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This project aims to look at different aspects of tutoring from both tutors’ and pupils’ perspectives.

Background

International surveys indicate there is a wide variation in the extent of private tutoring (Bray 2003; Baker, Akiba, Letendre and Wiseman 2001, OECD 2006).  The recently completed ESRC funded project ‘Mapping and Evaluating Shadow Education’ has provided systematic mapping of private tutoring for pupils in the primary and secondary phases of education.  The survey involved 3615 students in years 6, 11 and 13, from a total of 65 state maintained schools.  Results found that 27% of pupils were currently or had at some point received private tutoring (Ireson and Rushforth, 2005).  These findings suggest that a large proportion of parents consider private tuition as a worthwhile investment, recognising the link between educational achievement and future career accomplishments.  Despite these findings, there is no regulated tutoring market within the UK.

Substantial research has been undertaken to investigate the value of tutoring through analysis of interactions between tutors and pupils, and a plethora of suggestions provided for what is considered as good or effective practice.  Much of the research is focussed on specific subjects for specific age groups and has been used to develop and inform the design of computer based tutoring systems.  Research evidence stemming from all these approaches indicate that tutoring is a complex process, which requires considerable sensitivity. 

Aims and Research Design
This investigation aims to extend the work started by the ESRC funded project ‘Mapping and Evaluating Shadow Education’ and broaden the knowledge base about private tuition in this country.  By researching both tutors’ and pupils’ perspectives this study aims to begin investigating an area where substantial exploration is needed to fill this significant knowledge gap.  The research will build on the quantitative data from the existing database and add new information on tutors’ and pupils perspectives on tutoring.  This study will take place between Oct 2005 – Oct 2009

Stage 1 - Data collected from the 'Mapping and Evaluating Shadow Education' project will be analysed with data supplied from the DCSF on home background and achievment. This research aims to determine the effects of tuition in the core subjects of English, maths, science and mean KS2 and GCSE attainment, by examining pre and post achievement measures for pupils in year 6 and year 11

Stage 2 - The study will involve 2 questionnaires, one for tutors and one for students.  The questionnaires will collect views on what makes tutoring effective and what goes on during tutoring sessions.  Comparisons will be made between tutoring for younger and older children and for different subjects. 

Confidentiality
All information provided through the questionnaires and observation sessions will be kept strictly confidential ensuring anonymity for every participant and conforming to all aspects of the 1998 Data Protection Act.