APPENDIX D (pp. 178-185)

Tutor Situational Objective Response Assessment (TSORA)





Tutor’s Name _______________________________
Please fill-in your name (First Name Last Name)

Participant Number _____________
Please use the last four digits of your Social Security Number


Please complete Part B of the Tutor Survey (attached) and turn it in.

Thank you for taking time to participate in this study.



John is a straight “A” student in everything but math. He is taking introductory algebra for the second time. Any math problem in any class causes John extreme anxiety. Usually the questions on tests he misses in any class are those having something to do with numbers or calculations. He is extremely frustrated. He is considering giving up his hopes of completing school and has come to you for help. You have worked with John many times and have seen how he can go from calm and secure to a state of panic when confronted with a question dealing with numbers or calculations.

1. John asks for help in reducing his anxiety about math.

___a) You would suggest he watch a video on math anxiety. If he is still having trouble with math anxiety, he should see one of the counselors.

___b) Suggest that he check out or buy a book on math anxiety and read it carefully. There are several you can recommend. He can come back and meet with you later.

___c) Talk with him and have him show you his notes, his tests, and then help him set up a plan for studying for math tests. He needs to take control of his life and not be a wimp.

___d) Try to help him identify what happens when he feels the anxiety about math. Go through a book of math anxiety reduction techniques and help him choose some techniques to try.

___e) Teach him a relaxation response technique that has worked for you.

2. A week before his next test, John comes in to work with you. He asks you to help him gain better problem-solving skills in math. How would you help him?

___a) You ask John to identify which problems he needs help with. You have him describe to you what each problem is asking and his approach to the problem. You ask him to continue the process at home and write down his thoughts and reasons for the solutions he chose.

___b) Have him point out the problems that are giving him trouble. You will check those answers for him and then show him the way it should have been done.

___c) You check the problems he is concerned about. You let him know whether they are right or not, and then ask him to find the correct solution. You guide him to the correct solution.

___d) After carefully looking at his homework, you recommend that he meet with his instructor instead of working with you. You don’t want to make a mistake or say the wrong thing. His instructor is the one who gives the grades and that’s the only person he should be talking to.

___e) You ask him to read each problem he is concerned about out loud and tell you what’s wrong. You only help him with the parts he identifies as trouble spots. It’s his paper and you are concerned that if you help him, you may be doing the work for him.

3. After helping him with his anxiety about math, you suspect he might have a learning disability. You have no background in diagnosing or working with LD. How would you handle this?

___a) “John, tell me what you feel is going on with you and math. Would you mind if I made some notes. You may have a learning disability regarding math. After talking with me, you should meet with my director and he can tell you what the next step should be.”

___b) “John, have you ever been tested for a Learning Disability. A friend of mine has one in math and is a lot like you. I think you should tell your instructor and see what he says about it. After all, he’s sees your work and can probably tell you what you need to do. ”

___c) “I think you should go over and see someone that deals with special services and handicaps. I think you may have a learning disability. They will probably want to give you a bunch of tests.”

___d) “You probably have something that they call dyscalcula. It is a learning disability that my sister had. I’ll bet you have it. Why don’t you explain to your teacher that you think you have a learning disability and see if he’ll cut you some slack.”

___e) “John, from the time we worked together, I suspect that there may be a learning problem which is specific to math. Would you be willing to talk with someone on campus who might be able to help you identify the problem you have with math? Here is the person’s name and phone number, would you like me to show you where her office is? I can sit in on the first appointment if you like.”


Sally, a student you have worked with before, comes in and shows you a paper that you helped her with in its initial stages. It has a grade of “D” on it and has comments on it from the instructor. Sally is obviously upset and makes the following statements to you as she sits down and hands you her paper: “I thought I had at least a “B” on THIS paper. I don’t think my teacher likes me. Could you look at this and tell me what you think. If you think she’s wrong too, would you talk to her for me–maybe?”

4. Which of the following would be the most appropriate first response by you, the tutor?

___a) “Sally, you realize that if you had shown me this before you turned it in this wouldn’t happened. Let’s see how bad it is…”

___b) “I know just how you feel, I remember when one of my teachers gave me a bad grade…”

___c) ” Why don’t you leave this with me, go see a counselor, and come back and see me this afternoon. I’ll see if I can correct the problems, then I can talk with your instructor about you resubmitting it. Afterwards, come back and let’s talk.”

