An enquiry into the effects of a tutoring program on forty-eight disadvantaged students and their families

  • Robyn Pierce

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    This thesis focuses on two research questions: 1. What is the impact of Barnardos' Tutoring Program on the students involved? 2. How has the program influenced the parents, teachers and tutors? In examining the literature I have identified a complex set of dynamics that affects students' school performance. The themes of relevance to this study are: the concept of disadvantage and poverty; the role of literacy and numeracy in educational attainment; the importance of social acceptance for student well-being; aspects of mentoring and tutoring, and issues related to homework. In this study I examine the degree to which a tutor's involvement improves students' homework performance, literacy and numeracy, social skills and engagement with school. I also examine how the tutoring program enhances parents' involvement with their children's education. And I assess the tutors' contribution, the influence of the program on the teachers, and the implications for the program. My methods involved sending questionnaires out to 44 teachers,41 students,40 parents and 44 tutors. I also interviewed seven students under 10 years old. In addition to the questionnaires, I interviewed a core group of parents, students, teachers and tutors who had been involved with the program since 1999 (six tutors, five students, five parents and four teachers). My findings indicate that homework places considerable strain on students who do not have adequate resources or support available to them, in their homes, to undertake their homework tasks. Tutoring programs which take place outside of the school environment and which are based on the one-to-one principle of mentoring programs offer considerable benefits to students and their families. The study indicates that the tutoring program has brought about significant changes to the homes and the lives of the students. These changes include a greater engagement with learning and an increased interest in school. The students also have better relationships with their peers and feel that they are valued members of their class. The parents believe that they have the support that they need and as a result there is less tension in the home with regard to homework. The study also suggests that although the main role of the tutors is to help at-risk students with their homework and schoolwork, their role is much more diverse.
    Date of Award2004
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorJoe Murik (Supervisor) & Tony Spinks (Supervisor)

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