Supplemental Instruction (SI)
The Supplemental Instruction (SI) model of academic assistance helps students in historically difficult classes master content while they develop and integrate learning and study strategies. The program was originally developed at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1973 and has been adopted by hundreds of institutions in the U.S. and abroad. Goals of SI include: (1) improve student grades in targeted courses; (2) reduce the attrition rate within those courses; and (3) increase the eventual graduation rates of students. All students in a targeted course are urged to attend SI sessions, and students with varying ability levels participate. There is no stigma attached to SI since historically difficult courses rather than high risk students are targeted. SI is scalable and can be implemented in one or more courses each academic term. The International Center for SI can be accessed at http://www.umkc.edu/asm/si/ National Centers have been established in Australia, Canada, Republic of South Africa, Sweden, and United Kingdom. Their websites are included in the citations for this section of the bibliography.
There are four key persons involved with SI. The first is the SI supervisor, a trained professional on the SI staff. The SI supervisor is responsible for identifying the targeted courses, gaining faculty support, selecting and training SI leaders, and monitoring and evaluating the program. Once the historically difficult courses have been identified, the SI supervisor contacts the faculty member concerning SI for their course. The second key person for SI is the faculty member who teaches one of the identified courses. SI is only offered in courses in which the faculty member invites and supports SI. Faculty members screen SI leaders for content competency and approve selections. The third key person is the SI leader. SI leaders are students or learning center staff members who have been deemed course competent, approved by the course instructor and trained in proactive learning and study strategies. SI leaders attend course lectures, take notes, read all assigned materials, and conduct three to five out-of-class SI sessions a week. The SI leader is the “model student,” a facilitator who helps students to integrate course content and learning/study strategies. The fourth key member of the SI program are the participating students.
(1) Supplemental Instruction and Supplemental Instruction Leaders
Adams and Bush (2013) examined the relationship between Supplemental Instruction leader learning style and study session. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the learning styles of Supplemental Instruction leaders at a large, public university during the fall 2010 semester and determine whether or not their personal learning styles influenced the way they designed and developed out-of-class study sessions. The total population of Supplemental Instruction leaders was 37, of which 24 were eligible to participate in the study. Of the 24 eligible supplemental instruction leaders, 20 completed the entire study. Participants in the study included nine male and 11 female supplemental instruction leaders with a median age of 22.25 years-old. Seventeen participants indicated their classification as senior, two as junior, and one as sophomore. Of the participants, 16 indicated white as a race or ethnicity, one indicated Asian, two indicated African American, and one indicated both American Indian/Alaska Native and white. Supplemental instruction leader learning style was assessed using the Kolb Learning Style Inventory. Leaders were then interviewed, and their study sessions were analyzed. Through triangulation of data from learning style, interviews and actual study session documents, four major themes emerged. The four themes were: 1) incorporation of personal experience into study session design, 2) the sense of impact on student learning, 3) a feeling of the need to incorporate varied activities into study session design, and 4) the concept that students must take ownership over their own learning. No consistent pattern emerged among the themes; however, the results attributed out-of-class study session design to both the incorporation of personal learning style preferences as identified through the Kolb Learning Style Inventory and training conducted by the institution. Implications for future research include the need for continued research addressing how and if Supplemental Instruction leader learning style influences out-of-class study session design. Also, as institutions of higher education seek to expand academic support services to all students, future research should explore Supplemental Instruction leader training and the impact such training has on students seeking support from the Supplemental Instruction program.
A difficult issue for tutoring programs is low participation, especially at commuter campuses. Altomare and Moreno-Gongora (2018) examined the role and impact of Supplemental Instruction in accelerated developmental math courses. At the University of Houston-Downtown, this problem seems particularly acute for developmental education (DE) courses. This paper describes the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) with focus on the role of the SI Leader in accelerated DE math courses. A study was conducted between Fall 2015 and Spring 2017 to evaluate differences in student performance in two courses between sections that were staffed with an SI Leader and those that had no assistance from the SI program. The study found statistically significant differences in grade performance between SI session participants and non-SI participants. The study also found that students passed at a higher rate in accelerated Intermediate Algebra as compared to traditional biweekly sections. Finally, students passed at a higher rate in accelerated sections that were staffed with an SI Leader compared to accelerated sections without an SI Leader.
