Parent Guide

Be an informed client! Parents should ask some tough questions prior to choosing a supplemental education vendor.

Curriculum and Instruction
Assessment
Logistics
Semantics
Questioning Outlandish Claims

 

Curriculum and Instruction

Q: Does the vendor use materials and approaches that are truly innovative?
Aino’s products are always uniquely inspired and designed.

Q: Does the vendor have a clear pedagogy or teaching philosophy?
Aino stresses progressive, student-centered approaches that place the onus on each student to take a leadership role.

Q: Does the vendor offer a curriculum sample?
Aino can produce intricate samples of the lessons and  materials your child will receive.

Q: Does the vendor offer a demonstration lesson?
Aino holds quarterly open houses that include free demo mini-lessons.

Q: Does the vendor tout state certification?
While state certification does reflect a great deal of diligence in navigating multiple layers of state and school bureaucracy, many of our most skilled educators are not necessarily working in the public system.

Assessment

Q: Does the vendor filter all learning through in-house or off-the-shelf assessments?
Aino balances assessment with real coursework that gives students the context necessary to prepare with purpose, a hallmark of increased retention and performance.

Q: Does the vendor use detailed data analysis to improve their programs and services?
Aino programs and services are always data-driven.

Logistics

Q: Does the vendor try to funnel your child into one-on-one tutoring or large group programs (both high margin products)?
Aino let’s you choose between our small group programs and our private tutoring sessions, fully disclosing the trade-offs between the two.

Q: Does the vendor only offer to conduct tutoring in your home?
This is more for their benefit (reducing their fixed costs without reducing the price) than for yours. While Aino provides tutoring in the privacy of clients’ homes, we also hold sessions in our corporate office space (at no additional charge) because it has a mature and focused atmosphere that is not always possible in the home.

Q: Does the vendor say they’ll send a tutor right to your house the minute after you call?
Doesn’t that scare you? How can they find a professional, skilled pedagogue on such short notice? The truth is that they can’t. Unlike other test prep outfits, Aino does not seek to become the biggest organization, working with the masses. Rather, we seek to be the best, working with select private clients who see the value we add. In that vein, we only hire and work with the best. Our instructors have advanced degrees in education, distinctive experience both in and out of the classroom, sound teaching practices, and engaging teacher personas.

Semantics

Q: Does the vendor guarantee large point gains?
Any vendor who makes such statements is being disingenuous at best. Recent studies show that gains from test prep actually range from 10 to 40 points on average.

Q: Does the vendor make the same promises to different people?
No responsible education organization can uniformly assure each student the same outcome. Aino works with each family to set individualized student achievement and improvement goals.

Q: Does the vendor promise free sessions if they fail to deliver?
Often parents learn that the only thing they get if their child does not reach the guaranteed score is more free sessions with the vendor, but if it was ineffective to begin with, why would the parents want more? Aino’s program is less likely to fail as even the college board itself has acknowledged that only a rigorous and intensive program like Aino’s can improve scores.

How to question outlandish claims of 100, 200, or 300 point gains:

Q: What was the size of the testing group (often for results to be statistically significant, they must exceed 250 students, but even then self selection or lack of a control group can undermine those results)?

Q: Was the group self selecting or homogenous (highly motivated or wealthy students who are more inclined to enroll in a supplemental education program and complete all the coursework)?

Q: Was there a control group of similar demographic and academic composition (simply using national numbers is misleading as most students are not as motivated or skilled as those enrolled in supplemental education programs)?

Q: What tests were used for the opening and closing scores (SAT, PSAT, off-the-shelf assessment, in-house assessment)?

Q: Are those tests available for review so they can be fully audited for both quality and difficulty (vendors often use a harder test to get a lower opening score and an easier test to get a higher closing score)?

Aino Education does not promise or guarantee gains and no reputable education organization would do so since every child is unique and past results with other children cannot predict future outcomes with your child. Aino does guarantee a dynamic and rigorous learning experience that will better position your child for success on standardized tests, in college, and in his or her future career. For more about commercial test-prep programs that promise large gains, read our resource guide ››