___d) “You seem upset about this grade. Why don’t you tell me about the assignment, why you think you should have a “B”, and what you think the instructor’s comments mean.”

___e) “Let me look at it for a minute…Oh here, look at this part…”

5. After looking over Sally’s paper, you agree with and understand the comments her instructor made, however you would have thought it should have been a “C” paper. Regarding Sally’s request for you to talk to her instructor for her, you decide:

___a) To ask Sally what she thinks the comments mean, then try to present what you think the instructor meant by them.

___b) You won’t talk to Sally’s instructor for her, however you direct Sally back to her instructor for help in understanding her comments and how she grades. You also decide that you want to talk with her instructor so that you better understand her criteria in grading.

___c) No way, it’s her problem! You shouldn’t help her in any way, you might have that instructor some day.

___d) After carefully re-reading Sally’s paper, the instructor’s comments, and after talking with Sally,

you will not only meet with Sally’s instructor for her, but also with your boss, the dean, and even

the president if necessary. The student is why you are here and should be supported in all instances.

___e) You will listen to Sally’s complaints, stall her, and hope she can move on. You hate conflict, but want to support her.

6. You suggest that Sally set some goals to help her with her next paper. You suggest that:

___a) She needs to have a plan of action. You have her come in next week and you’ll have written one up for her to follow for your next paper. If she follows them you know she’ll succeed.

___b) She explains to you what she wants to get out of the class and you help her draft a study plan to accomplish her stated goals. You then recommend other resources available to her.

___c) “Let me tell you what I think you need to do. Write down the suggestions I give you and if you have a problem with any of them, let me know and we can discuss them.”

___d) That she go to one of the counselors to set up her educational goals and develop a plan.

___e) Have Sally watch a videotape on study management, then talk with her about her goals.


You are working with a group of students for a particular class. The group meets weekly, usually with six to eight students in the group. Several students attend every time.

7. It is two weeks before a major test. In the group last week, the students agreed that as a whole they had poor test taking skills and had asked that you work with them on it today.

___a) You pass out a tip sheet on test taking skills. Then you go through the questions at the end of the text so they gain confidence in their understanding of the material on the test.

___b) You pass out a sample test you have created and try to make the environment as stressful and intimidating as possible. During the sample test you make sure to let each of them see you watch them suspiciously. If they can succeed here, the test in class should be easy.

___c) You have them create sample test questions as a group. Ask them to try them out and return them to discuss in the group next week.

___d) You present the group with a session on “relaxation response” so they can learn to relax during testing situations.

___e) You had asked them to review the kinds of problems they were encountering regarding tests and ask them to describe those problems. Today, after a discussion of their concerns, you pass out a tip sheet and focus on the strategies which seem most appropriate.

8. The test is now one week away. This session was to review the two chapters the test was to cover. A student who has not met with the group before is there today and is very vocal and demanding. She is dominating the questions being asked. One of the students has been quiet and shy, has spoken in the past–but not today. Another student is still having trouble with concepts from three chapters back and continues to ask questions from it that the others already understand.

___a) You tell the aggressive student that she will have to leave if she disrupts the group again. Then you begin to ask the shy student questions in front of the group to help her “get involved” again. You suggest that the student who is behind should take time now and reread the previous chapters.

___b) You explain the purpose of the group is to help everyone. You state that everyone is to wait for their turn, everyone is invited to share, and that questions regarding previous material will get a brief explanation, for more details they will need to meet with you individually.

___c) You state that they don’t have much time, that their test is ONE WEEK away. You ask them to let you do most of the talking today and hopefully they’ll pass THIS test.

___d) You don’t want to embarrass anyone, so you just let things go. After the group that day, you talk with each of the three students and let them know your concerns about each. Hopefully, they won’t do it again, but even so, there is only one week left.

___e) You ignore the aggressive student so she will quit dominating. You make eye contact with the shy student and encourage responses when she seems to know the answer. You show appropriate disgust at the questions about previous chapters and suggest that the purpose of this group is to focus solely on these two chapters. You lead the group through what you think they should know by now.

9. At the next session, students mention that they aren’t sure how to approach the homework or to know what to study in preparing for tests. To help the students in the group develop better problem-solving techniques:

___a) You have them answer the questions at the end of the chapter and then have them check their own answers as you present the correct answers and method.

