Adapting to Student Knowledge


A few weeks ago, we invited a number of randomly selected Yup tutors to watch a PlayPosit training video entitled ‘Adapting to Student Knowledge’. The video outlines general strategies for using guiding questions to move sessions forward quickly while aligning with students’ abilities. 

We found that after being asked to review this video, not only did the selected tutors demonstrate higher gap bridged percentages, but students left less “confusing explanation” feedback and more “fast teaching” feedback on the tutors’ sessions.

If you haven’t already done so, please log in to PlayPosit, watch the video, and answer the interactive quiz questions. The video is less than 6 minutes long and, at the end of the video, you’ll have the chance to leave feedback; please let us know about anything you found either confusing or helpful. We hope you find it informative!

If you have not yet received your PlayPosit credentials or need help logging in, please email

— Team Yup


NEW Pre-Session Questions

UPDATE November 22nd, 2017: Due to unforeseen tutor dashboard issues that were resolved today, all parts of the feature below will be pushed out next week (week of November 27th) rather than this week. Also, the feature will be available for both iOS and Android, although the bot questions will remain an iOS-only feature for now.

Big changes are coming to the Yup iOS mobile app. Soon, we’ll require all iOS users to answer the questions “Have you done a similar problem before?” and “Have you started working on the problem?” before they request a tutor, rather than after:

This means that you’ll be able to see the answers to these questions in your Review State as soon as you claim a session with an iOS userYou won’t see them in the bot conversation, however. Instead, there will be new fields for these two answers at the top of your Tutor Dashboard:

Showing you these answers at the start of nearly every session should ensure that your first questions about the student’s progress and prior knowledge are always as customized and informative as possible.

For example, if the student has not made progress, start with questions about what they feel stuck on and what they know. If the student hasn’t done similar problems before, be ready to push information and examples quickly.

While these fields will appear on your Tutor Dashboard early this week,  you won’t start seeing the students’ answers until we release the new version of the iOS app later in the week. Going forward, we will continue using the Yup bot to test different ways of preparing the student with helpful tips and more detailed questions.

As always, let us know if you have any questions or concerns about this feature. Use it wisely!

— Team Yup

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Left Abruptly + Review State Survey

‘Left Abruptly’ Tag Clarification

While you will typically see this tag applied to sessions in which the tutor ended a session unexpectedly mid-session, it may also be used to indicate that a tutor ended a session without following protocol.

For example, if a tutor ends a session by sending the inactivity message manually before 5 minutes have passed without a student response to their last question, this tag will be applied.* This policy helps ensure our students don’t feel neglected or rushed when working through a problem or when confirming their understanding of a solution.

Checking in with the student by asking questions like “How’s it going?” or “Are you doing okay?” will reset the automated 5-minute inactivity timer and make sure the student is given adequate time and support to complete work on their own. Questions like “Do you have any questions about this problem?” or “Is there anything else I can help you with?” should always be asked before concluding a session to make sure the student doesn’t require further assistance.

*Correction: This post initially mentioned another policy regarding waiting 2 minutes for a student response at the end of a session – this policy has since been removed and will not be considered for the ‘Left Abruptly’ tag.

Answer the questions below to help us continue to improve the Review State for both you and your students. Thanks for your participation!

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— Team Yup

Pushing Information Policies


In response to parent and user feedback that struggling students did not feel supported by our service, we have been brainstorming ways to make tutors feel more comfortable supporting stumped students in the form of methodically provided hints.

Being methodical is the key here – when supporting information is pushed to students in a way that allows them to continue solving independently, something magical happens. Not only do students no longer become disheartened by the obstacles between them and their solution, but we remain true to our company mission of promoting learning, not merely giving away answers.

To achieve this, we must work on actively helping students move forward on their problems rather than expecting them to make every connection on their own. This is especially important when a student responds to a guiding question with something like “i don’t know” or “no idea.”


At the end of September, we lowered our standard of what “too much help” looks like by changing the definition of the “Gave Answer” tag. However, simply changing the Gave Answer definition did not solve our problem. The change failed to take standard 1.2 (question-based instruction) or standard 3.1 (adapt to student’s needs) into account, both of which are intertwined in the underlying issue of how best to react when a student becomes stuck.


While the Gave Answer tag is an upper bound for how much information you can push to your student, Rubric standard 1.2 is a lower bound for how much you must involve your student. Meanwhile, standard 3.1 evaluates your ability to balance pushing and pulling information in a way that engages the student, while still being mindful of their needs and encouraging progress towards Gap Bridged.


RULE OF THUMB: You should always push helpful information to a student who indicates being stuck on a step (“idk”, “im not sure”). In other words, when a student hits a wall, it’s okay to provide support using hints that allow them to continue making progress on the problem.

To clarify how the above Rule of Thumb connects to our rubric and tags, we made the following changes:

– When assessing standard 3.1, we will be looking for the following to take place: “Tutor Pushes helpful information when the student is unable to proceed independently”

– The guideline for standard 1.2 that previously read “Ask guiding questions before giving away new information” will be updated to: “Use guiding questions to understand why the student is stuck before pushing information”In other words, probing should be taking place throughout the session (not just during the Gap Clarification Phase!) This will tell you what information to push when the student has trouble with your guiding questions.

– The “Gave Answer” tag definition will be updated to the following: “Tutor directly gives the answer* to the student OR fails to involve the student in fundamental steps*”
* “Fundamental steps” are steps that cover the key concepts the problem is testing OR the student’s knowledge gaps
* “Directly giving the answer” includes confirming a solution with no student work to support it


Please let us know what questions or uncertainties you have!

— Team Yup

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Tutor Dashboard + Math Typing Tool

Tutor Dashboard Update

This week, Yup’s Engineering Team pushed out a number of fixes to improve Tutor Dashboard performance. One change you may notice is the Tutor Dashboard auto-refreshing every 5 minutes. This is totally normal and will ensure our systems are in sync and running smoothly.

Another change that was made this week was the addition of an inaudible sound which plays silently during the waiting period between sessions. This feature will prevent Chrome from deprioritizing the Tutor Dashboard tab when it’s in the background, solving notification issues some tutors were seeing.

Please take a moment to complete the survey at the bottom of this post so we can continue to improve these features and address any issues you may be experiencing with them.

Math Typing Resources

Missing the math typing function from Whiteboard 1.0? The following websites make writing Latex equations simple and allow you to instantly convert equations into images that can be dragged and dropped onto the whiteboard. Use the Whiteboard 2.0 Practice Link to try them out.

‘Online Latex Equation Editor’
(Hint: Increase the font size to make your equations more reader-friendly.)

‘TeX Equation Editor’
(Hint: Increase the ‘height’ size to make your equations more reader-friendly.)


— Team Yup

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