“When I taught him this lesson a couple of months back, he was very much comfortable with it and grasped everything quickly. But when the examination came, he forgot everything.” This is the lamentation of a sincere tutor who wants all his students to score better grades in the examination. Long-term retention of learning depends on the student’s interests and preferred learning styles. When a student struggles with studies, it can be for a variety of reasons. A diagnostic tutoring method can be utilized to solve this dilemma by also doing a diagnostic assessment.
A diagnostic assessment can be used to profile his interests and help him to determine the most effective learning styles. Diagnostic tutoring achieves this by helping the student to detect, understand and correct misconceptions in his way of learning. This strategy will provide tutors with effective skills in developing a pedagogy which will be unique for each student. The above situation throws light to a reality which is usually neglected by many tutors; it is not necessary that students who comprehend a topic well at the end of the class, retain that for a longer time.
Diagnostic tutoring is a method that integrates assessment and instruction. The process has two aspects. One is diagnostic and the other is instructive. The diagnostic process asks you to find out answers to some questions:
- What does he actually know?
- Which are the areas where he is strong?
- Where is he weak?
- Is there any hang-up?
- What’s getting in the way of learning?
- Are you providing what he really needs?
Diagnostic Assesment-a requisite
The instructional aspect provides you with opportunities to try out different methods for effectively transferring a new information to the student. No matter what process, system, methodology or materials you design and use, do one thing; refine and update it accordingly. A diagnostic assessment should be done before starting any concept or a new chapter to find out what your students already know about the concepts and skills you are going to teach them. It is not compulsory to be a formal and graded test. Your findings after the test help you to discover the student’s preferred learning styles as well as strengths, weaknesses, and misconceptions and to determine if the differentiated instruction is needed.
The big idea behind diagnostic teaching is to make a specific analysis of any barriers to student understanding and to remove it. When your students stumble on something, this process will help you to systematically identify and fix them. This is not much different from what you already do, but the same with a slight change in the application. This process promotes long-term learning and transfers from the immediate topic to wider situations.