___b) You pass out a sample test. The questions are much harder than the ones they will encounter on the real test. Afterwards you ask them to describe the problem areas they encountered and let them know what they should have done.

___c) You have them create a test using only questions at the end of the chapter. Ask them to take the test and to discuss in the group next week.

___d) You have them predict questions which they think might be on the test. As they try them, have them identify what problems they encounter, what questions they have, and their approach to solving them. Have the group help them work through the problem areas they have identified.

___e) You ask them to review the kinds of problems they encountered in their homework. As a group you discuss how they approach these problems and everyone can make suggestions.


You are a tutor who has been assigned to work with students in a computer class who have extreme anxiety about computers. The majority of the students you work with are women who are returning to school after five or more years, many have never been to college before.

10. You are asked to state your role as a tutor in the class. You say:

___a) You are here to support them and to help them to become independent learners.

___b) You will help them, but they need to let you know when there is a problem and you will show them what to do.

___c) You want to be a friend to all. You ask them not to get upset with you if what you tell them isn’t right. Let you know and you’ll find out what the correct response should have been.

___d) You are there to help them in any way, if they are having any problems whether school-related or not, you’re there to help.

___e) You’ve taken this class and empathize with them, but you’re there so they won’t have to worry about it.

11. One of the students who is extremely anxious about touching the computer, comes in to meet with you individually. She shares with you her concerns about pressing the wrong button and erasing bank records or accidentally getting into something and causing problems for everyone else in the class. She feels she knows how to study and knows the information, but feels she gets extremely anxious in test situations. She feels she can’t relax and has many doubts about being successful in school. She is very worried about taking tests and isn’t sleeping because of nightmares about the tests in her classes. After trying to ease her fears about using the computer:

___a) You decide to refer her to a counselor on your campus who works with students on anxiety reduction techniques. You suggest that and name specific person for her to talk with. You offer to walk with her over to the counselor’s office and introduce her to the counselor to set up an appointment. You ask the student to meet with you after seeing the counselor.

___b) You offer to talk to her instructor about her testing problems to see if the teacher can let her skip taking the tests.

___c) You having her watch a videotape on reducing test-taking anxiety and ask her to talk with you about it later.

___d) You tell her she is being silly. There is nothing to the tests in this class and you feel she is making a mountain out of a molehill. She needs to settle down and pull herself together.

___e) You are unsure how to help her and suggest that she see a counselor. You will help her in the meantime.

12. One of the students calls on you for everything. She won’t touch the keyboard until she has asked you or the teacher if she’s choosing the right keys each time she starts something new. Initially she had extreme anxiety about the computers. She seems to have resolved the anxiety, but still lacks the confidence to try to solve the problem herself.

___a) You gnore her and pretend you can’t see her hand nor hear her calling you. If she gets your attention, tell her you’ll be over later and then ignore her and do not go over until class is almost over. If you force her to do it on her own long enough, she’ll gain confidence in her abilities.

___b) You tell her she’s an adult and should be able to try something without someone holding her hand.

___c) You ask her what she would do and to explain why she chose to do it that way. As she explains it, you ask her questions to help her verbalize her thoughts and feelings about her choice. You ask her to think through it first, try it, and then show you what she did.

___d) You tell her you will stay there as much as possible for the next few classes, but with each class, you will expect her to be more on her own.

___e) When you are next to her, you nod or shake your head to help her decide whether or not to continue with her choice.


John is a student who comes to you because he is having trouble in his biology and sociology classes. He says he is reading the material, but can’t seem to remember it well enough to answer the questions assigned.

13. From his body language, tone, and words he seems very upset and frustrated.

___a) You let him know that he should probably go to a counselor right away because he seems very upset.

___b) You let him know how you felt when you were frustrated with a class that was difficult. As you describe your past situation, you give him advice about what he should do based on your past experiences at the college. As you give him advice you suggest he takes notes.

___c) You let him know you empathize with him, but time is short so that you feel that you need to get down to business with the tutoring.

___d) You let him know that he seems frustrated and upset and invite him to express his feelings. As he shares, you listen intently and paraphrase some of the things he is saying. You refrain from giving advice. You give him the choice of continuing to share his feelings or to begin working on content.

___e) You tell him that you will talk to the teachers for him and let them know about his frustration with their courses.

14. You ask John to read a page silently while you do. As you both finish, he can tell you the main idea or theme only. You discover that he is reading it much as one would a novel.

