Improving Academic Performance

Learning Specialist - Isn’t that just a tutor?

Posted by Lisa Alvarado on Mon, Jan 16, 2017 @ 10:00 AM


Tutors have existed for as long as man. Elders helping the younger generation learn the skill sets necessary to survive in their environment.  Of course, early tutoring focused more on gathering food and creating shelter than on memorizing math tables. Fast forward to our test driven and memorization based school curriculum. Students have to absorb and repeat mountains of information on a regular basis.  They have to work quickly, efficiently, and a strong competitive sense emerges in most classrooms from an early age.  Most parents feel their children need to keep up, and some are concerned with even “Average” performance. As a result, Americans spend billions of dollars each year for tutoring support for their children.

Read More

Tags: Learning Specialists, Cognitive Skills

Key Reasons to Consider Online Tutoring

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Wed, Jan 04, 2017 @ 04:00 PM


I’ve come to firmly believe the benefits of online tutoring far outweigh the downsides. From online GMAT tutoring to online statistics tutoring to online chemistry tutoring and many other subjects (some of which require a virtual whiteboard, some of which don’t), we have a long list of success stories around delivering private, customized tutoring online.

I recognize that for some students, the stress associated with not understanding key concepts and being generally behind in a class can be exacerbated by trying to become familiar with new technology. But I believe many students who have just a slight bias toward in-person and away from virtual tutoring would be well served by re-considering an online approach.

Read More

Tags: online tutoring, online tutors, online tutor tips, online statistics tutor

Five Powerful, Free Resources for Improving Performance in School

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Wed, Dec 28, 2016 @ 10:00 AM


In the past few years, I’ve read a lot of articles and visited many web-sites to learn more about what drives academic performance and to identify mutually beneficial partnerships. I have chosen one web-site, one “app,” one blog, one online course, and one podcast. I believe any given student should at least be familiar with many of the ideas covered by each of these resources. As such, parents, high school, college, and graduate students, as professionals of any age, could benefit from spending time exploring each resource below.

Read More

Tags: study skills, study habits, online educational resources, note-taking

A Strategic Approach to Earning Higher Grades

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Tue, Dec 27, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

In a recent Linkedin article, I wrote about how we tend to underappreciate the importance of strategy relative to hard work or intelligence in understanding why some people succeed and others fail in any given professional, academic, or personal endeavor. I also suggested that my experience as a business strategy consultant has helped me realize that there are powerful principles of strategy development used by businesses that students could borrow to improve their academic performance. The idea that you can perform well in school by

In that article, I introduced three particularly important elements of business strategy development.

  1. The strategy development process – or, the process companies use to come up with ideas for what to do or not to do to beat the competition.
  2. The concept of market attractiveness vs. competitive position, which explains whether a company is likely to succeed (or fail) because it operates in a good market (or a bad one), is doing something better than its direct competitors, or some combination
  3. The notion of key success factors vs. core competencies, which helps explains why a company is positioned well in any given market (or not)

In this article, I’ll explore point 1 above, how an understanding of the strategy development process could help students improve their performance in any given class.

Read More

Tags: Strategy Development, Market Attractiveness v. Competitive Position, Key Factors v. Core Competencies, Heidi Grant Halvorson

Customizing the Tutoring Experience: An Example Approach

Posted by Lisa Alvarado on Thu, Dec 22, 2016 @ 10:41 AM

Guiding students to a deeper mastery of mathematics, science, or language arts skills is a daunting challenge, since no two students are completely alike and instruction must, therefore, be individualized. However, “the wheel need not be entirely reinvented” for each student: after a diagnostic assessment has been administered, it is possible to view the individual student as aligning with one or another of several basic groups (or demonstrating a need for targeted instruction in multiple areas at once)

I work primarily with language arts students, so this article is geared towards that subject. But a similar approach can likely be applied to most other subjects.

Read More

Tags: Reading Comprehension, Language Arts, Improving Writing

How Children Succeed: Part three

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Thu, Dec 15, 2016 @ 01:39 PM

In part two of our introduction to How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character we explored the cognitive hypothesis, which suggests that success today depends primarily on cognitive skills (e.g., reading, writing, recognizing patterns, calculating, etc.) the type of intelligence that gets tested on IQ or standardized tests, and that the best way to build these skills is to practice them as early and often as possible.

In part three, we’ll explore one of the major themes of the book, which is that “character,” and more specifically “performance character” is the more fundamental driver of success, and it too can be nurtured and developed. Tough believes society has gotten significantly off track, focusing too much on building a narrow set of cognitive skills and abilities, and taking a misguided approach to teaching children how to build all-important “character” skills.

Read More

Tags: academic performance, hard work, Performance Character, Paul Tough

How Children Succeed: Part Two

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Wed, Dec 07, 2016 @ 07:29 PM


In part one of this three-part introduction to How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character we are introduced the main theme of the book, that grit and character, not intelligence, is what drives academic performance and helps children succeed. We left off with the introduction of the cognitive hypothesis.

Read More

Tags: Success requires more than intelligence, Grit drives academic performance

Focus: The New Key to Academic and Professional Success

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Fri, Dec 02, 2016 @ 01:32 PM


I just finished listening to a great podcast episode from Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman’s Psychology Podcast (one of my favorite podcasts because it’s generally, entertaining, informative and practical as it relates to helping you better understand the world around you) about the concept of Deep Work.

Read More

Tags: deliberate practice, focus, deep work

How Children Succeed: Part one

Posted by Lisa Alvarado on Wed, Nov 30, 2016 @ 10:00 AM


This is the first of a three-part introduction to Paul Toughs insightful book,  How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character.
 
The ultra-concise executive summary and key takeaway is that children do not succeed academically because of their innate intelligence, as is commonly assumed. Instead, Tough shares reams of research which suggests character traits like curiosity, grit, and the ability to persevere may be more important to long term academic success, and particularly success in college and life beyond college, than cognitive skills like mathematics, logic, and reading comprehension. The rest of this three-part article will introduce the author, explain the structure of the book, provide an overview of the book's introductory chapter, and offer a brief analysis/review of the book.
 
Let’s start by providing some details on the author. 
 
Tough is a journalist with a specific interest in education, child
development, and poverty in America. He's written cover stories for the New York Times Magazine, and his writing has also
appeared in Slate, GQ, and Esquire. It's interesting to note that you don't find out until the final chapter that Tough himself
was admitted to Columbia University, but ultimately dropped out before earning a college degree. In that final chapter, Tough ponders whether he lacks some of the critical character traits he describes in the book.
Read More

Tags: academic performance, beyond booksmart, hard work, Paul Tough

How 1% improvement can turn an F into an A

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Wed, Nov 23, 2016 @ 11:00 AM


Most students don’t realize how small, incremental improvements can accumulate over time to create significant jumps in skill level or academic performance.

Let’s begin by exploring some theories about performance and success that have a lot to do with becoming comfortable struggling and striving to make small improvements. Later, we’ll show how a seemingly small improvement of just 1% a week can turn an F into an A.

Read More

Tags: academic performance, growth mindset, studying, math skills