Private tutoring

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In 1902 Albert Einstein was looking for a tutor in (at the time based in Bern ( Gerechtigkeitsgasse ))

Tutoring or tutoring is the support of students in learning outside of the regular events of the school or university. This support can be given occasionally or regularly. It can take place in individual lessons or in small group lessons. According to several surveys, 1.2 million students take tuition annually; at the same time, parents spend more than a billion on school support.

Forms of tutoring

Forms of professional, semiprofessional or unprofessional tutoring usually emerge when the student or, in the case of younger students, more often the family environment (parents, siblings and relatives of the child in question) hires a person outside of school and outside of the family who usually helps them with their learning gets money for it. Tutoring teachers are often college students, retired teachers , unemployed academics, or high school students.

The degree of individual support and thus the learning success in organized group lessons depend on the appropriate composition of the tutoring group, the size of the group and the personal relationship between the teachers and the student and their employer.

Tutoring is characterized by Dohmen et al. (2008) by being

  • Takes place "out of school",
  • within a certain period of time rather "regularly" - but only temporarily (not continuously, not on a permanent basis),
  • serves to "secure knowledge" and "supplement knowledge" with regard to a subject or several subjects,
  • has a complementary function to "normal" teaching and
  • is privately financed (cf. Dohmen 2008, p. 15 ff).

In contrast to the school context, where didactics is the reference discipline for the teacher's actions and addresses learning arrangements and methods, the theory and practice of tutoring and learning have not yet been scientifically processed. How knowledge is imparted individually or in small groups within the framework of tutoring remains open or is borrowed from general or specialist didactics at school.


Subjects and subjects

The vast majority of tutoring cases in Germany are among students of general schools in grades seven to ten. However, even elementary school pupils occasionally receive tutoring and tutoring is also widespread in upper secondary level . Conversely, students often give tutoring to other students.

In 2010, the number of students currently receiving tuition in general schools in Germany was estimated at around one to one and a half million, i.e. around 11 to 16 percent of around 9.5 million such students. According to various estimates, between 30 and 50 percent of all pupils take tuition over the course of their entire school years. The trend has been increasing for years, partly because of the shortening of the grammar school time from nine years (“G9”) to eight years (“G8” - see Abitur after twelve years ).

Boys receive tuition somewhat more often than girls, but this trend is reversed in higher grades. Students from grammar schools receive tuition more often than students from secondary schools and comprehensive schools . Secondary school students rarely appear in the tutoring market. In West Germany, tutoring is taken about twice as often as in East Germany.

By far the most frequently asked subject is mathematics, with over 50% of cases, followed by English with around 25% and German with around 15%. Latin and French, which are mostly chosen as second foreign languages, as well as the natural sciences physics, chemistry and, rarely, biology and computer science, follow in the other places. Another minor role as a tutoring subject is played by the subject Spanish, which in most regions ranks third in terms of the offer and choice of second foreign languages.

Other regular subjects such as geography, history, politics, ethics, religion, work / economics, handicrafts, textile work, art, music or sport appear very rarely or not at all in the tutoring area.

Many students receive tuition in several subjects.

For dyslexia or dyscalculia, there are learning therapies by specially trained professionals. Local speech therapists can also help with developmental dyslexia due to perceptual impairment .

Effects of tutoring

According to a study by the Research Institute for Educational and Social Economics (FiBS) in Berlin, 30% of tutoring students spend 1,300 euros per year on professional tutoring. Tutoring by students and pupils improves the assessment of the student on average by one grade, tutoring by professionals by 1.3 to 1.4. In addition, children who receive tutoring seem to have parents from higher educational and income groups. Dieter Dohmen, the head of FiBS: "If that is true, that means: tutoring intensifies social selection." (See educational disadvantage in the Federal Republic of Germany )

According to a study by the Hans Böckler Foundation from 2017, tutoring also promotes social differences. On the one hand, according to the study, students with a migration background would be “clearly neglected”, and on the other hand, the number of tutoring hours would increase with the income of their parents. Only 13 percent of children from poorer parental homes would receive additional lessons, while children from the middle class would already receive 20 percent support outside of school. In parental homes with more than 200% of the median income, 30% of all children receive tutoring.

