I tutored a student in math for two weeks to help her prepare for an exam. I expected her to inform me how the exam went, but she did not.

Is it appropriate to ask her how the exam went?

We are in Ireland.

  • 4
    What are you planning to say to her if it turns out it went badly? You might be embarrassing her. Jan 12 '20 at 6:14
  • 5
    @ElizabethHenning, actually, I would want to follow up with a discussion about how "we" can make it better for the future. What needs to be done on her part and mine so that the outcomes improve.
    – Buffy
    Jan 12 '20 at 14:55
  • 1
    Is it appropriate to ask a stackexchange user, in case that the conclusion of this question was to actually ask the student how it went, how the student did?
    – Nanne
    Jan 15 '20 at 8:38
  • 2
    hahahhaa @Nanne, She did so so.
    – riemann
    Jan 15 '20 at 9:24

I expected her to inform me how the exam went

I'm not sure why you expected this. While it's certainly not unusual to follow up with a tutor (or thank them), it's not a requirement.

Is it appropriate to ask her how the exam went?

I see no reason why not.

  • 16
    Not a question about academia, but of general interpersonal interaction. It's good manners of the student to inform the tutor, but not outright bad manners not to do so. Many students are either thoughtless or worried about more imminent things. Whether or not to contact depends on rapport with the student. Jan 12 '20 at 0:33
  • 2
    @CaptainEmacs True, but you only know it's not a question about academia because you already know it's not about academia.
    – corsiKa
    Jan 13 '20 at 4:35
  • 5
    academia.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic specifially lists "requirements and expectations of students, postdocs, or professors," as an on-topic question. It's at least tangentially on-topic, IMO.
    – chepner
    Jan 13 '20 at 17:17
  • You might also ask this in the context of how you can improve your tutoring. No matter how it went, you might following up with "is there anything I could have done to help you more?"
    – Flydog57
    Jan 14 '20 at 20:58

As a tutor in undergrad, we were taught to ask "how did the exam go?" and not "what did you make on the exam?" The idea being that the tutee gets to project their feelings onto their score (some are happy with a 75) and gives them a way out ("ehh ok I guess").

It's implicit in these instructions that asking "how did the exam go?" is appropriate for the tutor.


Well, the are two sides to the answer. It's either the exam went well or it didn't. If it didn't, I am not sure your tutee will be comfortable to tell you about it. Another thing is that your tutee may also expect you to ask how it went, to show you care. So it depends. Regardless though, it's not a bad thing to ask a student how the exam went.

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