Synergy is the national peer-reviewed online journal of the Association for the Tutoring Profession published annually in the fall and spring. The primary mission of the journal is to provide an avenue for scholarship and discussion, which furthers the knowledge of learning processes, tutoring practice, and the administration of tutoring services.
The State of Tutoring in America: Changing the Culture about Tutoring
Edward E. Gordon, Ph.D.

At a time of great controversy in American education, the role of the tutor and tutoring has been given new prominence by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. The proposed use of “supplemental services” has increased the interest level in tutoring on the part of both schools and parents. However, tutoring is beset by serious professional issues that may limit the effectiveness of these services for American schoolchildren.

Many of these concerns are cultural, others strike at the theoretical and empirical foundations of tutoring. They can be summarized under four major headings:
  • The need for tutoring versus the perceived value of tutoring,
  • The essential nature of tutoring, i.e., what is tutoring?
  • Changing the current culture about tutors and tutoring,
  • Tutoring at the crossroad.

    What Skills and Whose Standards: Why Are Students Underprepared?
    Cora M. Dzubak, Ph. D. - Penn State York

    Abstract It is quite apparent that “underprepared” describes a diverse group of students that varies with ability, educational background, income, and life experience. At the post-secondary level, there are several common questions that are pertinent to personnel who work with this group. First, what are the specific characteristics that distinguish underprepared students from other first semester students? Second, is underpreparedness a reflection of lack of ability, lowered high school standards, or other factors? Last, what measures can be taken to address the problems faced by these students in the classroom, and to minimize the impact on their learning and college success? At the post-secondary level, the initial source of the “underprepared” problem cannot be corrected, but rather the product, the skill level of students, can and is being addressed.In addition to examining the causes of underpreparedness, this paper with also look at what is believed to be a significant change in academic standards that contributes to the problem.

    6 Habits of a Highly Effective Tutor - Jack Truschel, Ed.D., Psy.D.

    Tutoring services are an integral part of the academic fabric which enables the students to excel in their studies. The best practices of tutoring services are those that provide the necessary ingredients for the student and also create a synergistic process to the learning environment. I have visited countless tutoring programs and interviewed tutors as well as students who were in the tutoring center and have synthesized these observations into the six habits of highly effective tutors. These habits include being proactive, assessing the student, developing a working alliance, modeling appropriate behavior, matching learning styles with tutor styles, and communicating effectively.
  • Literature Review: Tutoring - Pinder Naidu, Assistant Professor of Math
    Director of the Math Lab Kennesaw State University

    Tutoring research is an expanding field, but the vast majority of studies have been conducted at the elementary and middle school level (Kenny, 2004; Lepper et. al., 1990, 1997; Cohen 1982; Graesser & Person, 1994; Lesh & Kelly, 1997). The research focus of many of the studies is primarily learning issues for intelligent tutoring systems for computers. These researchers are developing computer based "intelligent" tutors. So, despite the claim of these researchers that the findings and characterizations of tutoring from these studies are applicable to any content area, they may not address key issues of adult learners at the college level.

    I will give a cursory description of the current research that has taken place at the K–12 level on tutoring and tutoring strategies. Many of these studies focus on the educational psychology aspects of the interactions and discourse that occur during a tutoring session, and the effect of questioning on student achievement.

    I will describe what research into tutoring has shown about the cognitive and motivational aspects of tutoring and its structure. Research does reveal that motivation directly influences how often students use learning strategies, how well they do on curriculum-related tests, and how long they persevere and maintain skills after the tutoring sessions are over. Therefore, it is important to know what our students’ motivations are. Brophy (1998, p. 3) defines motivation as “a theoretical construct used to explain the initiation, direction, intensity, and persistence of behavior, especially goal-directed behavior.” The one-on-one interpersonal interaction and the characteristics of learners seeking tutoring give us the opportunity to explore the assessment of the causal factors of motivational change.

    The Teaching\Learning Center and Technology
    Mike Zenanko, M.Ed., Cathy Glover Burrows, M.A.
    Jacksonville State University

    The Teaching\Learning Center (T\LC) at Jacksonville State University supervises JSU student tutors in a one-to-one tutorial with area schoolchildren. The tutorial comprises Level II of the Clinical Experiences Program in the College of Education and Professional Studies. The T\LC was established so that pre-service teachers could experience working with a child in the age group and subject area in which they plan to teach. Technology has been an important aspect of the tutoring program since its inception in 1982. The technology used by the tutors has changed with the advances in hardware and software.