A similar inequality can be seen in the breakdown of the affected pupils according to their type of school. Only 19% of the tutoring recipients attend a secondary school . The survey of private tutoring institutes also showed that in 86 percent of the houses the students mainly attend high schools .

Organized tutoring providers

The continuously increasing demand for tutoring services in Germany has also led to a strong expansion of organized providers. Companies operating nationwide dominate among these providers. They offer mainly tutoring in groups, the hourly employed freelancers provide. One-to-one tuition is generally also offered, but remains the exception with the market leaders due to prices between 40 and 50 euros for 90 minutes.

Market leader

The leading companies in Germany - in group tutoring - are the Studienkreis and Schülerhilfe companies , each with around 1000 branches, some of which are franchised . The companies usually employ freelance workers, who are often students.


According to Stiftung Warentest , parents pay an average of 750 euros for private tuition of their child, but 1550 euros for tuition at a tutoring company. Reasons for this difference are, among other things, the different duration of the tutoring and the regional price differences. While there are usually no contractual obligations for private teachers, institutes usually have a minimum contract term of six months. The usual prices for the two market leaders in the mid-2010s are 109 euros per month for a six-month contract and 99 euros for a twelve-month contract plus 49 euros each for a 90-minute group lesson per week in a subject.

Working conditions of teachers

The teachers are usually paid on a fee basis per lesson. Large companies usually do not pay social security contributions, vacation or sick pay. As a rule, there is no contract for regular weekly working hours, no protection against dismissal and no further training or promotion opportunities. The pressure on prices for private, tax-free tuition prevents the teachers from being adequately paid.

Certificates and quality assurance

In addition to these large tutoring chains, there are also smaller tutoring institutes, which are regionally limited. A small group has come together to form the INA Nachhilfeschulen quality association . Together with the German Institute for Quality Assurance and Labeling , external auditors review annually and certify tutoring schools according to their own quality criteria with a quality mark.

The two major providers in the industry, Schülerhilfe and Studienkreis, have their quality checked by independent institutions. The study group has the TÜV Rheinland certify compliance with the quality standards it has set itself. The TÜV Nord has with the students help the first Nachhilfeinstitut after the quality management standard certification.

The TÜV certification according to the standards of the study group concerns formal criteria such as contract design, location and design of the business premises and outlines a meaningful planning of the tutoring. The quality and the success rate of the lessons remain unchecked. The informative value of these certifications is therefore controversial. The TÜV certification according to ISO 9001 checks the quality management system of the provider, but also does not make any statements about the concrete quality of teaching and only examines a small selection of locations after long-term advance notification. The informative value of this random check is therefore also controversial.

Associations and Organizations

Tutoring schools are organized in two associations, the Federal Association of Owner -operated Tutoring Schools in Germany (BiN), in which sole proprietorships and chains with a maximum of 15 franchisees are organized, and the Federal Association of Tutoring and Afternoon Schools (VNN), which welcomes individual companies as well as large tutoring chains . However, both represent only a small part of the tutoring schools.

There are various intermediate forms between the classic tutor, who organizes tutoring in private consultation with the parents, and the large tutoring corporation, for example there are agencies that specifically arrange private tutors for a fee, and many general student committees of universities also offer tutoring.

Other companies employ teachers on a fee basis who, like traditional tutors, come to the students' house.

Tutoring institutes within the framework of Scientology , which often appear in camouflage, are viewed critically . An analogous strategy of the NPD , classified as right-wing extremist by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution , is also viewed as problematic . Both organizations try to win over children and young people for their extremist and totalitarian ideologies through tutoring. Similar attempts have been made by various Islamist organizations.

There are also non-profit providers who offer tutoring, often also in the transition area to after-school care. In many after-school centers, homework help and tutoring are now part of the main pedagogical task.

There are also some free internet portals where pupils and parents can find private tutoring and language teachers.

See also

Other German-speaking countries

The largest tutoring companies operating in Germany are also active in Austria and Switzerland.

In Austria there are several internet service providers who act as links between those looking for tutoring and those who offer tutoring. In addition to the actual placement service, users are also optionally offered access to e-learning in the form of an e-portfolio or learning platform for designing online courses.


