My tutors are evaluated in four ways:

1. They self-assess.  During the first third of the semester, tutors complete a two-step self-assessment to help them focus on what they learned in training and set goals for improvement.  Here's what I have them do:  They choose a session and complete a self-assessment worksheet.  They are asked to set a specific goal for improvement.  About a week or two later, they choose another tutoring session and complete a second self-assessment based on that.  The second one asks them all the same questions as the first, except it also asks them to comment specifically on their progress toward the goal they set for themselves.  Both sheets come to me.
2. They observe each other and give/receive feedback.  During the middle third of the semester, every tutor watches two other tutors conduct an entire, 60-minute tutoring session, and they complete a peer observation worksheet that prompts them to pay attention to certain elements, comment on strengths, and make suggestions for improvement.  Everybody also gets watched twice, so they receive as much feedback as they give.  I create the observation schedule so that new tutors have a chance to watch someone else before they are watched.  To the extent possible, I also try to match up people who tutor similar subjects.  Worksheets are handed in to me, and I scan them and email them to the tutors who were observed.
3. I observe them.  During the final third of the semester (we're starting later this week), I observe every tutor conduct an entire, 60-minute tutoring session from beginning to end.  I complete an observation sheet similar to the self-assessment and peer observation worksheets they have been using all semester.  I have between 23 and 28 tutors on staff each semester, so it takes a lot of time, but it's worth it.  I will admit I find it very difficult to provide written feedback promptly, but fortunately my tutors are all pretty great, and I rarely see something in dire need of correction.
4. I provide an annual evaluation on the form required by the college for hourly employees.  Whereas my supervisory observation is meant to observe just their actual tutoring techniques, their annual performance evaluation also asks me to comment on punctuality, attitude, dependability, etc.

I was in the session Dorothy mentions, and I heard the woman's question and the discussion that followed.  While everybody's methods are not my methods, and I don't want to pile on someone who may just have been making a rookie mistake, I must agree with Kelly and Dorothy that using student grades to decide whether to reappoint a tutor may be ill-advised.  I can't imagine ever making a personnel decision based on whether a tutor's students are passing their classes or not if I have observed with my own eyes that the tutor knows their course content and their techniques are sound.



524 W 59 ST
NEW YORK, NY 10019

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Briggs, Dorothy A - (dabriggs)
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 10:53 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Tutor Evaluation -- open for discussion!

Several years ago I wrote an article for the CRLA Learning Assistance Center Management Special Interest Group newsletter about evaluating tutors.  It generated some discussion and sharing of ideas.

Last week, at the Redrock Conference a woman asked for a TutorTrac report that showed student grade and tutor's name.  Someone in the group asked her why she needed such a report.  She replied that she wanted to use it to evaluate her tutors.  Kelly Corder, the CEO of Redrock, sagely commented that he was not aware of a correlation between student grades and tutor.  The woman responded with, "if the tutor met with 10 students and they all failed I'd want to look more closely at that tutor."

That comment has been echoing in my mind for the last 4 days.  Because it is nearing the end of the semester for many of us, maybe it's time we begin a discussion of effective ways to evaluate tutors.  The discussion can benefit us all.  How do you evaluate your tutoring staff?  Have your methods changed over time?


Dorothy  Briggs
Certified Learning Center Professional-Level 3 Director, THINK TANK

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