Effectiveness of private tutoring in mathematics with regard to subjective and objective indicators of academic achievement: Evidence from a German secondary school sample

Karin Guill, Wilfried Bos

Abstract


In addition to the mainstream education system many students draw on private tutoring to improve their academic achievement. However, evidence about the effectiveness of private tutoring is rare and contradictory. The identification of positive or rather neutral effects of private tutoring seem to depend at least partly, on the underlying concept of academic success. Therefore, we analyzed the effects of private tutoring using various indicators of academic success within the same sample. The data originated from the German longitudinal study KESS (“Competencies and Attitudes of Students”), which includes a complete cohort of students at the beginning of Grade 7 and at the end of Grade 8. The effect of private tutoring was evaluated using multiple criteria: The majority of the parents (N = 447) as well as of the students (N = 618) stated that private tutoring had improved the students’ mathematics achievement. In contrast, there was neither a significant improvement of math marks of tutored students compared to the entire sample of non-tutored students nor an improvement in math achievement test results due to private tutoring when controlling for prior knowledge, motivational variables and school level effects (HLM, N = 4,701). Further analyses with matched samples of tutored and non-tutored students (PSM, N = 1,236) confirmed these results. We compared the effects of private tutoring on the different criteria and discussed possible reasons for the contradictory results.

Keywords


Private tutoring; Shadow education; Mathematics achievement; School achievement; Secondary schooling; HLM

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Journal for Educational Research Online/Journal für Bildungsforschung Online (ISSN 1866-6671)