Welcome! We hope these frequently asked questions (FAQs) are helpful to you. At any point, feel free to reach out directly to lab director Janice Smith to discuss your specific situation and answer any additional questions. Janice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (314) 246-0540.
- What kinds of learners benefit from Fit Learning’s approach?
- What subject areas does Fit offer?
- How is Fit Learning different than other tutoring programs?
- What kind of training do Fit’s learning coaches have?
- How do you keep learners from getting bored?
- What’s meant by the terms fluency and cognitive fitness?
- How long does it take to see results?
- Is there an option for remote learning? If so, how does that work?
- How does Fit’s homeschool program work?
- How do kids react to Fit’s method of teaching?
- Is it possible for me to observe a session before I commit to registering my child?
- What is the difference between the basic and advanced logic programs?
- What is the difference between Fit Penmanship and Fit Writing?
- How does Fit help kids with executive functioning challenges?
- How does tuition work?
- How can I get my learner started at Fit?
- I see that the first step in a Fit enrollment is for the learner to take a comprehensive intake assessment. What type of testing do you use?
What kinds of learners benefit from Fit Learning’s approach?
Through its individualized and 1:1 approach, Fit’s method is scientifically proven to help all types of learners.
- A child who is getting poor grades, or whose grades don’t match their academic skills and depth of understanding
- A learner who may not be ready to attend a desired private school and needs to boost admissions scores
- A student with test anxiety
- A child who has lost confidence in their abilities
- Students who are struggling in school
- Gifted learners who could use additional challenges to take their learning to the next level
- Students with a diagnosis of ADHD (or who could benefit from ADHD coaching), dyslexia, slow processing speed, or a learning disability
- Learners who tried traditional tutoring, but it just didn’t work as well as hoped
What subject areas does Fit offer?
Fit’s curriculum areas include reading, math, logic (beginning and advanced), spelling, penmanship, and grammar and composition. There are also programs designed especially for younger children (kindergarten readiness) and homeschoolers. More information about our curriculum is available here.
How is Fit Learning different than other tutoring programs?
This is a great question that’s both easy and hard to answer. It’s easy because there are lots of significant factors that set Fit apart from other tutors. But it’s hard because we could go on and on about this. In a word, at Fit, we help learners build fluency in core academic skills. We identify and treat the source of the problem instead of just its symptoms. How do we do this? By uniquely combining learning science, precision teaching, direct instruction, and curriculum-based assessment.
Traditional tutoring, or homework help, involves someone trying to explain what your child’s teacher is working with them on in the classroom right now in a different way. Oftentimes there is a heavy reliance on worksheets. Certainly, this homework help is exactly what’s needed for some learners. Unfortunately, homework help sometimes turns into forever help because the underlying skill deficits aren’t ever fully addressed. In these cases, when a student is struggling, providing traditional tutoring in the form of homework help is like putting a band-aid on a broken leg – or taking aspirin to get rid of the headache caused by a brain tumor. Your child might be able to turn in more homework assignments and get a passing grade. However, they’ll feel behind and will need just as much help with the next unit or grade level. Oftentimes, the learners we see in our lab have tried homework help or tutoring programs before but saw minimal results. Perhaps grades improved for a while because more assignments were turned in. Maybe they even understood the concepts being taught slightly better. But they still disliked the material and struggled to pass each new unit taught in school. They seemed to fall further and further behind every year.
At Fit, we approach learning differently. Our learning coaches don’t focus on the concepts your child’s teacher is going over right this moment. That’s because the difficulty they are having right now is a symptom. Instead, through our assessment process, we find the source of your child’s struggles and treat the cause. In the end – through our more holistic approach – our learners are confident, possess the ability to expertly perform in any classroom environment, and acquire a newfound capacity for learning. And there’s more:
- We bring extensive training and background in human behavior. We know how to improve your child’s attention, lack of motivation, self-esteem, and behavior because we’ve been doing it with other kids for years.
- All the responsibility for academic transformation is on us. Not you. In fact, Fit NEVER assigns homework.
