The ACT Test is Going Digital

online tutoring image 1Beginning as soon as the spring of 2015, the ACT college admissions test will be administered digitally. Digital testing can provide faster results — in minutes versus two to six weeks — for both students and colleges.

Since the ACT is designed to test students’ high school learning and reasoning skills, it is already well aligned with the overwhelming adoption of Common Core across all but a few states. The online test version will still have sections to measure math, science, reading and English understanding, along with an optional writing section.

But according to the announcement made yesterday, while the digital tests will still feature a multiple-choice format, they will be expanded to include interactive sections. For example, students might conduct virtual experiments with beakers of chemicals in a simulated science lab, or explain concepts in their own words. The hope is that these “constructed-response” questions will engage students and make them more enthusiastic about the testing process. (If it doesn’t just make them more nervous than they are already.)

The “other” major high-stakes college admissions test, the SAT, recently announced changes in its format. Currently, about the same number of students take the SAT and ACT tests in their paper-based formats. But the ACT has been providing testing services to a number of states that are using computers for statewide testing, and is probably ahead of the SAT in that arena.
Most high school students are presumably comfortable enough with computing technology to embrace the shift to digital testing, and “all the anecdotal evidence is that students prefer the computer,” according to Jon Erickson, president of ACT’s education division. But the paper “fill-in-the-bubble” tests will still be available for those who prefer that format. One reason for this, says Mr. Ericson, is that “We don’t want to measure a student’s computer skills or fears.”

Another reason why ACT will implement digital testing gradually is that it needs time to iron out technical problems. For example, online testing was recently suspended in Kentucky after a series of performance and connectivity glitches, and students who have yet to complete their required end-of-course testing in Common Core subjects (English II, algebra II, biology and US history) will need to take the traditional pencil-and-paper format exam instead.

ACT said that the number of students taking the exams had overloaded its online testing system, but that fixing it was simply a matter of adding additional capacity. About 60% of Kentucky’s school districts were planning to use the online testing system, versus about 35% in 2012. Schools now will be challenged to conduct paper-based testing in time to factor the results into students’ final grades.

Besides Kentucky, several other states also had difficulties with their year-end exams due to the AT online testing systems. A number of ancillary issues also remain unresolved with the digital testing process, such as whether students will be able to use their own devices for testing.
What do you think about the online administration of high-stakes tests, including “instant feedback” on the results? For me, once technical issues are resolved there doesn’t seem to be much of a downside for students. What issues do you see that I’m perhaps overlooking?

Reposted from Socrato

Posted in Education, Online Tutoring, Parents, Students, Test Prep / Testing, Tutoring, Tutors

How the Web Changes How We Think

Posted in Education, Online Tutoring, Parents, Students, Teaching, Tutoring, Tutors
Tagged , , , , ,

Spring Tutoring Discount

education-420x0If you are interested in some tutoring this spring April 1st – May 30th, follow the following instructions:

First session (1-hour) free and second session half off with minimum of 5 pre-paid sessions.

Price for 5 sessions dependent upon your tutor’s hourly rate. All tutors determine their own rates.

To qualify for the discount:

  1. Click on our Like button on our homepage:
  2. Then create a PARENT ACCOUNT at
  3. Then write in the first word of the title of this blog article in the promo code field at the bottom of the Create an Account page.


Offer ends May 30th (all payments for tutorials after this date must be received by May 30th.)

Posted in Education, Parents, Students

College Board Announces Plans to Overhaul the SAT

SATDavid Coleman, the new president of the College Board, the nonprofit that owns the SAT college admissions exam, announced on February 25 in an e-mail to the organization’s members that the test will be redesigned in “an ambitious effort” to more comprehensively address “the core set of knowledge and skills” that are most important to success in college.

Mr. Coleman was a co-author of the Common Core Standards and stated shortly after taking the post that he had concerns about the relevance of some parts of the SAT to students’ lives. So it’s perhaps not surprising that he is beginning to move forward with plans to make key changes. His letter to members states, in part:

In the months ahead, the College Board will begin an effort in collaboration with its membership to redesign the SAT so that it better meets the needs of students, schools, and colleges at all levels. We will develop an assessment that mirrors the work that students will do in college so that they will practice the work they need to do to complete college. An improved SAT will strongly focus on the core knowledge and skills that evidence shows are most important to prepare students for the rigors of college and career.

