Students struggle in math and have gaps in their learning for a variety of reasons: lack of self-efficacy, challenges with focus and staying on task, mindset, difficulty processing information at the same rate as their peers, and inadequate practice to master concepts and skills. Studies have consistently highlighted the fact that low achievement in math at the secondary school level can often be traced to deficits in the understanding of certain basic concepts taught in elementary school. These concepts include procedural and conceptual knowledge. Research also supports the benefits of math fluency—the combined abilities of efficiency, accuracy, number sense, automaticity, and cognitive flexibility. Students can get bogged down with too many steps, lose track of logic and strategy, find it challenging to choose the appropriate strategy to solve a problem, or have gaps in their working knowledge of number facts. Research on cognitive load supports the idea that we all have a limited capacity for working memory and that math fluency reduces cognitive load, allowing resources to be freed up for more complex math tasks.
At Evoke, our math programs give students the extra time to learn these important skills and concepts and address their learning deficits, bridging the gap for students who are behind in math and ensuring that the learning gap doesn’t widen.
Current research highlights the finding that students who have accrued math deficits benefit from more explicit instruction using highly structured and sequenced steps,with modeling and guided opportunities for practice followed by autonomous practice.
Students begin programming with a math diagnostic assessment to pinpoint the specific concepts and curriculum expectations with which they are struggling. The assessment takes approximately one hour to complete and includes a written report that identifies the student’s strengths, deficit areas, recommendations for next steps, and priority areas for remediation or tutoring. The information from the math diagnostic assessment is helpful in guiding our tutors so that they may effectively and efficiently develop skill acquisition and application and build fluency. The math diagnostic also helps to guide our remediation approach and customize the student’s learning and success plan.
Evoke’s math remediation program focuses on identifying and remediating academic gaps in math for students in Grades 3 through 12, promoting the development of mathematical reasoning, fostering understanding with less memorization, and helping students develop efficient strategies for solving problems. The program begins with a diagnostic assessment. This assessment allows us to pinpoint the specific concepts and curriculum expectations with which the student is struggling. The information also helps to guide our tutors so that they may effectively and efficiently bring the student up to grade level. Math is like a hierarchy and having a solid understanding of current grade concepts will assist the student in navigating the curriculum in their next grade. The tutor will focus on re-teaching the most critical concepts. All our sessions are one-to-one; we do not offer group programming.
For students struggling to understand current grade-level mathematical concepts, or who have fallen slightly behind because of struggles with online learning, Evoke’s tutoring program re-teaches concepts and material that the student may have missed, supporting them at their current grade level. We assist students with the completion of math assignments and homework to ensure they understand the academic content of their current classwork and prepare them for upcoming tests and exams.Our tutors use research-informed instructional strategies, structure, differentiation, and progress monitoring to ensure students understand math concepts and develop mastery. Current research highlights the effectiveness of one-to-one tutoring, with ongoing assessment to inform instructional efforts,in consistently improvingstudent academic achievement (Fuchs et al, 2011).
Tutoring focuses primarily on current grade level academic content to ensure the student understands the concepts and material relevant to their current grade level. Tutoringinvolves the student's day-to-day schoolwork and may include some "catch-up" opportunities if they have missed some informationbecause of illness or online learning challenges.The tutor explains the material in more detail or by re-teaching it to the student. The focus of tutoring is primarily content in orientation.
In contrast, remediation focuses on identifying and remediating gaps in math from previous academic years to help close them. Remediation is helpful for students who have demonstrated persistent difficulty with math, those who have struggled significantly with online learning, and for students whose performance is significantly below grade level. This approach is more intensive.
Evoke uses research-informed approaches and cognitive science in our programming and instruction. We believe there are barriers to learning and situations that hold individuals back, and that it is our job to understand their needs, determine those barriers, and help students address them. We believe in the science of learning, and that it takes time and requires effort and practice. Evoke’s approach to tutoring includes the use of effective research-informed methods for supporting and improving the performance of neurodiverse learners, such as explicit instruction when teaching specific concepts, procedures, strategies and rules, and reciprocal teaching.The student’s neurobiology is taken into consideration when creating their individualized learning plan to ensure students with reduced working memory are supported and the student’s overall cognitive load is reduced.
Current studies have found that interactive online math tutoring results in learning and achievement benefits for underperforming students (Beal, Walles, Arroyo, & Woolf, 2007; Chappell, Nunnery, Pribesh, & Hager, 2011; Nguyen & Kulm, 2005). Tutoring online allows us to provide more than just instructional support. Evoke’stutors canconnect withstudents from busy families, those living in isolated areas that do not have access to local tutoring support, and students who prefer the privacy of online tutoring. In fact, a meta-analysis of out-of-school-time math tutoring indicated that organizations offering online math tutoring had a larger effect size than those providing only face-to face services (Chappell et al., 2011). A study by Beal et al. (2007) revealed that students showed significant improvement on math problems after receiving online interactive tutoring. These findings suggest that students benefit from consistent, online, real-time math tutoring (Nguyen & Kulm, 2005). In fact, studies also reveal that students struggling with mathematics achievement benefit the most from online tutoring (Maloy, Razzaq, & Edwards, 2014; Beal et al, 2007). Students participating in online math tutoring can benefit from as little as 50 minutes per week (Clark and Whetstone, 2014)!
Evoke’s math tutors are well-qualified and well-trained teachers and paraprofessionals who have completed pure math programs at the university level. Some of them have completed postgraduate degrees and are very knowledgeable about math content and curriculum. This allows them to teach using a variety of explanations and representations to develop mathematical understanding. Our tutors are aware of when and how to press students, which resources to use, and how to use strategic questioning in lieu of providing answers. At Evoke we understand how important it is to cultivate positive relationships with our learners.