Similar to the situation in Germany, there is also a colorful variety of tutoring institutes in Austria that support students professionally. Tutoring staff are sometimes still employed on a fee basis, while the trend towards permanent staff is increasing.

According to a study commissioned by the Vienna Chamber of Labor (IFES 2017, IFES 2019), around 23% of students need tuition per year (2019: 29%), which means around € 94 million in expenditure for private households (2019: + 6%) .[1] The cost of tutoring per person in the school year 2016/17 was around € 680 nationwide, in Styria around € 610 per school year (value 2019: average € 570 IFES 2019). In summer alone, around € 450 is invested per student (IFES 2017).

Tuition in Austria in numbers

According to the IFES study (p. 23) in the school year 2016/17, almost a fifth of the students received tutoring during the current school year or during the summer holidays. Paid tutoring was mainly used. The proportion of unpaid tuition, on the other hand, was only 4%. Around 1% of Austrian students take advantage of free tutoring, although these students do not need any additional paid tutoring. In absolute numbers, this means that around 138,000 pupils claimed paid tuition in the period under review, whereas this was the case for only around 40,000, based on free tuition. The IFES study also provides an important result in that only at elementary school age the proportion of pupils who take tuition is in the single-digit range (IFES 2017 p. 25).

All in all, paid tutoring is required by those who can only afford it with difficulty. For example, educationally disadvantaged groups and people with a migration background (p. 27). In this context, it emerged that 37% of the pupils whose parents only had a compulsory school leaving certificate requested tutoring (IFES 2017 p. 29).

Tutoring subjects

Tutoring subjects were mathematics with the overwhelming majority of 62% and foreign languages ​​with just over 20%. The rest was made up of business subjects, science subjects and others.


According to the 2017 IFES study, the motives for using external tutoring were primarily to want to improve the grade (50% 2019: 54%) or to cope with the re-examination or to correct a negative grade (IFES 2017 p. 38).

5% of those students who would need paid external tutoring did not receive it for financial reasons. (IFES 2017 p. 40)

Regarding the topic of how the subject matter could be better understood, the parents questioned stated that lessons in schools should be made more understandable, free tutoring should be available, and more remedial instruction should generally be offered (IFES 2017 p. 50 mwN).

state of research

The currently most recent and therefore most relevant study for this article was carried out on behalf of the Vienna Chamber of Labor in 2017 (IFES study). In total, a sample of 3,435 parent households was drawn, which were questioned by means of telephone interviews. This involved a total of 5,683 students. The content of the survey was mainly on the following topics: remedial instruction in school, satisfaction of parents with care, reasons for tutoring, costs for tutoring, tutoring subjects, educational level of the sample, etc. Parents whose children attended various types of school were interviewed (e.g. B. new middle school, general secondary school, vocational middle and higher school etc.) The IFES study (2017, p. 6 f) has the result that special school classes are occasionally attended by 55% of the pupils. The parents are always satisfied with it. This reduces the need for external tutoring. Another result is that around 25% of the students need help from their parents with homework every day.

Tuition prices

Prices in Austria vary depending on the tutoring institute and type of lesson. Group lessons are much cheaper compared to individual lessons. A survey of the Chamber of Labor provides an overview.


In 2011/12, over 34% of Swiss young people attended in the 8th and 9th Class paid tutoring. This corresponds to an increase of 10% compared to the 2008/09 survey. Two thirds of these pupils regularly attend tutoring; it is particularly common for them to come from socially privileged parents. Paid tuition occurs accentuated at the transition to the upper secondary level , whereby pupils of the lower secondary level in school types with higher demands most often attend tuition at this point.

There is also a wide range of tutoring options in Switzerland. In contrast to the Anglo-Saxon region, online tutoring and e-learning are not yet as widespread in Switzerland.

United States

In the United States , public schools offer their own extracurricular programs for students with special needs, such as: B. as a summer school . Also in the USA there are no factors that create a need for tutoring in Germany; there is neither a non-transfer nor a selection process in which students are distributed to grammar schools, secondary schools or secondary schools. Nevertheless, private tutoring (is private tutoring ) widespread. In addition to independent tutors ( in-home tutors ), who are often placed through online agencies, there are commercial providers such as Sylvan Learning , Kaplan, Inc. , LSBF and StudyPoint , which have offices nationwide. In-person tuition is offered as well as online mentoring. Many public libraries also offer free homework help. Commercial providers who prepare applicants for exams with college preparation programs play a special role in the USA, where professional careers traditionally depend heavily on whether they succeed in entering a renowned college .


