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Module 1: Professional Ethics

Discover your rights, responsibilities, and ethics as a tutor.

Tutor Rights, Responsibilities, & Ethics




Tutoring takes a variety forms and tutors hold many titles. Fundamentally, a tutor is someone who provides formal (e.g. help rooms) or informal academic assistance (e.g. study tables) that supplements instruction provided by course instructors.


  • Tutoring is not meant to replace formal instruction.

  • A tutor can be someone designated by an instructor or on-campus service provider.

  • Tutees can seek out their own private services with the understanding that the tutor(s) may not be endorsed or promoted by the University.

  • Tutoring can occur voluntarily and informally in settings such as study groups.

  • Tutoring can take place in-person, online, individually, or in group settings.

  • Receiving pay for tutoring services may impact your financial aid status or visa status. Students should check with the appropriate party to confirm their eligibility to provide such a service.


Tutoring Session


A tutoring session can happen in both structured and unstructured settings. Tutoring occurs when one party or individual provides course and academic concept-related assistance of any type to another party or individual. Tutors may volunteer or receive pay for their services. On-campus service providers may require more specific expectations and/or outcomes of tutoring sessions. Private parties should agree on mutually understood expectations prior to the tutoring session(s).


Tutor Rights:


  • Tutors have the right to refrain from sharing his/her personal information with the student.

  • Tutors have the right to refuse to meet with students who make them feel uncomfortable or are disrespectful or rude.

  • Tutors have the right to request that tutoring sessions occur in a safe and public environment.

  • Tutors have the right to refer to other on-campus support services or staff members when student needs exceed the tutor's abilities or expertise.

  • Tutors have the right to self-promote their services and are encouraged to uphold the CRLA's (College Reading and Learning Association) Tutor Code of Ethics.


Students Receiving Tutoring (Tutee) Rights:


  • Students have the right to confidentiality. Tutors should not speak with outside parties about students’ performance.

  • Students have the right to report violations of university policy by a tutor.

  • Students have the right to uphold Ethical Standards and the Academic Integrity polices as defined by their university’s Student Conduct Code.

  • The responsibility for academic success rests with the student.

  • Students have the right to seek out formal and informal resources for academic help from any party offering services. Be mindful that on campus resources may use their discretion in making their services available.

  • Students have the right to request tutoring occur in a safe and public environment.

  • Students have the right to know the pedagogy and learning strategies of a tutor service provider and the intended result from a tutoring session.

  • Students have the right to seek private, self-promoted tutoring services with the understanding that tutors may not be endorsed by their university or held to the CRLA's (College Reading and Learning Association) Tutor Code of Ethics.




Our Tutoring Code of Ethics is based on standards set by the Association for the Tutoring Profession (ATP). Taking into account the diversity in tutoring and academic help resources, the following ethical standards should be upheld by any party seeking or providing tutoring of any type at Purdue. We highly encourage self-promoted tutoring services or individuals to hold themselves to the same standards as outlined in this document.


  • Best Interest: Tutors will be committed to acting in the best interest of a tutee as specified by the sponsoring organization or individual. Tutors will be expected to report instances in which students are in violation of tutor/tutee rights, university policy, and/or engaged in success-inhibiting behaviors. Private parties should agree on mutually understood expectations prior the tutoring session.

  • Responsibility: Tutors and tutees will take responsibility for their own behavior and work to resolve conflicts that may arise between themselves and other invested parties, including the instructor or advisor.

  • Academic Integrity: Tutors and tutees will practice and promote accuracy, honesty, and truthfulness. Students will uphold their university’s Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity statement(s). Each party will report violations of university policies through appropriate channels. Tutors will never accept illegal payment for a tutoring session.

  • Fairness: Tutors and tutees will exercise reasonable judgment and take precautions to ensure that their potential biases, the boundaries of their competence, and the limitations of their expertise do not lead to or condone unjust practices. Expectations should be established of mutually appropriate language and the pedagogical strategy in which tutoring will be delivered or supported.

  • Commitment: Tutors will fulfill commitments and expectations made to students, employers, and instructors. Furthermore, tutors and tutees should fulfill his or her responsibilities by being on-time and being prepared with appropriate materials to facilitate a session.