- Our curriculum is individualized based on your child’s unique assessment results. Each child is celebrated for achieving their personal best, not how they stack up against other kids.
- The outcomes! This is huge, because, at Fit, learners achieve an average of 1-2 years’ growth after 40 hours of instruction.
We’d love to talk to you about your child. Contact the lab today to learn more about how Fit is different from every other tutoring program.
What kind of training do Fit’s learning coaches have?
Fit’s learning coaches undergo rigorous training to achieve certification in Fit’s subject areas: reading, math, logic, writing, spelling, penmanship, and Lil Fits. They are required to pass three initial audits and then ongoing quarterly audits. Before joining Fit, coaches typically bring backgrounds in behavioral science and/or psychology. We typically have at least one intern on staff from Washington University’s Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences.
Aside from formal education and training, you’ll find that Fit Learning coaches are particularly dedicated to motivating students and helping children learn. They have fun at their job and ensure that learners are enjoying themselves and loving to learn. Our coaches are resourceful, flexible, and quick on their feet. For more information about Fit coaches, check out our team page.
How do you keep learners from getting bored?
Fair question! After all, research shows that learning is most effective when students are having fun. Fit keeps learners engaged using:
- a 1:1 approach that’s highly interactive and multi-sensory (no worksheets!)
- lots of reward, reinforcement, and celebration – including an awesome prize tower
- fast-paced sessions led by credentialed learning coaches who are pros at motivating students
- an individualized curriculum that meets students right where they are
What’s meant by the terms fluency and cognitive fitness?
Fluency is synonymous with being an expert, where demonstrating skills appears to be second nature. With the type of training that Fit provides, students become experts in core skill areas. This allows them to effortlessly complete classroom and homework assignments. Even more, when students achieve fluency across the core skills, they experience an actual transformation as a learner. A fluent foundation produces learners who demonstrate cognitive fitness– or the ability to learn and perform as an expert in any academic setting on any type of task. Additionally, they can engage with the material in such a way that they actually begin learning new things. Ultimately, students who are cognitively fit tend to be agile, flexible, focused, perseverant, confident, determined, and able to think critically.
How long does it take to see results?
We’re glad you asked! Fit Learning produces unparalleled results, typically one year’s growth in 40 hours of instruction. More specifics are provided here.
Is there an option for remote learning? If so, how does that work?
Absolutely. Fit’s method works remotely as well as in person. So, if you’re looking for online tutoring in the St. Louis area (or beyond), our precision teaching online service could be a great solution. You can learn more here.
How does Fit’s homeschool program work?
When choosing Fit Homeschool, parents elect through their school district to homeschool their child. Fit then provides homeschool support and supplementation in core skill areas. Learners attend Fit sessions for three hours per day, five days per week, and receive intensive 1:1 academic and cognitive training. Learners performing several grade levels behind across multiple curriculum areas need more than a 50-minute supplement 4-5 days per week to make up the significant gains they need to close the gap. Regardless of what level your learner is at now, Fit Learning’s Intensive Alternative Educational Placement can rescue a family from the crisis that school (and its assigned homework) have become. You can learn more here and here.
How do kids react to Fit’s method of teaching?
Fit learners have fun – the sessions fly by, and there are great prizes to celebrate their personal bests and keep the motivation flowing. Even more importantly, the skills mastery (or competence) they gain leads to overall increased confidence and higher self-esteem.
Is it possible for me to observe a session before I commit to registering my child?
You bet! Contact Janice to set up an observation.
What is the difference between the basic and advanced logic programs?
The advanced logic curriculum is intended for learners who are reading at grades four and above. It covers many of the same general areas as basic logic, but takes these foundational skills to the next level. Some of the focus areas include reading comprehension, grammar/composition, math concepts and application, vocabulary building, and improving processing speed. And, like the basic program, advanced logic helps strengthen learners’ critical thinking and executive functioning skills. For more specifics, check out the pages for basic and advanced Fit Logic.
What is the difference between Fit Penmanship and Fit Writing?