No specific changes or timeframes for new versions have yet been announced. However, Mr. Coleman in his e-mail described “three broad objectives that will drive our work” on redesigning the SAT:

  1. Increase the value of the SAT to students by focusing on a core skill set that is key to college and career success, so that preparing for the SAT in effect helps prepare students for college.
  2. Improve how well the SAT meets the needs of admissions offers and others who are using the test to help determine who they will admit to their institutions.
  3. “Strengthen the alignment of the SAT to college and career readiness,” so that it is more relevant to teachers, counselors, administrators and others in the US educational system who are trying to not only improve curriculum and instruction, but also to guide students around college and career readiness.

The stated goals of the SAT are to “democratize access to higher education for all students,” as well to measure preparedness for college and a predictor of success in college. As such, it is aligned to the Common Core standards, yet is also subject to revision to keep up with changes in the needs of the marketplace.

The SAT was last modified in 2005, when at essay question was added. At that time analogies were eliminated, because it was determined that they didn’t reflect modern high school curricula. The math section was expanded to align better with typical high school Algebra II type courses and the total possible score raised from 1600 to 2400.

Overall, based on comments I saw online it seemed that university officials and students viewed the broad-brush changes positively. The College Board plans to hold meetings throughout the nation to solicit input on the SAT’s redesign.

In my next post to this blog I’ll dig into why the ACT might be overtaking the SAT in terms of popularity with students.

Submitted by way of  Socrato.

Posted in Education, Parents, Students, Test Prep / Testing, Tutors

How can testimonials help clients?

Parent / Student TestimonialsI had been struggling with this issue of testimonials, and then I had a breakthrough.

I DIDN’T want to ask people to toot my horn, I wanted them offered freely.  And I also realize, when I thought about testimonials I’d read, many of them didn’t inspire me.

And I thought about the times when people have offered appreciation for my work, and even times when I’ve gotten to see clearly that I was giving immense value, even if the person I was helping didn’t have a clue about what was going on.  Sometimes I’d hear from them months later and they’d say, “Now I really appreciate what you said, and the other people I thought were helping me ended up not to be doing what they seemed to do.”  Sometimes things they’ve said, even criticisms, have clarified for me what I offer and helped me to sense my value many times more powerfully than what I even had had awareness of.

This gave me the idea that I want–a new kind of testimonial.

Something that is inherently meaningful and informative, inspiring, uplifting, clarifying. Not merely praising something in a general way, but adding to the conversation in a second voice, and helping a user of the product or service offered to understand it more fully and then be able to make more use of it than she/he could before.

Testimonials about some of my favorite innovative resources have also occasionally been very helpful too–sometimes they’ve helped me understand or trust the value or potential application of the resource being talked about more strongly or more clearly than I’d understood or trusted it before.  Hearing another’s experience reinforced my own trust of my experience.

Many testimonials have not.  I’ve read them and thought, Wow, that’s really vague, or, It really looks like the person just asked for testimonials and got some and hammered them into place and they’re just kind of taking up space.  Woudln’t it be nice if that person had felt free to just shelve the whole matter and ignore the advice of “You have to have testimonials”?

But what has been never has to determine what will be.

So I asked several of my former students for feedback, straight and simple.  How are you doing?  How did the work we did impact things for you in the long term, in the years since we worked together?  And if I sensed they were open to it, I asked in some way for them to share their story of learning to think deliberately, or of learning to write what they really thought.  What was it like before, what happened, and what is it like now?

I feel really good about this innovation, if it is one, or reinvention if others have done it before.


I also would like to add that  when I asked Henry (Tutoring Match’s Director) for some input about this, he helpfully suggested that people would appreciate having their opinions valued.  And, ironically, a few days after I put up some testimonials on my profile, my own teacher asked me for testimonials for her web site.  And I was glad to be asked.

