MCPS launches free 24/7 online tutoring services
February 25, 2021
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) recently launched a free 24/7 online tutoring service for students in grades 3 to 12.
The service, held on Tutorme.com, features free material in over 300 subjects, including SAT and ACT test prep. According to a county message, the content “aligns with the MCPS curriculum, including knowledge of new curriculum tools being implemented now.”
Tutees will have an online lesson space with a virtual whiteboard, audio and video chat, and a function for sharing screenshots with tutors.
What may have necessitated this new service? Not all students find ease in online learning, and it has taken a toll on academics not just in RM but all over the country.
“I know a couple of people outside of the RM community who have difficulties with online school either because it is harder to pay attention or harder in general, or because of the lack of resources to actively be engaged,” sophomore Katherine Beza said.
“I think many people are not able to learn or comprehend as much from online learning just because of the format,” an anonymous junior said. “Learning from a screen and online assignments can be straining. I know my teachers are trying their best to provide the same content that would usually be provided, but there simply isn’t enough time to learn everything.”
According to USA Today, online learning has caused many students to fall behind, fail, or not show up at all. Researchers at Stanford University analyzed NWEA scores and found that the average student lost a third of a year to a full year’s worth of English and language arts learning, and about three-quarters to more than a year’s worth for math.
This is an interesting figure, as RM students have expressed struggling particularly in math class in their online learning.
“Some classes, like AP BC Calculus, simply have too much content to cover in a live session,” the student said.
“The class I struggled the most with during the first semester was my precalc class,” Beza said. “But now that second semester has started, I have gotten used to online learning and I have found habits that work the best for me so everything is better now.”
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute reports that online tutoring is in fact an effective remedy to student struggles in face of school closures: “Around the country, schools are considering tutoring to address the problems brought about by the pandemic,” an article said. One-on-one tutoring is particularly useful because the pedagogue is individually acquainted with the student’s weaknesses and misconceptions.
“Students who fell behind specifically due to school closures may benefit from high-dosage tutoring in the short term,” the institute reports. Moreover, a study from 2016 found that tutoring makes the biggest impact on ninth and tenth graders.
“I think the online service will be pretty helpful since students will be able to ask questions whenever they want,” the junior said. “I’ve never used it, though, and I’m not sure if I need to because right now I already have a lot of resources available to me.”
“I think it will be really useful for older students because they can pay attention for longer than younger students and it is also an online resource for test prep like the SAT and ACT,” Beza said. “I checked it out just to see what they offer, and I don’t plan on using it for school subjects because it’s a little hard to navigate through, but I’ll definitely use it to prepare for the different standardized tests. Overall it is a nice resource to check and it could be really helpful for others.”
A demo of the tutoring service is available here.