New Tutorial Policy Causes Stress On Both Students and Teachers

Daulton Bahm, Online Editor

At the beginning of this school year, Athens Drive instituted a new policy requiring all students to attend at least two tutorial sessions per quarter for each class with a C or better average, and three tutorials for a D or F. This policy was created primarily so that there would be additional time to compensate for lost time due to inclement weather. Many tutorials, especially for elective classes like Physical Education, have little purpose or educational value at all.

With the length of SMART lunch now reduced from 55 to 50 minutes, tutorials are even less useful. Each A and B lunch segment is approximately 18 minutes long and students are not able to learn or get help with anything due to the long lines of students in tutorial sessions.

Since each lunch segment is so short, students often have to spend multiple days at lunch trying to find time to make up assignments or tests. Many teachers are only available during the designated tutorial times and the short time of each lunch makes this difficult for them.

Although there are some good things about the tutorial policy such as it helps students’ grades and gives them time to complete test corrections, tutorial days, especially toward the end of the quarter, teachers have to deal with a class full of students simply coming to get their tutorial requirement. Simply forgetting to attend a tutorial can have a large impact on a student’s grade, as tutorial attendance is usually counted as a quiz grade. Students with good grades should not be penalized for simply forgetting a tutorial that they honestly don’t need.

The original policy that had existed for several years before this year was a program called Mandatory Guided Study (MGS). If a student had a low grade in the class (usually failing), he or she would be assigned MGS and would have to attend the next MGS session. There was also an open tutorial day each week that allowed students that actually needed help to answer one-on-one questions without large crowds. This policy was much more efficient because students that actually needed help got the help they needed, and students with good grades were not penalized.

MGS was eliminated this year and replaced with an additional tutorial. Two tutorials are offered per week in most classes, which means a student with a four-class schedule would have to attend 8 tutorials in a quarter, 16 in a semester and 32 in a year.

Upperclassmen that go off campus for lunch suffer especially from this policy. For example, if a student went to one tutorial during A lunch and attempted to go get a quick meal to eat off campus, they may come back late and be counted tardy.

Another disadvantage of the tutorial policy is the difficulty of scheduling club meetings. Under the new tutorial policy, it is difficult for students to find a time to go to club meetings as tutorials take place only two specific days each week. This policy makes it very hard for students that are active in the school community to attend tutorials.

Under the new policy, failing students only have to attend three tutorials per quarter compared to the weekly MGS they were assigned in the past (nine per quarter). This causes failing students to struggle more because they do not get the frequent help that they received under the old policy.

The best way to compensate for the lost time from snow days is to eliminate the tutorial policy and add a small amount of time (no more than 10 minutes) to the school day. The MGS policy should be re-introduced and there should continue to be open tutorials so students that seek help can get it. In addition, extra credit should be offered for students that come to tutorial when they were not assigned it.