I was glad to have an opportunity to reflect on and articulate precisely what it was about the lessons (in Alexander Technique) that had been benefitting me, and what it was about the modality itself that worked for me.  More even than expressing my own opinion, I was glad to be able to focus more on what was of use to me.  I believe I will be more focused on getting out of the lessons what I desire most, out of the panoply of possible benefits.

I’ll close with a little feedback to my Inner Teacher: I appreciate the precision with which you match what you offer to the desires I have to learn, with how you find what’s outside the box as well as what’s in it, and how you are indifferent to the box.  I love that you find many wonderful things in many boxes that others have drawn, and then when time comes for me to expand to find more learning, you give me a clear nudge toward, “There’s more than this.”  Infinite knowledge really is available to humanity, you tell me, there is always more to learn.

Posted in Education, Tutor Marketing, Tutors


1. “Many persons believe that to move up the ladder of success and achievement, they must forget the past, repress it, and relinquish it. But others have just the opposite view. They see old memories as a chance to reckon with the past and integrate past and present.” — Adapted from Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, I’ve Known Rivers: Lives of Loss and Liberation

Assignment: Do memories hinder or help people in their effort to learn from the past and succeed in the present? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.




  • Some people and places have reputations that are greater than they deserve.
  • Some people and places have reputations that are less than they deserve.

Assignment: Choose one person or place that would illustrate one of these two statements. Then write an essay showing why you feel the person or the place is overrated. Consider carefully the following statement and the assignment below it. Then plan and write your essay as directed.


3. “Once a person’s mind has been stretched by a new idea, it will never return to its original shape.”

Assignment: Select a book you have read, an idea you have discovered, or a specific experience you have had. Write an essay explaining how this book, idea, or experience has had a lasting effect on you.

SAT essay Topics


4. I have experienced various things that have made me feel worthwhile, but I have never felt better than when ________.

Assignment: Write an essay completing this statement. Be sure to explain the reasons for your choice.


5. “There’s no success like failure.”

What is your view on the idea that success can begin with failure?

Assignment: In an essay, support your position using an example (or examples) from literature, the arts, history, current events, politics, science and technology, or from your personal experience or observation.


6. “Some people believe that war is never justified. Other people believe that war is justified under certain circumstances.”

Are people motivated to achieve by personal satisfaction rather than by money or fame?

Assignment: Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.


7. “That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly. It is dearness only which gives everything its value.” – Thomas Paine

Assignment: Do we value only what we struggle for? Plan your response, and then write an essay to explain your views on this issue. Be sure to support your position with specific points and examples. (You may use personal examples or examples from your reading, observations, or, knowledge of subjects such as history, literature, science.)


8. If we are afraid to reveal our lack of knowledge we will not be able to learn. In order to make progress we must admit where we are now. Such an admission of ignorance is not easy.  As Thoreau says, “How can we remember our ignorance which our growth requires, when we are using our knowledge all the time?”

Assignment: Does the present system of education encourage us to admit our lack of knowledge, or is there too much pressure to demonstrate the acquisition of knowledge? Plan your response…


9. “A little inaccuracy saves a world of explanation.” ~ C.E.Ayers

Assignment: Is it always essential to tell the truth, or are there circumstances in which it is better to lie? Plan your response…


10. Many societies believe that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human right. But it is also true that attainment of happiness remains elusive. Perhaps Bertrand Russell had it right when he said, “To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.”

Assignment: What gives us more pleasure and satisfaction: the pursuit of our desires or the attainment of them? Plan your response…


11. “The price of greatness is responsibility.” ~ Winston Churchill

Assignment: Do we expect too much from our public figures? Plan your response…


12. Prompt: “A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.” ~ Alexander Pope

Assignment: Do we learn more from finding out that we have made mistakes or from our successful actions? Plan your response…


13. Prompt: “What man calls civilization always results in deserts. Man is never on the square – he uses up the fat and greenery of the earth. Each generation wastes a little more of the future with greed and lust for riches.” ~ Don Marquis

Assignment:  With our modern awareness of ecology are we likely to make sufficient progress in conservation, or are we still in danger of damaging the earth beyond repair? Plan your response…


14.  “A man who waits to believe in action before acting is anything you like, but he is not a man of action. It is as if a tennis player before returning the ball stopped to think about his views of the physical and mental advantages of tennis. You must act as you breathe.” ~ Georges Clemenceau

Assignment: Is it true that acting quickly and instinctively is the best response to a crisis? Or are there times when an urgent situation requires a more careful consideration and a slower response? Plan your response…


15. There is usually a kernel of truth in the words Oscar Wilde puts in the mouth of his most outrageous characters – they wouldn’t be funny otherwise. One such gem that is worth pondering is: The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.

