The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted schooling for millions of students across Ontario. A recent report estimates that children have lost two thirds of an academic year due to school closure (UNESCO, 2021). Students with learning disabilities and other challenges are losing prior knowledge gains and often struggle to keep up with the material in their classes. The impact of the interruption will likely be steeper for students in the higher grades, and particularly in cumulative subjects such as math (Cooper et al., 1996). According to a 2020 study by McKinsey & Company, the amount of learning students lose during COVID-19 school closures depends on “access to remote learning, the quality of remote instruction, home support, and the degree of engagement.”
No educational program is as effective in accelerating the reading and math achievement of struggling students as structured one-to-one and small-group tutoring (Slavin et al., 2020). One of the oldest and most versatile forms of education, frequent and individualized tutoring yields “consistent and substantial positive impacts on learning outcomes” that are particularly strong among the earlier grades (Nickow et al., 2020). When it comes to remediating the learning loss caused by the pandemic, tutoring can address knowledge gaps and help students get back on track when they are falling behind.
Evoke has shifted to working with clients exclusively online. Despite the novelty of fully remote instruction, we’ve been very pleased to see our students thriving in this new environment and enjoying successful outcomes. Evoke will continue to offer all of our services online throughout the summer break.
Our services include:
Evoke specializes in working with students who have ADHD and self-regulation challenges and understands their unique profiles and learning needs. We use evidence-based best practices for virtual instruction and learning. Evoke uses strategies, effective approaches, structure, and tools to enhance student engagement. Feedback regarding our virtual services, from students (as young as Grade 1) with ADHD and executive function challenges, and their families, has been strong. Student achievement is important to us. Evoke uses measurable outcomes to track student progress through standardized assessments (where possible), weekly feedback communication from practitioners, and student progress tracking summaries to highlight the mastery of strategies, accomplishments, and areas of challenge.
Evoke offers three levels of math support.
Math remediation: Geared toward students who have been falling behind in math and those with gaps in their learning, our math remediation program focuses on identifying and addressing academic gaps in math for students in Grades 3 through 12. The program begins with a diagnostic assessment that allows us to pinpoint the specific concepts and curriculum expectations with which the student is struggling. The program gives students the extra time to learn important skills and concepts and address their learning deficits, bridging the gap for students who are behind in math and ensuring it doesn’t widen.
Evoke offers two summer learning packages:
Recovery for high school and postsecondary-bound students: Many Ontario students have lost months of math instruction because of the pandemic. This program is for the student who does not traditionally struggle in math but is concerned about having missed the introduction of essential concepts and academic content. The program begins with a diagnostic to identify the gaps based on the student’s current grade. A tutor works with the student to fill in those gaps to master concepts before the next academic year.
Booster: If a student wants to move ahead to begin the next grade curriculum to ensure a strong performance for next year, they can select this “go ahead” program. Tutors will work with students to provide greater exposer to and a jump-start on the next academic year’s curriculum. Students are introduced to the materials to facilitate a deeper understanding, mastery of key concepts and enhanced confidence.
Evidence-based research shows that struggling writers can improve their skills dramatically if they receive the detailed, explicit instruction they need (Graham & Harris, 2005). Such strategies can improve the writing skills of students with learning disabilities and are equally effective for individuals who need extra help.
Evoke’s Academic Writing Strategies program teaches students evidence-based strategies that assist with every phase of the writing process. Together, the student and tutor will identify the greatest roadblocks to the student’s writing and choose the strategies that will best address their challenges. This program is for students in Grade 4 through postsecondary.
Evoke uses research-validated strategies and interventions, based on the science of reading, to help students in Grades 1 through 12 develop the phonological and phonemic awareness skills necessary to become skilled readers. Our tutors look to build motivation and engagement among students, which is why they incorporate fun activities, age-appropriate games, and evidence-based strategies to help them develop and reinforce reading skills and stay engaged online. The overall skills taught in Evoke’s reading program include phonological and phonemic awareness training, spelling, morphology and vocabulary development. Current research suggests that there is always an opportunity to remediate reading deficits and support struggling readers, regardless of student age.
This program is designed for students interested in, or currently taking, online summer courses. In light of uncertainty around the structure of the coming school year, our staff is helping to ensure that learning for students in core subjects like math, science, and English is not disrupted. The tutor works with the student one-to-one to keep them organized, supported, and on task.
Benefits of this program include:
Our coaches and mentors work directly, one-to-one, with students engaging in academic courses over the summer to help them achieve their academic and personal goals and acquire new skills and approaches to their learning. This program helps students manage their time, establish strong work habits, develop helpful learning skills and strategies, and strengthen and manage their executive function abilities. This program supports students who find it difficult to stay organized, plan ahead, initiate work, and remain on task. Coaches and mentors work directly with students to address challenges as they arise and show them how to initiate and break down assignments into manageable chunks.
Academic Foundations focuses on both academic skills development and the enhancement of noncognitive factors such as procrastination and executive function. Students are introduced to information, resources, strategies, and tools that help them develop executive function skills, enhance their learning, and help them prepare for current summer learning or the following school year. Informed by current cognitive science, this program engages students in conversations about the science of learning and strategies for effective performance.
In the move to college or university, students often lose the essential supports they received in high school. As a result, many struggle both academically and emotionally. Evoke offers personalized coaching focused on the development of metacognitive skills. Our coaches identify effective strategies and solutions that help students bridge the gap between ability and performance. Coaching focuses on increasing the individual’s ability to plan, prioritize, and organize efficiently and effectively, and emphasizes a proactive approach to learning. Our holistic program supports students in their transition by helping them to:
Through coaching, students learn to develop key academic strategies such as planning, time management, self-advocacy skills, stress management, and organization. Sessions will also include test and exam strategies, navigating assistive technology, accessing accommodations and other student supports, notetaking, and study and time management strategies.
Students managing learning differences and other demands on their time are frequently at a disadvantage when it comes to guidance counselling. Many students are unsure of their options and have difficulty organizing their approach, getting adequate time with counsellors, and identifying their strengths and interests. Our academic mentors understand that the postsecondary environment is competitive and that it is extremely important for students with learning disabilities to pursue their education and career goals at an institution that fits their needs and abilities. Evoke helps students ensure that they have the prerequisite courses and experiences to make successful postsecondary choices and supports the student through the application process and additional requirements for admission.
It’s so easy for young adults to fall into financial traps and poor decisions about money can take decades to fix. Learning to manage their personal finances now means that students will be prepared when the time comes to set financial goals, follow best practices, and prevent and protect themselves against fraud and financial abuse. Understanding the fundamentals of budgeting, saving, debt, and investing is critical in every part of life and students require the knowledge and skills for making sound financial decisions, engaging in good saving habits, budgeting, and building a solid credit score. This program is especially helpful to individuals who are transitioning to postsecondary education and/or students with ADHD who may find managing finances particularly difficult due to challenges with procrastination, disorganization, and impulsivity.