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(WBIR - Knox County) Knox County's pilot program that provides free tutoring to students is seeing much higher numbers than expected.

TutorTN is an online tutoring service available for free to all Knox County students. The program started at the beginning of the 2013 - 2014 school year.

Kierstyn Freeman, a junior at Bearden High School, has been taking advantage of the free online tutoring.

"I'm in Algebra II right now and the hardest thing is I'm just really bad with numbers, so comprehending and really grasping the concept. Especially since Algebra II is a lot faster paced than most maths, I feel like. So that's just my issue," she said. "Another student talked about using it and I said I wanted to use it. And you can do a ton of different things for every subject."

As a varsity softball player for her high school, Freeman said she likes how she's able to access the free help at her convenience.

Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre says they're glad to be able to provide the service to students.

"If you just go to Tutor.com and you're not a Knox County School student, if we didn't have this pilot program, three tutoring sessions cost more than $100," said Dr. McIntyre.

READ: Complete TutorTN report (PDF)

So far, there have been more than 1,500 live, one-to-one session through TutorTN. The three most popular session are all math-related.

"That's, I think, about two or three times what they expected," said Dr. McIntyre. "Tutor.com has an extremely rigorous selection process. They put them through a background check process. And then they also make sure that they are aware of and are cognizant of the standards that are specific, for example, to Tennessee."

To use TutorTN, students simply need to visit www.tutor.com/TutorTN and enter their seven-character active directory login or their Knox County Public Library card number. Once students log onto the service, they select grade levels and subjects. Students can post questions or upload problems to share with tutors who work with students in online classrooms where they can text, use interactive whiteboards, or share documents. Students who sign up for optional free accounts can share their sessions via email and review them later.

TutorTN is funded by the Tennessee State Library and Archives and is a partnership with Knox County Schools, the Knox County Public Library system, and Tutor.com. If successful, the program may be expanded to other parts of the state if funding can be found.

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