Research carried out in October 2007 by household surveys by the Italian social research institute EURES shows an undeclared work rate of 79.4% for tutoring, more than four times the rate of undeclared work estimated for the entire Italian economy of 17 to 18.1%; This makes tutoring in Italy the industry with the highest percentage of illegal work.


  • Klaus Birkelbach, Rolf Dobischat , Birte Dobischat: A prospering education market in the field of tension between commercial and public interests. ( PDF - Study by the Hans Böckler Foundation, Volume 348.Dusseldorf 2017, ISBN 978-3-86593-256-3 ).
  • Mario H. Kraus: c , in: blz, members' magazine of the GEW Berlin, No. 10/2006
  • Thorsten Schneider: Tutoring as a strategy for realizing educational goals. An empirical study with data from the Socio-Economic Panel , DIW, Berlin, October 2004 ( PDF, 29 pages).
  • Birgit Ebbert: Extracurricular learning support in modern society. In: Ralph Fischer, Volker Ladenthin (Ed.): Homeschooling - Tradition and Perspective. Würzburg: Ergon Verlag 2006, pp. 183-198.
  • Dieter Dohmen, Annegret Erbes et al .: What do we know about tutoring? - State of the art and evaluation of the research literature on supply, demand and effects. Research Institute for Educational and Social Economics, Berlin 2008 ( PDF; 942 kB).
  • AK Study Austria -

Web links

Wiktionary: Tuition  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikibooks: tutoring  - learning and teaching materials

Individual evidence

  1. The billion dollar tuition market. Retrieved February 12, 2019 (September 20, 2018 5:00 p.m.).
  2. Test tuition institute of the Stiftung Warentest In: test 4/2006
  3. Extract from the German Education Server
  4. Frauke Haß: Selection through tutoring ( Memento from June 7, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) FR-Online, April 14, 2008
  5. Tutoring promotes inequality , Hans Böckler Foundation : Böckler Impulse Edition 04/2017. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
  9. ( Memento from October 23, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  10. According to the member lists available on the homepages as of December 2013 (BiN: 25, VNN: 38) and the estimate of 3000 West German tutoring schools from .
  11. ^ Carola Padtberg: Student tuition. Teachers' associations and ministers of education warn against Scientology , in: Spiegel-Online, August 2, 2006
  12. NPD wants to recruit children through tutoring - Article on Welt Online of March 27, 2007 (accessed on February 6, 2010)
  13. ^ AK Vienna: Tutoring in Austria. In: . Retrieved November 4, 2019 .
  14. ^ AK Vienna: Tutoring in Austria. Retrieved November 4, 2019 .
  15. Petra Wagner, Christiane Spiel, Maria Tranker: Who takes tutoring? In: Journal for Educational Psychology . tape 17 , no. 3/4 , January 1, 2003, ISSN  1010-0652 , p. 233–243 , doi : 10.1024 // 1010-0652.17.34.233 ( [accessed November 4, 2019]).
  16. AK Price Monitor: Tutoring institutes turned price screws! Retrieved November 4, 2019 .
  17. ^ A b Stefanie Hof, Stefan C. Wolter: Extent and effect of paid tutoring in Switzerland . Ed .: SKBF. No. 14 . Aarau 2014.
  18. Online tutoring, conventional tutoring and e-learning - May 11, 2019, accessed on July 27, 2020 (Swiss Standard German).
  19. Sylvan Learning ( Memento of 30 April 2008 at the Internet Archive ), Kaplan Inc. ( Memento of 5 September 2009 at the Internet Archive ), Study Points
  20. ^ Boston Public Library
  21. ^ College Prep Tutoring in San Diego County , Raise Your Score ( April 20, 2009 memento on the Internet Archive )
  22. Internet presence of the Italian social research institute EURES ( Memento of February 10, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) (accessed on February 5, 2010)
  23. Summary of the results of the research on the proportion of illegal employment in various industries in Italy ( Memento from March 5, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) (accessed on February 5, 2010; PDF; 96 kB)