Manus Tutoring

Case Studies

1. Fourth-Grade Student with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Written Expression Disorder
2. Second-Grade Student with Reading Delays
3. Ninth-Grade Student with Weak Organizational and Study Skills
4. Tenth-Grade Home-School Student Having Trouble with Algebra 2

Fourth-Grade Student with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Written Expression Disorder

Jason was a fourth-grade student at a local public school. He was referred to us by a psychologist who tested him and diagnosed a written expression disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Jason’s school problems stemmed from his difficulty in these areas:

School was very stressful for Jason. He wanted to do well, but did not know how. He often came home from school upset. Getting him to do his homework usually resulted in a battle. When Jason and his mother met with us, they were both frustrated and worn-out. Our skill assessment and review of Jason’s school records resulted in this individualized instructional program:

Regular communication with Jason’s teacher allowed the tutor to determine Jason’s progress in using effective time management, organizational and study skills and those areas in which Jason needed continued training.

To help Jason and his mother re-establish the warm and nurturing relationship they had before the homework conflicts began, the tutor showed his mother how to effectively supervise Jason’s homework and study hour and help Jason when he needed assistance. The tutor also instructed Jason and his mother to report to her any problems they had concerning school. The tutor’s regular interventions and guidance helped the family manage school problems effectively and allowed them to focus on other activities besides schoolwork.

With ongoing support and coaching from his tutor, Jason began strengthening his writing skills and refining his homework and study habits. This led to higher grades, greater self-esteem and an overall improvement in how he felt about himself and his relationship with his family.

Second-Grade Student with Reading Delays

Jennifer was a second-grade student at a local private school. Her teacher referred her parents to us to determine why she continued to have problems with reading despite the additional reading instruction she received with an assistant at school. We tested Jennifer and discovered that she had underlying phonological processing weaknesses that interfered with her reading acquisition. She had difficulties in these areas:

We arranged a conference with Jennifer’s teacher and parents to review our recommendations. These recommendations included: a) accommodations to minimize the impairing effects that Jennifer’s language and reading delays were having on her school performance; b) intensive and one-to-one tutoring with us three times weekly; and c) parental reinforcement of skills at home.

Jennifer’s school accommodations involved:

Jennifer’s remedial work involved intensive practice in:

We measured Jennifer’s ongoing progress with these steps:

Jennifer’s parents supported the remedial efforts by incorporating these daily activities into their time together as a family in the evenings and on the weekends:

Our lead teacher joined Jennifer and her tutor in a lesson every few weeks during which she and the tutor analyzed the charts and graphs for progress and updated the program as needed. At the end of the school year, the lead teacher re-tested Jennifer to examine her long-term gains and determine which skills needed further strengthening.

Jennifer made substantial improvements in her language, reading and spelling skills and overall school performance. She started to read for recreation without being prompted and read for longer periods. One of Jennifer’s strengths was writing stories. With her increased spelling and expressive language skills, she felt more comfortable writing stories then reading them to her classmates.

Ninth-Grade Student with Weak Organizational and Study Skills

Brian was a ninth-grade student at a local public school. He was a skilled athlete who played on the high school football team in the fall and the basketball team in the winter. Up until sixth grade, Brian averaged A’s and B’s in school. Beginning in the seventh grade, his grades started to include a few C’s. In the eighth grade, he got his first D. In the ninth grade, Brian felt he was losing even more control over his schoolwork and didn't know how to stop his downward spiral.

At the beginning of the second quarter, Brian’s father asked if we could help Brian organize himself and learn some study skills. According to Brian’s teachers, Brian was capable of earning good grades if he just applied himself more to his schoolwork. He participated in class well and seemed to understand the material but did poorly on tests.

During our initial assessment of Brian, he demonstrated well-developed reading, written expression and math skills, although he had a tendency to make careless errors in math. He expressed himself well and seemed to have a good ability to focus and sustain attention. While Brian showed good skill development and capability in most academic areas, he did not know how to study or prepare for tests.

Brian showed the same pattern that many otherwise capable students have shown. They succeeded in elementary and early middle school because they participated in class well, learned the information and completed their homework. They did not study much for tests, but still scored well on them because they could manage the relatively small amount of information these tests covered. Once they reached high school, they did not realize that, to successfully handle the greater volume of material covered in class, they had to study in addition to completing homework.

We developed this homework and study skills coaching program for Brian:

During the first eight weeks of tutoring, Brian’s grades stabilized. They rose from mostly C’s and D’s to C’s and a few B’s. During the second school quarter, as Brian used effective strategies with greater efficiency, his grades continued to rise. He earned mostly B’s, but made a C in algebra, because of his tendency to make careless errors.

Brian’s tutor increased his training in using strategies to increase math accuracy and decrease careless errors. Toward the middle of the third quarter, instead of losing an average of twelve points per test because of careless errors, Brian lost an average of only four points per test. As Brian’s study habits strengthened with practice, his other grades continued to rise and he gained confidence in his ability to successfully manage his school responsibilities.

Tenth-Grade Home-School Student Having Trouble with Algebra 2

Belinda was a tenth-grade student working with her parents who home schooled her. She was learning most of her courses well but had trouble learning the second year of algebra. Belinda’s mother asked us to develop an instructional plan for Belinda that included review work, an algebra curriculum and strategies that would facilitate Belinda’s learning and long-term retention of the material.

The lead teacher briefly assessed Belinda’s math skills. The results indicated that Belinda had a fairly good math foundation but was weak in algebra 1 skills. The lead teacher developed a program that included several weeks of intensive review in algebra 1. She supplied Belinda’s mother with the curriculum then coached her to use teaching strategies that facilitated Belinda’s learning and retention. Over the course of three tutoring/coaching lessons with the lead teacher, Belinda began to use strategies effective for performing the review skills and Belinda’s mother became comfortable with teaching the skills and using the curriculum at home.

Several weeks later, Belinda successfully completed the algebra 1 review. She and her mother returned to Manus Academy to work on the first several lessons of algebra 2 with the lead teacher. During these joint tutoring sessions, the lead teacher continued to model effective teaching strategies for Belinda’s mother and study skills for Belinda. Belinda and her mother then continued the algebra lessons at home and checked in with the lead teacher once a month.
  
Because Belinda was responding well to the instructional plan, the lead teacher set the bar for mastery of algebra 2 at 90%. This meant that Belinda had to complete each lesson with at least 90% accuracy before continuing with the next lesson. She also had to score at least 90% on the final exam.

Belinda performed very well on the classwork, quizzes and lessons tests. Her early unit test scores were lower than 90%; therefore, she had to return to previous lessons and practice certain skills further, until she demonstrated proficiency. As she progressed through the lessons, she became more adept at using strategies that increased long-term retention and was well prepared to take the final exam at the end of the course.

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