College of Education and Human Development Statue

COVID-19 Updates and Guidance


Our top priority during this time is to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff. Review our FAQs and stay updated.

CEHD Updates & FAQs

We will continue to update information as it comes available.

Celebrating Our Past. Transforming The Future.


This fall, the College of Education and Human Development will begin a year-long celebration of 50 years of excellence.

Throughout our history we have been charged with transforming and enriching lives through education and health. Created as a school for teachers, we are now a school for leaders.

We offer 21 undergraduate programs and more than 30 graduate programs across multiple emphasis areas.

Educators, sports professionals, business leaders, healthcare professionals. Whatever the industry, our graduates are game-changers. Our graduates transform lives.

We Teach Texas


We are proud to be one of 11 universities in the Texas A&M University System preparing educators for Texas school systems.

There are more than 10,000 Aggies working in Texas schools across 746 districts and 208 counties. Thanks to our excellence in teacher preparation, these Aggies will stay in the classrooms long after their peers.

Become a Teacher

Learn about the TAMUS initiative

Departments in the College of Education & Human Development

Business professionals meeting outside of a cubicle workspace.

EAHR develops educational leaders and improves practice through teaching, research and service.

Educational Psychology Teacher Painting Students

EPSY is home to a variety of interrelated disciplines and degree options focused on human development and well-being in educational and community contexts.

Health-kinesiology

HLKN is the largest academic department at Texas A&M University and generates over 98,000 credit hours and 203,000 (Modified) weighted student credit hours each year.

Teaching learning culture middle grades classroom

TLAC’s mission is to create experiences that advance teaching, research and service through the application of knowledge in the preparation and development of quality educators; placing high value on collaboration, diversity, critical thinking, and creativity.

Staff and Faculty Kudos

If you’ve had a great encounter with a College of Education and Human Development faculty or staff member, tell us about it! Nominate them here.

Shadow Education’s Impact On Student Achievement

Shadow Education’s Impact On Student Achievement
December 6, 2016 Ashley Green
0000

Shadow Education’s Impact On Student Achievement


It’s a multi-billion dollar industry but one we know very little about. That’s something Matthew Etchells is trying to change.

Etchells, a doctoral student in curriculum and instruction, is focusing his dissertation research on shadow education, or private supplementary tutoring. The metaphor is used because this type of tutoring mimics the mainstream school system. If a new curriculum or new testing is introduced in a school district it also shows up in the tutoring.

Shadow education is growing around the world but reliable data is difficult to come across. Students hesitate to reveal how much tutoring they receive, partly because they feel shy about seeking extra help and many tutors are not registered as an L.L.C.

Etchells’ interest in shadow education research began in 2004 when he was working in the United Arab Emirates. He served as dean of students for about 550 students and also taught a course in test preparation. He started to notice his students were giving him answers for concepts that had not yet been discussed in class.

“I realized there was another player in the game. Someone was having an influence here and I knew it wasn’t the parents,” explained Etchells. “The students would also sometimes come in late to class, leave class early or not come to class at all. They would tell me they were going to a tutor.”

After more than a year of trying, Etchells was finally able to schedule a meeting with the tutor his students were using.

“We met in the corner of a coffee shop. He sat with his back to the wall so he could see the entire café we were in. He would not let me record anything. I had to take hand notes. He was really aloof about some questions and got really short with his answers. I tried to follow up after our interview and he wouldn’t respond.”

The tutor claimed he was able to raise student SAT scores by 300-400 points. However, Etchells’ research found there was no significant gain in reading and math. He did find a gain in writing of 84.7 points, nowhere near the numbers the tutor was advertising. The problem is, there is no transparency and accountability of these tutoring programs.

“In the school system, students are provided with a meal in the form of the curriculum. Teachers are doing their best to use constructivism and work on that child’s zone of proximal development to scaffold. They understand when you can be abstract and when you need to be concrete. Then, the students go to private tutoring for a snack. We don’t know what they’re getting because there is no accountability and transparency.”

For those students that tutoring does help get into a university, they run into another issue. That snack they have been getting for years goes away and they sometimes struggle to keep up on their own. Not only do they struggle in their education, they also seem to be challenged in other areas of their lives because, according to Etchells, so much of their early education was focused on spending every spare minute on their tutoring.

“Because students are under so much pressure, we’re seeing an increase in anxiety and student suicide – all of this coming from the idea of more, more, more. Children don’t have a chance to recharge their batteries and recuperate,” said Etchells. “We have turned something that should be quite enjoyable into something that is more like the idea of factory-producing children. Until we get away from that, the tutoring system will keep expanding.”

Despite the lack of accountability and transparency, parents around the world continue paying thousands of dollars for their children to be tutored. Etchells believes this is because parents feel inadequate, they feel like they are a bad parent if they do not help their child succeed in every way.

The global tutoring market is expected to surpass $102.8 billion by 2018. It is a market that is almost one-sixth the size of Apple, but it’s an industry we know little about.

A tutor Etchells spoke to for his research charged $272 per hour for an average of $1,377 per student per week. For one group of students, the total was just over $26,000 tax free. By tutoring just two groups of students, a tutor can make more than many teachers’ base salary.

“We’re taking something which is public and free and making it private and for-profit. When we move to the shadow education system, massive inequity kicks in because now it’s for-profit so the agenda for the tutor is to make money. Pass and fail are just icing on the cake. The key piece is to make money,” explained Etchells.

Etchells highlighted the fact there are legitimate tutoring groups within schools and other institutions – such as the Reads and Counts program in the College of Education and Human Development. “It’s not shadow education, it is a service provided within the institution for the betterment of the institution’s students. There is transparency, there is accountability; tutors are trained.”

Etchells also says it is important to note there is a sliding scale when it comes to tutoring centers. The Reads and Counts program has accountability and transparency, tutoring centers – while registered and structured – have less accountability and private tutors – who tutor in addition to their teaching jobs or to make extra money in college – have no transparency and accountability.

Etchells plans to continue his research on shadow education while also digging into diploma mills and ghost writers – what he is calling “submerged education” research. His hope is to make educators and policy makers more aware of the potential impact.

“The shadow education market in Asia is huge and it is spreading this way. It is coming through Europe and it is coming into America. We have to be aware and become more cognizant of the external factors that are having an internal influence,” explained Etchells. “We need to understand the environment that we live in and really start to get some control on the tutoring system so we know what the kids are consuming. We should be spending a lot more time and be a lot more concerned with what is going on in our children’s minds.”

About the Writer


Ashley is the Media Relations Coordinator and responsible for news coverage in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture as well as the Department of Educational Psychology.

Articles by Ashley

For media inquiries, contact Ashley Green.

Fundraising


To learn more about how you can assist in fundraising, contact Jody Ford ’99, Sr. Director of Development jford@txamfoundation.com or 979-847-8655

Recent Posts


Can't find what you are looking for?

Contact CEHD