Taking a Closer Look
September 2007
Downloadable File PDF (921 KB)

Using Supplemental Educational Services (Tutoring)

A tutor may be able to help your child do better in school. Your child may be eligible to get "supplemental educational services," or free tutoring, through No Child Left Behind. If your family income is below a certain level and your child is enrolled in a Title I school that has been placed on the state's "in need of improvement" list, he or she may be eligible to receive free tutoring.

A tutor may be a person who works one-on-one with your child or may be someone who is hired by a company to work with a small group of students. This company may also offer computer-based teaching in your home or school, community center or library. Information on tutoring services is available from your school district, the library, places of worship or community groups.

What should you expect from tutoring? You should expect your child's performance in school to improve. Tutoring usually focuses on a particular subject area, such as reading or math. It helps your child learn different strategies for remembering and retaining information. As a result, your child may learn how to organize his or her time better and may be more motivated and self-confident. Tutoring should be tied to what your child is learning in school.

"We must help parents take advantage of new options like free tutoring."
—Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings

The tutor, along with the parent, teacher and child, should set goals. Setting goals keeps the child focused and gives the parent and teacher a way to judge progress. Have the tutor discuss with your child's teacher what skills the tutor should work on. If several skills are lacking, goals should be set to master them within a specific time. Keep a record of the tutoring sessions and the skills that are covered during those sessions. Sit in on a session so that you can track the tutoring with schoolwork and homework.

Expect a Professional Educational Service

If your child is eligible for free tutoring under No Child Left Behind, your school district should provide you with a list of state-approved tutoring services in your area. You may choose from this list. Different kinds of organizations may be on the list, including private educational groups, public schools, charter schools, private schools, school districts, community organizations and religious groups.

Take into Consideration

Program Reputation

  • Do you know anyone whose child has been taught by the tutor?
  • Does the tutor have a list of references you can call?
  • Does the tutor offer any guarantees? What happens if expectations are not met?

Practical Questions

  • Where is the tutor located? Is he/she near your home, school or work?
  • What does the tutoring cost? What services are provided?
  • Does the tutoring fall under free "supplemental educational services" provided by the school district?


  • Have the tutors gone through a police background check?
  • How will the students be supervised?
  • What rules of behavior are required of students? Of tutors?
  • How will you be notified if there is an emergency?


  • Is there a tutoring plan just for your child?
  • How will you know the tutoring is helping your child?
  • Does the program test your child on a regular basis?
  • Will you get a report on your child's progress?
  • Are there parent-tutor conferences to discuss your child's progress?

One Parent's Story

"Bluebirds" was the name of the top math group in the class. Delron wanted to become a Bluebird, but he was having trouble keeping up with his math lessons. His mother called a local high school and was given the name of a tutor, who worked with Delron. Eventually, Delron was able to join the Bluebirds. Even though he had achieved his goal, Delron continued to work with the tutor to help him stay ahead of the class.*

*This anecdote is based on an interview with a parent conducted during the preparation of the Empowering Parents School Box. The story is for illustration only. The child's name has been changed to protect his privacy.

Your NOTES for Using a Tutor


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Last Modified: 06/02/2008