Assignment: Is it true that when we most need advice we are least willing to listen to it? Or is good advice always welcome? Plan your response…


16. “Independence? That’s middle class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.” Bernard Shaw expected to provoke controversy with these words, but I would agree with him that these days there is too much emphasis on independence. While it is certainly true that excessive dependence on others is not a sign of maturity, total independence of others is neither attainable nor desirable: we need to be mature, and unselfish enough to recognize our interdependence.

Assignment: Do we put too much emphasis on self-reliance and independence, and are we afraid of admitting that we need other people in our lives? Plan your response…


17. “Many persons believe that to move up the ladder of success and achievement, they must forget the past, repress it, and relinquish it. But others have just the opposite view. They see old memories as a chance to reckon with the past and integrate past and present.”  ~ Adapted from Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, I’ve Known Rivers: Lives of Loss and Liberation

Assignment: Do memories hinder or help people in their effort to learn from the past and succeed in the present? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.


Posted in English, Parents, Students, Test Prep / Testing, Tutoring

SAT ACT Test Prep in Fairfield, CT Spring ’13

Our results-oriented SAT / ACT test programs focus on strategies, tips and shortcuts and are designed to help students master the complexities of the test and develop skills to identify distracters (wrong answers) to thereby arrive at the correct answer.

SAT Prep

Crunch Time -Accurate1

ACT Prep

Initial Sign-up:


  • To reserve a seat and a particular session, full payment must be received (by mail, by phone, online, or in person) prior to the first session.
Payment Method: 
  • check – received no later than a week before the start of a session or with a validated credit card number as security
  • credit card (3%-5% added for processing costs depending on the card type)
  • debit card
  • cash
  • online through Bill and Pay call us so we can send you an invitation.
    • credit card
    • debit card
    • direct withdrawal from savings or checking account.

Discount / Refund:

  • If a group enlarges to 5 students before the first session, each student will receive the price difference at the end of the course.
  • All students who join after the diagnostic test, must pay full price no matter what the group size.
  • If a reservation deposit is received after the group size exceeds 8 students, the student may be directed to choose another time slot.
  • No refunds for missed sessions.
  • No students will be admitted after the second session of any course.
  • Late enrollees (after the diagnostic test) must pay full cost of program no matter what the size of the group.
Instructor: Henry Lane
Posted in Education, Parents, Students, Test Prep / Testing, Tutoring
Tagged , , , , ,

Tutor Impressed – Perplexing Position

perplexedFrom: Nannette S.
Sent: Saturday, February 02, 2013 8:18 AM
Subject: RE: Your future is pretty clear. Take a look…


I wanted to find out if it is possible to suspend my membership, vs. withdrawing? I completely understand and appreciate the ongoing push to have your tutors more aggressively solicit new students through upgrading/revising their profiles. However, as I shared back in November, I also understand that for the time being your company has very limited exposure in the Baltimore area. I believe that there are only 2 other tutors listed for the entire state of Maryland. I don’t see this as a problem! Quite the contrary! I think it’s amazing that company based  in CT has any connections in Maryland :) From my first phone interview, I was very impressed with the organization of the company. That’s why I invested time in setting up my profile. But the reality is that in this market, Tutoring Match is competing with MANY more companies based here in the Baltimore/Washington area and potential for new clients is limited. My personal limitations with regard to ages, subjects and distance, make my potential client base even smaller. But I don’t want to remove my profile. Even though it took more than 2 years to find a match, the client I had last year was a perfect fit! So I’d like to suspend my profile for a while. I may eventually consider being a video tutor and/or your company may find a way to take a larger share of the competitive Baltimore market. I would therefore prefer to keep my profile, but designate it as “inactive”, for the time being.

