Tutor creates form to find students' problem areas Plan is to pinpoint why child is struggling

April 07, 1996|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

The tutors at the Pumphrey Achievers realized their charges had troubles with math, reading and spelling, but weren't sure how to attack the problem until Lisa R. HammAck read an article about low test scores at Brooklyn Park Elementary School and put two and two together.

Ms. HammAck, a tutor in the 2-year-old after-school program, created a Pumphrey Achievers Student Academic Assessment form, took it to the Brooklyn Park school and asked teachers to jot down what areas each child had difficulties with.

"A lot of times kids were bringing their work in and they wouldn't tell us what they needed," said Ms. HammAck.

But with the assessment forms in hand, the tutors could cut right to the areas where the children needed help during Monday and Tuesday night sessions at the Lloyd Keaser Community Center at 5757 Belle Grove Road and they can foil youngsters who pretend they haven't covered something in class.

To those children, Ms. Hamm-Ack can say, "Oh yeah, well, according to your teacher "

It helps, she said.

Michael E. Trippett, the principal at Brooklyn Park, said he was pleasantly surprised when Ms. HammAck approached him with her idea.

"I really think if there's going to be a difference, that's where it has to begin," he said. "The kids need that additional reinforcement. I would think if that continues, we would see a marked improvement in student achievement."

On Monday, 20 children braved the rain and in dripping coats and jackets shuffled into the center, where eight tutors, some of them parents, awaited them.

By 6 p.m. the rain was forgotten and the center buzzed with the sound of learning.

"This is difficult, you know," complained Tameka Spikes, 9, as she circled the word "decay" on a crossword puzzle involving words with long a's.

"It's not difficult. It's improving your vocabulary," countered her tutor, Princeton McClure, better known in the neighborhood as Mr. Roy.

Across the table from Tameka, Brandace Moore, 9, worked on multiplication problems.

"I'm getting all confused tonight," Brandace said, as Ms. HammAck corrected one of her answers.

"I'm getting confused, too. Mr. Roy is making my brain spin all around," chipped in Tameka, as Mr. McClure challenged her answers on another assignment.

"I'm only a little girl. I can't think that fast," she protested.

At other tables, younger children practiced their handwriting and simple addition problems.

The tutors said the academic assessment forms, which are kept in the children's folders, help them structure the sessions to each child's needs.

"Now, we're able to work directly on the skills they have their weaknesses in," said tutor Yolande A. Dickerson.

Ms. HammAck said she plans to make the academic assessment forms a permanent part of the tutoring program.

"I want to be able to sit down and make sure they understand" the work, she said.

Pub Date: 4/07/96

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