At first glance, these subject areas may sound similar; however, the skill sets are actually quite different.
Fit Penmanship addresses the mechanics of handwriting – such as the actual formation of letters – including aspects like:
- Fine motor (touch, squeeze, tap, lace, grasp)
- Basic strokes (lines, circles, loops)
- Writing alphabet (upper and lowercase)
- Writing digits
- Form and size
- Copying text
(Also, note that Fit Learning’s approach to penmanship differs from how an occupational therapist (OT) typically teaches children. At Fit, learners are taught proper handwriting skills using repeated practice opportunities. They work toward specific goals set based on previous performance. They are provided with lots of immediate and enthusiastic feedback to motivate them. And every response is charted and recorded, so there’s proof of skill gains and a clear direction forward.)
Fit Writing (also referred to as Expressive Writing), on the other hand, focuses on effectively communicating ideas so that others understand the message. It involves concepts such as:
- Sentence and paragraph construction
- Genre writing
How does Fit help kids with executive functioning challenges?
Fit’s overall approach – including its multimodal technique, use of explicit instruction, and focus on fluency – is particularly conducive to improving learners’ executive functioning. In the Fit Logic curriculum, we provide executive functioning coaching around the following skills:
- Planning: the ability to think ahead and organize and prioritize actions necessary to reach a goal
- Problem-solving: the ability to first identify a problem and then develop a strategy to solve it
- Working memory: the ability to remember specific short-term memories needed to execute a function or daily task
- Attention: the ability to focus and recall from short-term memory (closely tied to the skill of working memory)
- Reasoning: the ability to understand, analyze and think critically about ideas, and then be able to use the information
- Cognitive flexibility: the ability to think on your feet
Learn more here.
How does tuition work?
Families choose to commit to a 50-hour enrollment after meeting with the Director to review assessment results. Tuition can be paid across three monthly payments. A traditional enrollment takes about three months to complete. An intensive enrollment is the right fit for some learners, attending as many as ten sessions a week. The price of tuition varies depending on whether your child enrolls in a traditional or intensive enrollment or if you take advantage of any available discounts. Please call the lab and speak with director Janice Smith to learn more about tuition costs and logistics. At first blush, the tuition for a 50-hour enrollment might seem higher than other places you have researched. However, it’s truly not an apples-to-apples comparison — what Fit brings to the table extends far beyond traditional tutoring.
- Other programs might look cheaper until you factor in the length of service. Some popular reading programs, for example, clearly state that they take 2-3 years to complete! Data collected over our 20+ year history demonstrate that kids in our program gain an average of 1-2 grade levels in 50 hours!
- Tuition for each 50-hour enrollment covers hours of data review and clinical meetings … and that is in addition to the individualized, 50-minute learning sessions with a credentialed learning coach. There’s a lot of ongoing “behind the scenes” preparation and analysis that occurs to make the Fit learning sessions and overall experience as impactful and transformative as possible.
- With most traditional tutoring programs, you are paying for what is essentially homework help, using the same teaching tools and “technologies” that didn’t work to teach the learner the skills the first time around (in the classroom). What you get with Fit is much different. Rather than providing homework help, we teach the component skills to close the gap for learners that are sometimes years behind. The benefits of this foundational approach are significant and long-lasting, boosting your child’s self-confidence and setting them up for future success.
- Unlike other programs staffed by undergraduate students, many members of Fit Learning’s team have master’s degrees and/or are licensed and board certified as behavior analysts. At Fit, we take great care to hire only the best people — those who are not only “book smart” but can genuinely connect with children and teens — and we make a significant and ongoing investment in training and professional development.
- Finally, reflect for a moment on how much we, as parents, spend on sports training for our kids. I know it’s a lot because my daughter was a collegiate D1 swimmer. Our cost of investment in her athletic success includes her suits, gear, team membership, banquets, travel meets, hotels, restaurants, gas, meet fees, etc. Most of us, though, when asked, would say that academic success is just as important (and I’d argue, more important) than athletic success. So, isn’t it worth the investment in teaching your child the skills they need to be successful in their classes and on their college entrance exams?
