Parents often ask whether I recommend class or private lessons for their child. There are 3 (or 4) criteria to consider.
(1) What is the student’s PSAT/SAT/ACT baseline score?
If the student’s score is too low, the class will move too quickly. If the student’s score is too high, the class will run too slowly. For students scoring very high or very low, private lessons are recommended. Otherwise, the class is fine.
(2) What is the difference between the student’s math and reading/writing and language score?
If the student is much stronger in one content area than the other, the weaker area should be targeted with private lessons. If a student’s score is close, the class is fine.
(3) Does the student need to be held closely accountable?
If a student needs more oversight to ensure work is completed, private lessons are better. If a student will do his/her homework without needing to be held closely accountable, the class is fine.
If all 3 of these criteria qualify a student for the class, this doesn’t necessarily mean the student should take the class. Parents can still decide on private lessons if they deem it better for their particular situation (especially if the student has already taken a class before).
Lastly, parents may consider their finances. Private lessons are more costly. Classes are great for a self-motivated student whose scores are in the middle 70th percentile and not too far apart.