New research has shown that private tuition does seem to improve grades at GCSE and A-Level. The survey, conducted by First Tutors, asked families with children taking exams this year whether they felt private tuition had improved their estimated grades. Results showed that private tuition increased results by an average of one grade, e.g. from D to C, enough to make a potentially crucial difference to university choices.
At both GCSE and A-Level, the biggest potential for grade improvement was shown to be at the lower end of the grade scale (grades U - D), where students improved an average of two grades.
Starting early appears to matter, particularly to GCSE candidates where those receiving private tuition for between three and six months lifted their results by an average of one and a half grades, versus just under one grade for those receiving tuition for less than three months.
But surprisingly, there was little correlation between hourly fees charged by tutors and grade impact. The average cost of tuition for GCSE and A-level among students surveyed was £22 per hour, with most families choosing one hour per week of private tutoring.
Asked whether they felt the grade improvement could be attributed to private tuition, 80% of the 150 families surveyed said they believed tutoring had definitely improved their results. Additionally, 95% of families said they would recommend First Tutors as a way of finding a tutor.
Commercial director, Anita Moss, commented, “We are delighted to produce preliminary research into the extent to which private tuition improves exam results. However, it is also important to note that whilst getting the grade matters to our clients, improving understanding of a subject ranked almost equally as a key motivating factor in finding a tutor.”
First Tutors has over 10,000 tutors registered on the website, and tens of thousands of families use the service to locate local tutors every year. This preliminary survey indicates that there is deeper research potential for educationalists and First Tutors hopes this will encourage academic collaboration to explore the data further.