How can I get my learner started at Fit?
Here’s a rundown of the process.
- Step 1 – Call or email to schedule a comprehensive skills assessment.
- Step 2 – Schedule an appointment for 2-4 hours of testing. (The time for testing varies depending on the curriculum areas being testing and the academic skills your child has.)
- Step 3 – Spend an hour meeting with the lab’s director, Janice Smith, to review the assessment results.
- You will receive a multi-page detailed report of your child’s skills, and Janice will discuss academic intervention recommendations.
- You are free to share the assessment data with members of your child’s educational team or teachers. The data can help inform IEP goals and curriculum decisions.
- There’s no obligation to enroll after completing an assessment.
- Step 4 – If you decide to enroll your child at Fit Learning, you’ll complete the intake paperwork to have your child’s name added to the waitlist.
- Step 5 – Once your child is enrolled, they will meet 1:1 with a certified learning coach for 50-minute sessions, 4-5 times a week. It takes about 10-13 weeks to complete a typical 50-hour enrollment. The Fit team will use a curriculum and approach tailored for your learner, with the goal of mastering fundamental academic skills for lifelong learning and overall cognitive fitness.
- Step 6 – You will be kept informed about your child’s progress. Your child’s coach will share a short debrief with you at the end of every session. Plus, you’ll receive an emailed progress report. We’ll keep you apprised of how many personal bests your child achieved and which skills have been mastered after 15 hours and then after 30 hours.
I see that the first step in a Fit enrollment is for the learner to take a comprehensive intake assessment. What type of testing do you use?
There are several assessment tools that we use to measure and track learners’ skill mastery. We use these not only when a learner starts at Fit, but also throughout their enrollment to enable the learning coach to customize sessions to their specific needs. Here’s a quick rundown.
We use norm-referenced measurements, which are widely used, research-based assessment methods. They measure a learner’s ability in a given area, while also comparing that individual learner’s performance to that of their peers. In other words, they provide a view into how that learner performs relative to others of the same age or grade. (Some commonly used norm-referenced assessments that you’re probably familiar with are the ACT, SAT, and IQ tests.)
At Fit, one type of norm-referenced measurement we use is curriculum-based measurement (CBM). As Fit cofounder Kimberly Berens writes in her book Blind Spots, “CBM is a national assessment method with over 30 years of research supporting its reliability and validity in predicting long-term academic success.” More information on CBM can be found here.
We use CBM to assess learners in the areas of math, reading, writing, spelling, and – in the case of Lil Fits – early literacy and numeracy skills. Some of the specific CBM tests include the following.
- The Math-CAP (or M-CAP) CBM evaluates a learner’s understanding of concepts and applications in math, or their language-based math skills.
- The Math-COMP (or M-COMP) CBM assesses a learner’s computation skills and ability to solve math algorithms.
- The MAZE-CBM assesses a learner’s silent reading comprehension and word recognition.
- The Oral Reading CBM assesses a learner’s oral reading fluency.
In the outcomes graphs shown on the Results page and elsewhere on the website, we’ve used the AimsWeb platform to chart the CBM data and view how student performance stacks up to national percentile ranks.
In addition to CBM and AimsWeb, we use the HMH Reading Inventory and CUBED assessment tools.
- The Reading Inventory measures reading ability and text difficulty. Not only does it show how proficient a learner is, but it also forecasts their future growth. More information on the Reading Inventory is available here.
- The CUBED platform evaluates reading comprehension using three parameters: the learner’s ability to comprehend written language, understand oral/listening language, and decode language. More information on CUBED is available here.
In short, the use of norm-referenced measurements allows us to effectively track student learning – over time, as compared to their own past performance, and also as compared to peers. This data drives instructional decision-making and goal setting, while also helping to make Fit coaching sessions particularly focused and efficient. For examples of how the results of these tests look when mapped out (along with the impressive learning outcomes achieved at Fit), see our Results page.
Ready to get started? Just reach out to lab director Janice Smith at email@example.com or (314) 246-0540.