents need encouragement, too! While we can’t guarantee peace around your dinner table, we can certainly take much of the stress of schoolwork off your shoulders! Our mission is to partner with parents in the educations of their children. We quickly get to know your child and are happy to offer strategies to make the learning process a positive, successful experience. We can even assist parents in navigating school procedures to achieve successful results for their child.  
  • Measuring progress. We assess students’ progress on a daily basis, with both formal and informal evaluations, to ensure they’re mastering and retaining concepts. In addition, we keep parents in the communication loop through verbal wrap-ups at the end of every session.
  • Providing immediate feedback. Students appreciate positive feedback. In our program, students won’t have to wait days for a worksheet or test to be graded. Education research demonstrates consistently that immediate feedback and reinforcement are essential to the learning process—so that’s what we do!
  • Collaborating with classroom teachers.We invite the student’s teacher to work collaboratively with us to ensure the best possible outcome for the student.
  • In summary: We’re educators at heart—not businessmen—so we’re 100% dedicated to the success of our students. That means, everything we do is with our students’  best interests in mind. With many years of expertise and experience in education, we’re well-equipped to help students achieve their fullest potentials!

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why In-Home Tutoring?

Rather than driving your youngster to an education center, tutoring is carried out within a comfortable learning environment — your home. This is where the student is most confident and diversions can be minimized. The student receives individual treatment. Parents save time and are assured that tutoring is performed according to the selected timetable.

Why 1-to-1 Tutoring?

All children benefit from the exclusive attention of a teacher. Most students make rapid progress when given the opportunity to enjoy one-to-one instruction. One-to-one tutoring allows our caring tutors to really get to know your child and his or her unique strengths and weaknesses. It allows for continuity of instruction. It prevents errors and skill gaps from slipping through the cracks. Working one-to-one with your child also lends itself to immediate feedback, which gives your child a chance to correct errors before they become patterns, as well as enjoy praise and encouragement. Perhaps best of all, one-to-one instruction enables us to identify areas where your child is strong (which often go undetected in a classroom environment) and to accelerate your child in those areas of giftedness. A one-to-one setting allows us to focus on your child’s individual needs and tailor instruction to suit his or her style and pace of learning.

 

Why Is a Diagnostic Skill Evaluation Important?

At Above Grade Level, we believe that, to be effective, a tutoring course must begin with an accurate analysis of each student’s scholastic strengths and weaknesses. We must take the “guess factor” out of education and replace it with the “confidence factor.” Toward that goal, we offer our students a thorough skill analysis developed by education experts—one that has been used successfully by hundreds of schools across the country and over 4 million students worldwide. Compared with the evaluations offered by schools and other tutoring services, the evaluation we utilize is keyed to international standards for every grade level. This gives us the ability to accurately recognize areas where your student may have missed vital skillsets or needs specific attention. This also ensures that our customized curriculum meets the precise needs of your child, and your child masters the foundational skills they need for academic success. Our diagnostic evaluation process is carefully structured to give us a comprehensive view of how your daughter or son is performing in each of the subject areas they will be expected to master in school.

As icing on the cake, we offer this invaluable service at no charge to parents! We cover the cost fully for Chester County families. After all, this is our community, too!

Will You Work with My Child’s Teacher(s)?

Yes! We recommend that the student’s teacher work collaboratively with us to ensure effective learning in the classroom.

My Child Is Getting Good Grades in School. Why Should We Consider Tutoring?

 •   Unfortunately, grades don’t guarantee that students are learning the skills they need. There are many levels of learning that aren’t addressed in a classroom setting. Important skills are missing from many schools’ curricula for a variety of reasons, such as: time limitations, the pressures to perform on standardized testing, distractions in the classroom, or important skills—like critical thinking skills—simply being eliminated. Perhaps most influential of all is the question of whether the Common Core curricular standards yield a complete, quality education.

 •   Surprisingly, grades in school don’t necessarily indicate a student’s mastery of the subject. There are many factors that may influence the grade a teacher assigns, such as homework points, participation, or weighting/curving scores, to name a few.

•   Grades don’t guarantee that a student will retain the skills they’ve learned. In a typical classroom, teachers teach the skills, test the skills, and then move on to the next unit of study. That approach doesn’t lend itself to long-term skill retention or the ability to apply knowledge learned to new and different situations. In fact, research indicates that students lose approximately 30% of their prior year’s learning over the summer months.

Above Grade Level’s tutoring methods emphasize brain-based methods for skill mastery with long-term retention. We integrate high-level critical thinking skills throughout every level of instruction. And we offer a challenging, comprehensive curriculum that has taken over 30 years to perfect and aligns with College Board standards. Best of all, we move at each student’s individual pace, and our students don’t feel pressured to perform at the pace of the rest of the class.

Why tutoring? Because every student is unique…their learning should be, too!

How Many Tutoring Sessions Will My Child Need To Achieve Success?