Brown, Naim, van der Meer, and Scott (2014) studied peer learning models in pre-service teacher education are in the early stages of implementation. Their research evaluated a pilot Peer-Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) program that supplemented a course for pre-service teachers at one New Zealand university. PASS participants discussed experiences of the program, revealing tensions between what students and facilitators felt should happen in PASS, and how they acted differently. We explained these tensions by considering how social and cognitive congruence operated between students and facilitators. The majority of our peer facilitators were pre-service teachers, suggesting these intersecting roles offered important considerations for reciprocity in near-peer relationships, and joint negotiations of roles and responsibilities. We conclude this article with implications for future training of PASS facilitators, including those training
Developing University graduates’ employability is of increasing strategic institutional focus in the UK. Existing research evidences the role of Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) in supporting students to develop personal, professional and employability skills. Chilvers and Waghome’s (2018) research explores the impact of the PASS Leader role on graduates’ job application experiences, their employability and effectiveness in their current roles. PASS Leader graduate survey (n=62) and interview (n=12) findings demonstrated participants referred to their PASS Leader Role significantly on their CVs, application forms and in job interviews. Respondents said that PASS Leadership, aided by reflection, enabled them to clearly evidence their development of employability skills, which they perceived as enabling them to stand out from other job candidates. Interview participants explained their PASS Leadership informed their development of a range of employability skills and attributes, including communication, confidence, teamwork, facilitation and leadership. PASS Leadership was regarded as addressing gaps in their course curriculum for developing skills they perceived as important for their current roles, highlighting the value of co and extra-curricular programmes, such as PASS.
Cole (2013) offers a personal story of a student study group leader from the University of Bedforshire in the United Kingdom that was involved with the campus PAL program. PAL is a common name in the United Kingdom for programs based on the Supplemental Instruction (SI) model from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The author provides a unique perspective by the person who is actually delivering the program to the students. The student PAL leader describes her nervousness in preparing for the PAL sessions, the manner in which the students interacted within them, and her perception of the overall program.
Cui, Kevin, Cortese, and Pepper’s (2015) research identifies and evaluates faculty and academic staff perceptions, experiences and expectations with respect to a voluntary, bilingual peer assisted learning (PAL) program, which operates for the benefit of students studying in the Faculty of Business at a regional Australian University. A survey instrument and semi-structured interviews were used to faculty executive and academic staff in order to collect information about the perceived benefits of the program and identify opportunities for improvement. Based on an analysis of student results, the bilingual PAL program is shown to have a positive effect on performance of students participating in the program. Results from interviews with executive and academic staff indicate a high level of support for this type of student learning program. Although the value of both bilingual teaching and PAL has been explored in the teaching and learning literature, few studies have examined the integration of these two approaches. This research contributes to the literature by exploring the practical contribution of integrating these approaches. This research also provides valuable information regarding executive and academic perceptions of PAL programs, which is infrequently addressed in the literature. Findings may be used to inform institutions of the value of bilingual PAL programs in relation to international student retention and learning support and provide a starting point for discussions around the practical implications of such programs.
Dean, Harden-Thew, Austin, and Zaccagnini (2015) explore transition into the first year of university through the reflections of peer leaders. It outlines two synergetic programs at the University of Wollongong (UOW): one supporting high school students in the early stages of transition to university (In2Uni); and the second supporting enrolled university students (PASS). Focus groups were conducted to elicit the voices of leaders reflecting on their own transition and experiences of mentoring peers through transition. The findings suggest peer leaders assist transitioning students to confront change; develop strong social networks; make connections within and across curriculum; and learn how to learn in the new academic context. It was found that peer leaders valued peer support in their own transition (or wished for it) and saw its ongoing significance for others in transition.
Eaton (2015), using a pedagogical action research methodology, evaluated the role of SSTs in bridging the experiential learning gap between practitioners and recipients. Analysis suggested positive associations between workshop participation, examination success and improved module marks. Surveys showed that first year students gained confidence, were less intimidated and empowered with revision and examination techniques. The SSTs gained valuable insights, tutoring experience and an evidence base useful to their career paths. Discussion focused upon risk-averse first year students who grasped and then transformed the experiences of the SSTs into successful examination performance. It is argued that our SSTs have helped to bridge the experiential learning gap and made inter-collegiate connections that would have been less-likely in a formal, teaching staff-led situation. Faculty suffering from examination related student progression problems could, therefore, benefit from adopting this locally controlled, low cost, small-scale, tailor-made, peer assisted tutoring scheme.
Using a phenomenological research method and Schlossberg’s transition theory as a theoretical framework, Eller, and Milacci (2017) addressed the central research question: How do students move in, through, and out of the Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leader experience at a mid-sized, private research university located in the Midwestern United States? Through questionnaires, interviews, archival records, and focus groups, data analyses revealed themes that were used to describe the participants’ perceptions of their SI Leader experience in the context of their transition from students to peer educators and the lasting impact of their experience beyond their SI Leader tenure. Themes are organized within Schlossberg’s stages of transition and the factors of situation, self, supports and strategies that influence how a person copes with transition. Study limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed. Appendices including data collection instruments are included.