  • Standards: Tutors will refrain from guaranteeing grades or academic outcomes from a tutoring session. Tutors may be asked to uphold a particular philosophy or learning strategies from their employer.

  • Respect for Others: Tutors will respect the dignity and worth of all people and the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality, and self-determination. Tutors will respect cultural, individual, and role differences, including those based on age, sex, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status.

  • Relationship: Tutors will not engage in inappropriate relations with tutees. Tutors will also be aware of power structures and will avoid compromising environments that encourage the use of unbalanced power dynamics.

  • Confidentiality: Tutors will maintain the highest privacy standards in terms of protecting personal information relative to those whom they tutor. This information includes, but is not limited to, educational records, personal circumstances and history, and other pertinent information.

Tutoring Do's and Don'ts


Watch the video on Tutoring Do's and Don'ts. Click HERE!



When Beginning a Session:


Introduce yourself


Make sure you introduce yourself to the student during the first session, and an introduction should be more than just “Hi, my name is…” Consider sharing other information to begin the rapport building process and start the conversation. You might want to share your major, your college/school/program, your year in college, your interests or hobbies, or other facts you might share when doing a classroom introduction activity. If there is certain information you would like your tutee to share about themselves, make sure you are willing to share that same information.


Get to Know the Student & Build Rapport


Hopefully by introducing yourself and being willing to share, you will have created an environment where the tutee feels comfortable sharing more about themselves. Make sure you know the tutee’s name and how to pronounce it correctly. Asking questions and learning more about the tutee’s life and interests can help you customize examples, sample problems, and connections in the content to the tutee. Plus, developing a working relationship will make tutoring sessions more productive and less awkward for both of you.


Clarify Session Length


“So today we have … minutes to tackle…”

“What would make the next … minutes most beneficial for you?”

“What are three things you would like to accomplish in the next ... minutes?” 

These brief clarifications on how long the session will last provide direction and focus for both you and the tutee. This sets a shared expectation for the time and prevents any surprises or miscommunication about when you will end the session.


Set Goals


It is important for your tutee to have goals for the tutoring session as well as for the entire semester. The goals will guide your tutoring session, create a mutual understanding of what end goal is wanted out of the session, and provide a way to assess the session. Make sure the tutee is the one setting the goals-- you’re there to facilitate the process. More information on goal setting will be provided later on in the training.  

Discuss Expectations


Share any expectations you have for the tutee as well as what they can expect from you as their tutor. If you are working for a program or center, make sure you go over any policies, procedures, and/or forms that are required for the tutoring service. Ask if the tutee has any additional expectations for you as a tutor. If the expectations are unrealistic or unethical, clear up any confusion and provide suggestions on what might be a more realistic expectation, role, or responsibility.



When Ending a Session:


Recognize Time Remaining


Ten to fifteen minutes before the end of a session, let your tutee know how much time is remaining. This will not only help make sure you end on time, but it also allows you and the tutee to adjust how the session is going so you can address other material and questions. Consider saying, “Okay, so we have 10 minutes left in the session. What would be the most beneficial way to spend that time-- would you like to keep working on … or move on to …”


Summarize What was Covered in the Session


A great way to wrap up a session is to review what all was covered and accomplished. While you, as the tutor, can summarize the session, it can be more beneficial to have the tutee do the summary. This allows them to recall what they’ve learned, what has been accomplished, and what the main ideas were-- a valuable skill that they can also utilize after lectures and class sessions.


Evaluate the Goals


The session summary makes a great transition into evaluating the goals set at the beginning of the tutoring session. “So, did we accomplish your goal of…?”


Talk about the Next Session


When relevant, briefly talk about how a tutee can schedule another tutoring session with you. Let them know of your availability or if you have any conflicts to regularly scheduled appointment times. If the tutee does not feel like they met their goal or wants to go over the concepts again, you can use this time to suggest a goal or agenda for the next session.


Share any Closing Policies and Procedures


Remind students of anything they may need to do after the session. This includes providing you with an evaluation and feedback on the TMS site before they can schedule another session. At certain programs or centers, there may be additional requirements such as logging out. 


Watch the video on Tutoring Do's and Don'ts. Click HERE!

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