5 Ways to Help Parents Support their Child's Test Prep Efforts
Just as buying a $10,000 guitar and hanging it on a wall won’t make you the next Eric Clapton, parents who pay top dollar for test prep don’t automatically wind up with students who ace the SAT.
Success and proficiency come from a combination of dedicated practice, effort, and invested time. As a tutor, the focus is typically on the student; but an often-overlooked part of the formula for a successful test day is parental involvement.
It is critical for test prep professionals to provide parents with the information and tools to support their children and hold them accountable. In just a few, purposeful steps, tutors can accomplish exactly that.
Create a clear pathway of communication and transparency
Parents can't support tutoring efforts if they don't know if or where their support is needed. At the onset of a new tutoring relationship, it is crucial to establish they type and frequency of the feedback parents should expect.
The automated, data-driven progress report emails generated by the Clear Choice Prep software are an excellent way to ensure all of the stakeholders in a tutoring partnership are on the same page. The efforts during and between sessions are clearly chronicled and then analyzed to clearly show growth and areas in need of focus.
From there, additional communication between parents, tutors, and students can be grounded in substance rather than vague speculations.
Make it personal
If your tutoring sessions and test prep curriculum are offering clients a truly personalized learning experience, be sure parents are able to recognize that effort. Make it clear that this attention to detail (and, in turn, their child) is the heart of the value you provide (and they are paying for!).
The 100% custom-branded, SAT and ACT curriculum offered by Clear Choice Prep draws from a database of thousands of SAT and ACT practice problems to generate customized content tailored to student needs. Schedule a totally free software demo to see how this addition to your test prep repertoire could totally transform your business and improve student results.
Parents are more likely to support the practice their children must tackle between sessions when they realize that the work is not just an off-the-shelf packet of SAT worksheets. Instead, students are engaging with a targeted set of problems and solutions developed for each individual learner.
Make support resources available and accessible
Sometimes parents want to help their child with academic content, but simply don’t know how. For every homework assignment a student takes with them, there needs to be ample support materials available so that potential struggles can be addressed on the spot.
Providing students and their parents with resources to both self-assess and self-correct their assigned problems ensures that the time spent practicing is reliably productive. For instance, the Clear Choice Prep software comes bundled with a video explanation for every problem. No more waiting until the next session to sort out a frustration. Progress can continue unabated.
Take the time to demonstrate and explain these tools so that clients can get their money's worth out of your test prep program and materials. Sending students home from a session with work that they can't work through and learn from independently or with some parental help is a fool's errand that could prove to be a speed bump to growth and progress.
Don’t pick sides
In an effort to curry favor with either a parent or a child, tutors sometimes attempt to endear themselves as a friendly ally of one against the other. It's a bad move; there is no value in being made a pawn in a familial struggle.
Tutors and test prep companies serve both students (the learners) and their parents (the ones typically paying for tutoring services). As a result, if one side feels like they are being ganged-up on by the other two, the overall tutoring relationship is likely to fall apart.
Odds are you or your tutors aren’t qualified (or charging enough) to be both test prep professionals and licensed family therapists. Keep the focus on providing educational services and stay away from the drama.
Give reasons to celebrate success
Successful test prep centers on the notion that growth is incremental. There is no shortcut from a poor testing performance to a perfect score. Educators know and accept this; students and parents may not.
Consistent motivation is necessary to start and maintain momentum. While teenagers by nature can be tricky to motivate, tutors should find ways to reinforce even the smallest of successes on the road to test day. When these successes are surfaced for parents to see and appreciate, they too reap the benefits of a test prep program focused on growth and progress.
A parent who can see and understand his or her child's successes is more likely to be an active participant in both supporting your test prep curriculum and holding his or her child accountable for further positive outcomes.
What strategies and tools do you use in your test prep business to promote parental involvement? Share your favorite strategies with our readers in the comments below and be sure to subscribe to our blog for more helpful insights!