___a) You give him some tip sheets on memory.

___b) You let him know that he needs help in study-reading techniques and specify which videotape he should check out from the library. You ask him to set up another appointment with you to discuss what he has learned You also suggest he meet with his instructor to discuss the problems he is having with the material.

___c) You ask him about his purpose in reading the chapter of text, what he thinks it will be covering, and give him some study-reading techniques to try while you work with him. You help him predict questions, relate the specifics to the whole, and evaluate what he is learning and how well he understands the material.

___d) You let him know when the next study skills workshop on reading will be offered and offer to attend with him.

___e) You ask the instructor for a sample test to be sure John studies the right material.

15. You realize that John comes in to the tutoring sessions unprepared with no goals or expectations for the tutoring session nor any real goals or expectations for his studies.

___a) You decide to set up some goals for John for the tutoring and as he tells you what his course syllabus says for each course, you set up a set of goals for each of them as well. You then ask John to be prepared to report on how well he is doing at following the plan at each tutoring session.

___b) You ask John to talk about his expectations and then you takes notes about how he should set up some goals and show them to him. You let him know he can change them, but these will at least get him started.

___c) You suggest that John meet with a counselor or advisor to discuss his college goals and to set up a plan of action for them.

___d) You have John discuss his purpose and expectations for the tutoring session that day and then help him establish goals. At the end of the session, you spend a few minutes discussing how to set up goals for the next session and for his studies. You invite him to stop back by at any time.

___e) You share with John how setting goals for tutoring sessions and courses has helped you. You give him some tips on how you set goals for yourself.


Karen is a student who consistently checks and double checks her homework for her class with you. She is very concerned what everyone else thinks about her and states that if it weren’t for you, she wouldn’t make it through her classes at all.

16. As she is expressing her feelings you respond by:

___a) Assuring her that you plan to be here for the next year, so she will be fine. You are there to help her whenever she needs it.

___b) Telling her how great it makes you feel to be needed and wanted. You thank you for her kind words.

___c) Informing her that she needs to become independent and so you want her to work with other tutors as well.

___d) Asking her for a letter stating how helpful you’ve been in her success. You ask that it be sent to the college president and the school newspaper before you leave this year.

___e) Thanking her for her comment and asking her why she feels she could not have succeeded without you. As she expresses her feelings you ask questions which help her to look at her own role in her success.

17. After working with Karen for a while, she mentions that she is having trouble making ends meet. She has been laid off for about a year and has not been able to find a decent job. She has decided to return to school to receive new training. There are no jobs available right now for someone with her experience. She is has enough money for a few more months, but if things don’t change, she will have to drop out of school and take a low-paying full-time job or move back to Ohio with her parents. Her parents have helped a little, but she is not receiving any other financial help.

___a) You wish her luck and tell her you too have had rough times.

___b) After listening to her concerns and feelings, you ask her questions about her options and suggest that she meet with Joan in the Financial Aid office. You let her know that you have referred other students to Joan and she has helped them to look at options for financial aid to help to stay in school. You give her Joan’s phone number and walk her to Joan’s office.

___c) You suggest that she talk with a counselor to gain better interviewing skills and learn how to write a better resume so that she can get some job within month or so. If she gets a good job, she won’t need to go back to school.

___d) You tell her how important education is and that she should stay in school no matter what.

___e) You let her know that the time you have to work with her is limited, so you need to focus only on the content. You are not a counselor nor a financial aid person, however they might be able to help.

18. In order to help Karen be more successful, you decide to help her set some goals for both the tutoring sessions and for studying for her classes.

___a) You set up some goals for Karen which you present to her at the next tutoring session.

___b) You ask Karen to think about what she expects to get out of the next session. At that session, you ask Karen to share her expectations and you explain your own expectations. Karen is then to try to write down some goals for the session. You offer to help her do the same for her courses.

___c) Karen says she can’t do goals, so you talk with her and write them up for her. You go through the list with her. You let her know that you will be glad to develop some goals for studying for one of her courses as well, if she needs you to. You know she’s trying and you want to help her succeed.

___d) You share with Karen how setting goals for tutoring sessions and courses has helped you. You give her some advice on how to set them up the way you did.

___e) You suggest that Karen check out a book on time management from the library.

Next: E: Post-test Tutor Situational Response Packet (Cover letter and Post-test forms of the TSFRA & the TSORA)

Page last updated on December 1st, 2013