Large classes are a reality in many tertiary programs in the South African context and this involves several challenges. One of these is the assessment process, including the provision of meaningful feedback and implementing strategies to support struggling students. Due to large student numbers, multiple choice questions (MCQs) are often used in tests, even though researchers have found possible negative consequences of using MCQs. Giving appropriate feedback has been identified as a strategy to remedy some of these negative consequences. Erasmus (2017) reports on action research in which an intervention strategy was implemented in a large first year Psychology class where Supplemental Instructors (SIs) were used to give detailed feedback to students after assessments. The lecturer first modelled how to give feedback by discussing the MCQs in detail with the SIs and identifying possible errors in their reasoning and meta-cognitive processes. The SIs subsequently repeated this feedback process in their small-group sessions. After each assessment, students who performed poorly were advised to attend a certain number of SI sessions before the next test, and their attendance, even though voluntary, was monitored to determine the effectiveness of the intervention. Students’ performance in subsequent tests was compared and the results seem to indicate that attending SI sessions was mostly associated with improved test results. This strategy also appears to encourage attendance of SI sessions. In addition, students’ responses in a feedback survey indicate an overall positive perception of this practice. These results can inform other lecturers teaching large classes and contribute to quality enhancement in assessment and better support for students
Ghazali and Ali (2015) reviewed the effect of Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL) program on higher education. Thus, this paper tries to explain the educational theories and concepts which support the effectiveness of the program. It also to identify the benefits and shortcomings of the program to the students who participated in the program based on the existing researches and experiences of some universities which had undertaken the schemes. The review is expected to highlight the best practices of PAL program adopted by universities. Lastly,recommendations from previous researches for a successful implementation of PAL were taken that to be used in the implementation of the program in the university, particularly for the accounting faculty.
Gill and McConnell (2016), in a case study of practice, provide an account of an academic peer-learning scheme in a university School of Education in the South of England. The significance of this case study is to provide insights specifically into the experiences of undergraduate peer leaders. The scheme is called PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions), and is a nationally recognized student-led mentoring scheme involving trained student volunteers from levels five and six (second and third year) facilitating weekly study sessions for level four (first year) students. Through the voices of seven student PASS leaders, this small-scale study employed a qualitative approach using a focus group to explore leaders’ motivations, and to enable a discussion of the benefits and challenges they experience through leadership. The findings also reveal the leaders’ awareness of their growing confidence, communication and employability skills development, particularly pertinent for Education students in relation to their future career paths in teaching and learning settings.
Supplemental Instruction (SI) is an academic support program consisting of a series of free, voluntary based weekly study sessions for students taking historically difficult courses. SI is designed to increase student retention and academic performance. Whereas Hensen and Shelley (2003) examined SI impact at a large public midwestern university, Goomas (2014) examined a newly implemented SI at an urban community college in downtown Dallas, Texas. General psychology students who regularly attended SI study sessions had an 83% success (final letter grade of A, B, or C) rate compared to 64% for students who did not participate. To further increase overall success, an early alert warning system within the Blackboard™ learning management system was set up to track each student’s performance in the event students started to fall behind in assignment completion. In that case, the student was placed in the SI study group. Additionally, this study examined the SI leaders themselves by tracking their academic and professional activities.
Research into Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) in Higher Education has largely focused on the positive effects of PASS on student motivation, retention and engagement. Less attention has been given to the cognitive, affective and professional development of the PASS Student Mentors through their engagement with students and academic staff. At Victoria University researchers Hammill, Best, and Anderson (2015) realized that learning and development for Student Mentors begins at training and continues during the semester, supported by several methods of formative feedback: weekly reflective posts through an online platform, weekly development workshops, observations, progress interviews, and evaluations. Despite ongoing training and development throughout the semester, PASS supervisors have observed that some Student Mentors do not have a clear understanding of the role expectations. This paper describes the processes undertaken to develop a rubric that clarifies PASS facilitation objectives for Student Mentors and their PASS supervisors.
