UBC Graduate Research

Private supplementary tutoring in a Vancouver independent school Gale, Trevor


Private supplementary tutoring is an increasing part of the educational landscape in Canada. There is a great deal of literature from around the world investigating different aspects of the tutoring phenomenon, however there are not many studies utilizing recent Canadian data or focusing on how tutoring relates to a single institution or its implications for school administrations. This paper presents a detailed study of the use of tutoring in the senior division of a single independent school. A survey of parents provided data on gender, grade, citizenship, language spoken at home in relation to different subjects tutored, forms of tutoring, time spent tutoring and reasons for undertaking tutoring. The resulting data was analyzed and compared to the wider literature to identify patterns that were broadly similar to the studies for the wider Canadian experience, but with local variations specific to the school. The school on the whole had a higher rate of tutoring than the Canadian average. The time spent in tutoring increased with grade level and the pending examinations. The subjects being tutored were similar to those reported in studies from around the world. One-to-one tutoring was the most common method of receiving tutoring. Students from East Asian cultural backgrounds tended to have higher levels of tutoring in terms of the numbers of subjects and hours per week. The study provides an opportunity for school administrations to reflect on policy and procedures regarding tutoring and develop ways to support students who are accessing outside providers of tutoring services.

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