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How does tutor response time work?

Several months ago, we made some changes to how tutor response time is calculated so that it wouldn’t be impacted by messages received in unsociable hours! :hourglass_flowing_sand:

For any messages received from a student after 10pm and before 7am, the response time calculator will not count that time. Here’s a few examples of how this works:

  • If a student was to message you at 9pm and you responded at 8am the next morning, the response time would be two hours rather than 11 hours, as the overnight period is excluded.

  • If a student was to message you at 9pm on Wednesday and you responded at 8am on Friday, this would have a response time of 16 hours, because both overnight periods are excluded.

  • If a student messaged you at 11pm and you responded at 7am the next morning, the response time would be 0 hours.

Your response time is calculated based on the first response you send to a student, any messages after that with the same student are not included in the response time. Of course, we would always recommend responding in a reasonable amount of time or as soon as you’re able to. :email:

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Hi Rachel, for the sake of tutors being able to set healthy boundaries has it been discussed that this could look more like ‘regular working hours’? Perhaps not 9am-5pm but 6/7 - 8/9 the next morning? Tutors could of course still reply later in the evening or earlier in the morning but others wouldn’t be penalised for setting these boundaries.

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Yes, this would be great! :+1:

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I absolutely agree with this Katie!

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I agree with this also!

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Agreed with the above comments. 10pm is absurdly late. There’s absolutely no reason why we should be penalised for not responding to work communication outside of office hours; this is a poor choice.

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I, however, don’t agree to have the alternative times of 6/7 - 8/9, as I feel that 9 am - 5 pm is more ideal for me as I need the early morning free to look after my 2-year-old son.

I think it’s worth bearing in mind that the purpose of response times is to give parents/students an idea of when they will hear back. If it is based on too restrictive a timescale or varies from person to person then that will defeat the point of it. If someone isn’t expected to reply for a few hours then it doesn’t really make much difference to them why not. Also, lots of students (and tutors) are unavailable during standard working hours due to work, so it would be completely pointless for them then.

I do agree that the current timescale is still too long. I imagine most people sending a message at any point after ~8pm are expecting to carry on messaging the next day rather than wanting an instant reply. I would personally say that it tracking response time between 8am-8pm is a reasonable compromise.

It may also that too much emphasis is being put on the exact timing. It’s tempting to say that more info is always better but realistically there doesn’t seem to be much need to predict response time down to the minute, or the hour for longer periods. It being there just becomes another metric to get as good a score on as possible. How about having a few periods of time that it says tutors will respond in instead of how precise it is currently? For instance it could say they usually reply within 1 hour, 3 hours, 6 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, or beyond.