What Mathnasium Is (and what it is not)

May 12, 2023 | South Kensington

For a child’s overall pattern of maths education, where does Mathnasium fit in? Schools are the primary education provider; Mathnasium is a supplemental education provider. The distinction is that the primary provider issues grades, whereas Mathnasium does not. We affect their grades in a positive way but our role is to supplement what kids are learning in school.

As a supplemental education provider, Mathnasium is structured as a Learning Centre rather than a tutorial service. A tutor’s job is to help a student get through tonight’s homework and Friday’s test. Mathnasium does provide a degree of support in terms of homework and upcoming tests. However, our primary role as a learning centre is to delve into the reasons why tonight’s homework is such a huge issue. Usually, it’s a series of knowledge gaps that students have incurred over the years.

Nearly every student we assess has some gaps. They are anywhere from six months to several years behind. These days, a lot of maths teachers don’t have the time to go through the entire syllabus. For example, teachers in Algebra courses who do take time to remediate will spend a lot of that time covering Pre-Algebra skills. Other teachers don’t take time to remediate. They teach the pure Algebra class. In both situations, students who already have gaps in their learning wind up with even bigger gaps.

As a Learning Centre, our role at Mathnasium is strategic: a long-term proposition. Our job is to ferret out those gaps and then supplement students’ education by filling in those gaps over time. This is why our assessment process is so important; it helps us pinpoint these gaps and provides us with a foundation on which we build the student’s program at Mathnasium.

It’s important to keep this long-term objective in mind. If we just worked on tonight’s homework, we might get through it and help them come up with the answers, but we wouldn’t be teaching these kids anything in the long run. There is a distinction between a tutoring service and our role as a Learning Centre. We are not here to parallel exactly what’s going on in school. We are here primarily to supplement it.

It’s critical that parents understand Mathnasium’s primary purpose as a learning centre. Quite simply, we don’t offer a quick fix. Taking the long-term approach with our students will offer them the most benefit. At its very core, Mathnasium’s mission is to offer a lasting solution to kids’ maths problems. This is the place where kids come to solve their problems in maths. It’s when we function as a learning centre — not as a tutorial service — that we get a remarkable increase in student performance.