Harrison, Lentz, Schmatz, Escovedo, and Stark (2017) studied peer-based anatomy tutoring for first-year medical students from the tutors’ perspective. In response to student demand for additional anatomy lab instructional time outside of typical teaching hours, a peer-based anatomy tutoring program was implemented at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Peer tutoring is a well-studied form of supplemental instruction and is known to benefit students and tutors alike. This study aims to address the effect of tutoring on the tutors themselves, specifically in the context of the gross anatomy laboratory. A one-time 12-question survey was distributed to all students who acted as tutors over a three-year period (n = 57), asking them to reflect on their experiences as tutors. Specifically, we aimed to address their thoughts on their career plans and academic achievement as they relate to their experience as tutors, as well as their opinions on effective tutoring techniques. Based on a 100% response rate, 85.7% of tutors reported being “very interested” in incorporating a teaching component to their career, and 73.7% of respondents reported that their experience tutoring influenced this plan. In contrast to an expectation that tutors would skew their residency choices toward anatomy-focused specialties, the distribution of tutors’ anticipated specialty choices actually reflected the overall distribution of the class. The tutors believed their experience tutoring improved their academic and clinical performance. The overwhelming majority reported believing that their experience as a tutor improved their USMLE Step 1 score (90.2%, n = 46). Sixty-one percent (n = 31) reported feeling that the experience as a tutor helped with their clerkship evaluations. Finally, the most effective tutoring techniques were quizzing the students directly and using the tutors’ own notes and study materials from the prior year. This study supports the finding that tutoring provides a significant beneficial effect on the tutors based on their own perceptions, and further studies obtaining quantitative data on academic achievement and clinical performance of the tutors will be beneficial.
Hilsdon (2014) draws upon small scale, qualitative research at a UK university to present a Learning Development (LD) perspective on peer learning. This approach is offered as a lens for exploring social aspects of learning, cultural change in higher education and implications for pedagogy and policy. Views of a small group of peer learning leaders are considered in relation to notions of learning and identity, within disciplinary or broader student communities.
Current research largely explores the evaluation and perceptions of PeerAssisted Study Sessions (PASS) from the student perspective. PASS is a common name used to describe Supplemental Instruction (SI) in Australia. Huang, Pepper, Cortese and Rogan (2013) study was to identify and evaluate institutional, faculty, and academic staff perceptions, experiences, and expectations of an established PASS program in the Faculty of Business in an Australian University. A survey and semi structured interviews were used to collect responses from participants from each level of the university, including the PASS program coordinators, Dean of Faculty, Head of School, and subject coordinators. Results highlight the importance of “closing the communication loop” between PASS leaders and academics to maintain the efficacy of such programs and aid in their continuous improvement. This research contributes to the literature concerning peer learning. The findings may be used in the future development of programs such as PASS to further inform the engagement of academic staff to enhance the student learning experience in such programs.
Ilserver and Leung (2014) highlight the importance of such tutorial services as Student-Learning-Group (SLG) for elementary accounting students in university education. In their first year of the bachelor program, fundamental concepts of various accounting topics such as accrual accounting are the corner-stones for students who move up to higher and more challenging accounting courses. With some help and guidance from senior students in the SLG program, freshmen students who are willing to receive help will receive the benefits of learning better and getting higher grades. Such experience will help those students who are well equipped with the fundamental concepts, able to study better in the intermediate and advanced accounting courses, and ultimately go back to become the tutor and leader in the SLG program and help other junior accounting students. Consequently, this on-going, reciprocal cycle of helping each other will become a positive culture that promotes better tutors and learners in the university.
James and Moore (2018) explored the learning styles and leadership styles of Supplemental Instruction (SI) leaders at Texas A&M University, and the impact of those preferences on recurring attendance to their sessions. The Learning Styles Inventory, the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire, and a demographic instrument were administered to SI leaders employed in the fall 2013 semester. This study is of significance to practitioners and researchers by identifying characteristics of SI leaders, one of the key personnel of a higher eduation learning program. The majority of participants in this study preferred a diverging or accommodating learning style. On the MLQ participants had a higher mean score for transformational leadership. The highest mean score reported was for inspirational motivation.
James and Templeman (2015) conducted an exploratory study of the emotional intelligence (EI) of student leaders participating in a Supplemental Instruction (SI) program was conducted to determine whether a significant relationship exists between leadership effectiveness and EI as measured by the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i) and to assess the impact of the leadership experience on EI scores through pre- and post-testing. The results revealed a statistically significant difference in the Total EQ-i of the more effective leaders as compared to the others. The more effective leaders also scored higher on all the EQ-i subscales, with the differences on Social Responsibility, Impulse Control, and Reality Testing being statistically significant. As for changes in EI, only the scores on the EQ-i Problem Solving subscale increased significantly between the pre- to post-testing sessions. Implications for practice and future research are addressed.