If this is not a viable plan, I understand. I would love to keep my options open, but continuing to update my profile doesn’t seem practical until the potential for local clients has increased. I will accept and respect whatever decision you make. I look forward to your response.


Nannette S.


Hi Nannette,

Really appreciate your thoughtful response though we are perplexed.

Not sure why you would want your profile to be inactive unless you are not taking any students. Being inactive won’t help you or us. Here is your profile:

The only additions you need to your profile to stay active is:

  • Add 35 more words to your narrative; include a quote
  • Either indicate the tool you want to use for your online tutoring or deselect the online tutoring option.

Certainly, we will deactivate if that is your desire and wish you the best of success in the future.

And we, too, are caught in a bind…a Catch 22 of sorts… because we have discovered that many tutors have this approach / mentality / rationalization that they won’t upgrade their profile until Tutoring Match finds them more students and tutorials. But what many don’t realize is that it is their profile is what attracts the students. Yes, the student you found came through our site and because of our efforts to market in your area, but you had the best profile…. and this is true for most of the tutoring comes to those tutors who actually invest in themselves by creating credibility and take advantage of our marketing tools.

So, many tutors tell us that they aren’t interested in upgrading their profiles or their memberships until they start getting students directed to them. This makes no sense to us and is backward thinking in our minds because if they started attracting students WITHOUT taking the time and care to create an attractive online persona, then why would they then want to build a more attractive presence?

The even more perplexing perspective / logic(?) is that many tutors conclude that because they didn’t attract any students with their bare bones profile, they explain it as our company is what doesn’t work and why they don’t want to invest in something that doesn’t work. What they fail to comprehend is that one can’t win the lottery without investing something, one can’t attract a significant other unless one gets dolled up, and one can’t get hired for a significant job unless he/she appears professional.

What numerous tutors don’t seem to realize is that what attracts parents isn’t our site as much as it is the quality of a tutor’s profile. And your profile is what got you your tutorial. It attracted the client because it shows your attention to creating a powerful image…it is impressive and well done.

Again, thanks for your support.

Henry D. Lane

Founder / Owner / Director
Tutoring Match

Posted in Tutor Marketing, Tutoring, Tutors

Your Tutor is in the Country

What Inner Resources a Calm Tutor Brings to the Table

by Joshua Myrvaagnes

When asked to contribute blog entries to this site, I had a feeling of excitement about getting to share about my work in a way that ordinarily I have not had occasion to do. There is so much more that goes into the work of tutoring than is visible to the student, and even less is visible to the parent, who is rarely present, but might have more perspective and capacity to appreciate the art of this work. So what I am going to share here is both very personal and very different from what one might expect to hear from a tutor.

And this was not what I had planned to talk about, at all. Ordinarily I would not discuss this, but simply go about using it quietly, hoping its usefulness will be felt without calling too much attention to itself. However, when I asked myself what to talk about in my article this week, an image immediately came to mind, with great force and emotion, of a place I will describe below. And I knew this was what was right to talk about.

Early on in embarking on the path of tutoring I asked the creative part of my psyche for an intuition about how to proceed. The answer I got was an image of extreme peacefulness of a scene in the countryside, a stone wall with trees beyond it, open grass among them, perfect balance. There will hills around this area, covered in taller, thicker grass, and a sensation of perfect balance to the surroundings, as if the rhythm of one who lived here would automatically be influenced by it to feel much simpler and much freer. The feeling was so expansive and energizing that I had the thought, “I feel as if I were actually in the country at this moment, rather than in the city. If only I could give this feeling to my students, they would benefit tremendously by being given a breath of fresh air in this way, and would in that calm environment be able to think so much more clearly.”

But how to go about this?

I’d love to be able to tell you that I know exactly how to do this, and that I am able to reproduce in my students the exact feeling of peacefulness, expansiveness, and clarity that I am able to experience myself. To cut and paste the image, as it were, from my mind’s eye into theirs. But I’d be lying if I said I had the answers at this time to these questions of how to go about this. I believe this belief that one can simply “cut and paste” is a delusion that teachers have been wrestling with since the time of Socrates and before.

I do, however, know what not to do.

