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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

4.0 and Go… away?

 
 

It’s eleven o’clock on a cold and damp school night, but for the students huddled outside a nondescript building, counting the money in their wallets, the wait is worth it. At 4.0 and Go, an off-campus tutoring service, hundreds of students gather for what many feel is a last-ditch attempt to save their college careers.
“Our main purpose is to provide a secondary source, extra help, for students,” said Mike Casta-eda, manager of 4.0 and Go. “The majority of the students who come in are ones looking for an extra edge.”
Casta-eda has been the business’ manager for four years, overseeing day-to-day operations of one of College Station’s most popular nightspots.
“We don’t, and never have, encouraged people to come here instead of class,” Casta-eda said. “Some students can’t be in class every day and we help them learn stuff they need to know for the exam … A lot of professors don’t have time to meet with students on a one-to-one basis.”
Although Casta-eda says most of the tutoring classes are not professor specific, tutors better tailor their lessons to what A&M’s professors are teaching.
“We get a lot of feedback from students about the professor’s tests,” Casta-eda said. “We don’t get test questions, but more of what the questions pertained to – what we missed in our tutoring. We have students who bring tests in and ask questions about them, but we don’t keep old tests. Every time we’ve seen old tests, the professors have felt that students could keep the tests. Some professors deviate from the normal curriculum so we have professor specific lectures, but generally, the lectures are not professor-specific.”
However, some professors feel that department help should satisfy students. Dr. Martin Gunn, speaker of the faculty senate, is on the advisory committee to the Academic Honor Council. Gunn said he doesn’t know why students would pay more for an outside service if courses have supplemental instruction.
“Another reason is that most faculty have help sessions. And so why would a student go somewhere else?” he said.
Gunn said that although he has no first-hand information, he has heard that some tutoring services claim to have inside, up-to-the-minute information about certain material.
“And I think that if that’s the claim they’re making, that’s misleading (to students) … I would guess that would be false information,” he said.
Numerous faculty members declined to comment on the topic of outside tutoring services.
John Forsyth has run Tutorjohn, another College Station tutoring service, for four years.
“One of the things that motivated me was that I looked at other services like 4.0 and Go and (A-Plus Tutoring),” Forsyth said. “They were making a lot of money. I also love to teach. It seemed like the way to go.”
Forsyth prides himself in his small class sizes, pointing out the personal nature that comes with fewer students.
“I explain part of the material to the students and then I have them do problems while I walk around and check on their progress,” Forsyth said. “I have to keep the classes small. Some classes have five to 10 students and others have 40 … When you have 200 students, you can’t check progress. I recently asked students if they wanted me to stop allowing them time to work problems and they looked at me like I was stupid.”
Much of Forsyth’s lesson plans depend on what professors are teaching in class with students reporting what professors cover during their lectures.
“The experience I’ve had with most professors is that most of them wish I’d go away,” Forsyth said. “One student was threatened with failure by a professor: A teacher threatened to fail the kid when they found out he was coming to my service.”
Forsyth said he is a small guy and can’t deal with lawsuits.
“I only mock the professors who deserve it,” Forsyth said.
Castaneda agrees with Forsyth’s experience with A&M professors.
“We’ve had our difficulty with professors who do not like us,” Castaneda said. “We’ve heard students talk about what professors said in class and a lot of it sounds like misunderstanding. A lot of professors think we advocate not going to class or selling answers. We teach the material.”
Muneel Zaidi, a junior electrical engineer major, recently began a fan club dedicated to A-Plus tutoring service along with his roommate Matt Vasquez. “A+ Tutoring Rocks!” is a group on www.thefacebook.com, a popular online student directory. With a group description reading, “This group is dedicated to those of us that would not be at Texas A&M without the help of that little man, Ali! (an employee)” The group has 36 A&M student members listed.
“We just made the group because A-Plus got me through all my lower-level classes,” Zaidi said. “I started going the second semester of freshman year and went all the way up until last year.”
Using it for various physics, mathematics and engineering classes, Zaidi feels extra tutoring is essential for students at A&M, and is not sure that this is enough to help students pass their classes.
“A&M is always bringing in new teachers from different places,” Zaidi said. “Foreign teachers have difficulty communicating because of their accents and how they were taught wherever they came from. If the tutoring services help out students, I’m fine with it.”

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