The number of tutoring sessions depends on the needs of each individual student. From the results of the diagnostic skill evaluation, we create an individualized educational program. Based on our years of experience, we will then recommend the number of sessions needed to address the areas where the student would benefit from our assistance.

 

When Can I Have a Tutor Come?

Tutors come to your house to work with your child according to the routine that works best for your family.

How Long Are the Learning Sessions?

It varies. Most sessions are 60-90 minutes. We take into consideration that students have different needs and different attention spans. Real learning takes time. Our interactive, brain-based teaching methods also take time. Thankfully, our tutors are adept at engaging students’ interest and keeping the enjoyment in learning!

We recognize that there may be times when your child has an important test, paper, or project due, which may require the assistance of a tutor. We are more than happy to accommodate these special requests. It’s important that your child gain confidence through immediate success, as well as achieve long-term goals.

How Do You Choose Your Tutors?

There’s a lot that goes into screening and hiring our cream-of-the-crop tutors…we can’t possibly reveal it all in a short FAQ! Here’s brief peek into our process:

•   First, we look for outstanding individuals who are academically proficient.

•   Second, we look for tutors who are experts in their professional fields.

•   Third, we look for individuals who are not only knowledgeable, but who are also able to teach their skills effectively. After all, the important thing is not necessarily how much we know, but rather, how much our students learn from us.

•   Next, we screen carefully for tutors who are patient, encouraging, have a passion for teaching, and are dedicated to helping students succeed.

•   Lastly, we look for those extra special individuals who display the highest ethical standards. We take the responsibility seriously of being role models and mentors for our students.

Not many applicants pass our rigorous hiring process. For those who do, we thoroughly train them in brain-based teaching methods for effective learning, skill mastery, and long-term retention—training that is rare to find in any school or educational setting.

Why Are You So Selective in Choosing Your Tutors?

Because we know how important it is for our tutors to impact students in potentially life-changing ways. And we take seriously the trust parents place in us.

Who Are Your Tutors?

• Professional educators
• School Principals or Assistant Principals
• Graduate or Undergraduate-level university students, who are education majors or experts in their fields of study
• Active workers, employed in the workforce in their areas of expertise, dedicated to bringing real-life relevance to students’ educations
• Retired professionals, bringing the wisdom that only years of experience can bring

One thing is for certain: ALL our tutors are passionate about the subjects they teach and the success of their students! In short, our tutors are among the finest that education has to offer!

What Training Do the Tutors Have?

Our tutors are screened and tested to ensure their ability to teach the courses assigned to them. Tutors are either credentialed teachers or specialists with university training in the subject matter.

I pay high property taxes to live in a good school district. Why should I have my children tutored?

That’s a good question, and one that we hear frequently. The simple answer is that even the best public and charter schools have changed radically in recent years, The curricula that are taught are aligned to government-mandated standards, which don’t necessarily include the skills that students need to learn to be successful.

The classroom environment itself isn’t always conducive to learning. Behavioral issues and distractions may abound. Not all children learn in the same way or at the same pace. In a large classroom, it’s not possible for a teacher to meet the needs of every student. Yet the curriculum train speeds along. Year after year.

The end result is that students on both ends of the learning spectrum slip through the cracks — accelerated students, who deserve to be challenged, and struggling students, who need to have skill gaps identified and filled. A high-quality tutoring program can address all these issues effectively.

I’m planning to have my son take the SAT and just see how he does. Is that wrong?

That’s not wise college planning—that’s gambling. And there’s too much at stake to be gambling!

Look at it this way: Your student will be competing against other students who are prepared for college placements and scholarship money. Preparation is key. Effective preparation begins with accurately identifying a student’s skill levels—so we give every student a free, in-home, diagnostic skill evaluation that’s internationally respected for detail and accuracy. Next, we target skill gaps and fill them. After all, the best way to achieve high scores. . . is to know the answers! Then, we teach students valuable test-taking strategies to help maximize their scores. Finally, we give our students much practice with immediate feedback on actual SAT-ACT exam questions—to teach them to think like the test-makers think! Our comprehensive, 1-on-1 SAT-ACT prep programs also include:

•  full-length practice test(s) with scoring

•  targeted tutoring in SAT Math; SAT Critical Reading Skills; SAT Grammar; Latin roots vocabulary; and SAT Essay Writing (optional)

•  When requested, we’re happy to assist students with writing their all-important college application essays.

At what age should we begin prepping for the SAT?

That depends on the student. Every student is unique. We recommend giving most students a diagnostic skill evaluation at the beginning of 10th grade. (Struggling students may benefit from testing in 9th grade.) That gives us time to fill any skill gaps that are identified. It also gives the students adequate time to practice, practice, practice. We recommend students shoot for their best SAT scores at the end of their junior year. At that point, students should have learned most of the skills they need to know. They’ll want to take the SAT while the material is still fresh in their brains!

This schedule prepares students to complete the college application process by fall semester of their senior year. It enables them to apply for college scholarship money while it lasts. Best of all, with the big college decision having been made, this frees students up to enjoy their senior year of high school!