I know that if I tell a student to picture himself or herself in the country, many will simply feel manipulated or resistant. It’s out of the flow, and I can feel it. I have tried out on one occasion a guided visualization for a student diagnosed with ADHD, but it seemed not to be very effective for his subsequent performance. And anyway my gut feeling has said not to push anything. So instead I confine myself to asking questions, since asking questions opens the way for the student to focus in a certain way without attempting to require this. It is essential when I work that I respect the natural flow of interest or indifference.

I also have the strong sense that any question that asks a student to focus too far away from her/his immediate state of tension does little, and only a more general question, more open-ended, can be of use to the student. On occasion I can provide a question; but it is far more important that I be sensitive to the flow of the lesson and the direction of the students’ energy and interest. Forcing anything will always backfire.

But more than what it does for the student, I want to talk about how this affects me, how it adds to my capacity to be present, since this is the area I can speak about with most certainty.

Many factors contribute to the distraction I could feel, were it not for the tools I have for responding to the situation, when I go to a students’ house to tutor: I have found my way, often in an unfamiliar neighborhood by way of complex transportation systems; I am sitting in a stranger’s house; I am expected to deliver a result even though I do not have control over the effort the student chooses or does not choose to make; I am working for someone who is not paying me yet am paid by someone who is not present and only assesses my work at a remove; etc. One part of how I respond to these stimuli is to ask myself what my intuitive brain is telling me in this moment. And the response generally has always been a place in nature, somewhat more peaceful than my physical surroundings although rarely one as vivid as the countryside image above, yet nevertheless one which gives a measure of ease in the moment, allowing me to be more clear-headed and present.

It is my strong belief, and is evidenced by my experience, that my alertness to and sensitivity to the subtle nuances of my students’ thinking is of great value to the student. The student will experience being validated rather than violated (to borrow a phrase from the book on management consulting and thinking, Breaking the Rules, by Kurt Wright) in these more subtle areas of her/his thinking.

My body language too communicates what I am really thinking about you, more than my words. My body language–whether serene or agitated–accounts for much of communication (I have heard a commonly quoted figure of 93%–that only 7% of communication is verbal). I can attest to the importance of this for my own learning. And as a tutor, I can either be a steady reminder of the possibility of remaining very calm in the midst of the work, or I can reinforce the message that agitation is the only available response. The constant, nonverbal reinforcement of the idea that calm is possible has been of enormous value to me in my learning, and I strongly believe it provides an environment conducive to high level learning for my students. One student wrote a piece shortly after we began working together in which he described feeling for the first time that a work of human creation rivaled the creations of nature; I am convinced that for him to share, even perhaps to access, this thought, I had to be doing my part in the partnership (and at least not doing harm).

Lastly, more often than the state I happen to be in during a lesson, my ability to respond to critical moments–my readiness to move into a state of openness–is the offering I bring to the table. Having prepared the neural pathways for accessing a state of pastoral peacefulness, I am prepared for those critical moments. In being “heard” with openness, a student learns to trust his/her own inner resources more fully. This is what I found most essential to my growth as a writer and thinker.

Another answer I have at this time to the question of how to provide an optimal environment for clarity of focus to my students is that I can talk about what I envision in an article such as this present one, to bring awareness of this idea to the parents of the student. Too many parents I have witnessed are stressed themselves and under great time pressures; many do not have the time or emotional reserves to be present and hear at an extremely high level. And even those who arefeeling calm enough to be very present can benefit from the reminder of what it feels like to be in the country. Perhaps this can help bring some ease into the parents’ day, and can facilitate their supporting more access to clarity for the students as they go about envisioning how best to support the students’ development.

Again, this subject contains more unanswered questions than answers, but I know strongly and clearly the value of asking these questions, and also that the beginning of the answers is already helping me serve my students with greater precision than if I had not put the focus into this line of inquiry.

Posted in Parents, Tutoring, Tutors

Pro Membership Giveaway Winner

First, we would like to thank all of you dedicated  tutors for responding to our emails!

We can’t wait to collaborate with you to grow Tutoring Match’s network!

And our random giveaway winner is:

Nataly V. from Lowel, MA 
ONE YEAR of PRO Membership
              Click image to view profile.
Posted in Online Tutoring, Tutor Marketing, Tutoring, Tutors