SI is a proactive academic support program that is aimed at improving student learning in traditionally “high-risk” college courses by integrating learning and critical thinking strategies with technical course content. Jones (2013) explored the association between a supplemental instruction (SI) program and student performance in an introductory accounting course. This paper examines and describes the classical SI model as it has been applied in both non-business and business disciplines. We then extend the work of Etter, Burmeister, and Elder (2000) and Jones and Fields (2001) which examine the effectiveness of the SI model in introductory accounting by providing empirical tests after controlling for differences in SI group leaders. The SI leader’s duty is to provide structure to the collaborative learning environment and to integrate study skills and learning strategies with course content. However, empirical analysis incorporating controls for differences in SI leaders is lacking. Results, based on both nonparametric chi-square analysis and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) indicate that SI is an effectivlkjje program that increases academic performance as measured by total points earned in the course. Further, results suggest that the SI program remains effective across multiple SI leaders.
Technological advancements have forced space and time to evolve to present a virtual university that allows increasing numbers of students to study from a university rather than at university. Kimmins (2014) examined the impact of a version of Supplemental Instruction (SI) with students. The best people to guide and advise students through their university journey are experienced students. As Longfellow, May, Burke, and Marks-Maran (2008, p. 95) put it, teachers may be content or subject experts, but current “students are experts at being students.” Studies by Falchikov (2001) found that student leaders provide “expert scaffolding” that steps students from one level of learning to the next within the discipline area. Peer-assisted programs contribute to the development of a caring learning community as their trained leaders scaffold learning and negotiation between lecturer and student, both of which are desirable for student success and sustainable learning practices. Peer-assisted programs also provide a body of students with leadership qualities. This paper briefly explores the history and evolution of an on-campus peer led program to one that is embracing technology and online modes of peer learning. The program’s endurance hints at excellence and its dynamic nature is founded on innovation. Peer led programs have been found to benefit student leaders as much as the students who attend the sessions. Recent research on student leadership is uncovering the benefits to universities, as well as to individual students, of creating a pool of student leaders who can be retained after graduation as quality lecturers and tutors. It also produces graduates who possess the leadership skills prized by employers. Engagement with leadership activities such as those provided by peer led academic programs is a means of benefitting all participating students. This area is under-researched at this point. It is an area that needs further exploration and extension.
Kodabux and Hoolash (2015) addressed an issue seldom addressed in most of the literature about how peer learning is perceived by the faculty members that host the program within their courses. For that reason, it is included. The rest of this abstract comes from the authors’ wrods: The Student Learning Assistant (SLA) scheme was introduced in 2010 at Middlesex University Mauritius Branch Campus (MUMBC). The scheme is similar to traditional peer learning strategies, such as Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) and Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS), which are widely operated in higher education environments to motivate student engagement with their learning. Different departments at MUMBC employ the SLA scheme as a student-to-student support mechanism. General feedback from students receiving SLA support reveals benefits of the scheme in terms of students’ active engagement with course materials and deeper understanding of their subject area. However, within these departments, lecturers’ perceptions of the scheme are surprisingly varied. Since the 1970s, a comprehensive range of research has been undertaken on the expansion of peer learning and the welcome benefits it affords to students. Yet, the focus on student experience has been at the expense of overlooking lecturers’ views of the scheme. This paper seeks to bridge this gap. It aims to examine lecturers’ experience of the scheme and to recommend actions to overcome some of their apprehension with the project.
Lipsky and Kapadia (2013) employed a qualitative research model to understand the potential outcomes of the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program on the SI leaders. Thirteen experienced SI leaders participated in focus groups. The study was completed as part of the program’s assessment and accountability system in addition to understanding a topic not often investigated in a rigorous fashion. The study revealed several findings: (1) intellectual growth (knowlege of subject matter, learning strategies, and higher-level cognition; (2) personal growth (listening, interpersonal communication, time management, leadership, and self-confidence; and (3) professional growth (work and career-related knowledge and self-efficacy). The SI leaders saw how these skills would be useful as they began their work careers. For SI leaders who had considered a career in education, the experience of serving with the program had solidified their decision. Some SI leaders now were considering a decision or change from previous interests for a career in teaching.
The majority of research on peer assistance programs explores benefits for student participants, such as increased retention and course grades; however, benefits gained by the programs’ student leaders are often overlooked. Lozada’s (2017) research study described how undergraduate students benefit from their experience serving as leaders in a Supplemental Instruction (SI) program at a four-year, private university. The SI Leaders who participated in the study expressed throughout their interview responses and within their graphic elicitations various ways in which they benefit personally by serving as an SI Leader. These benefits were categorized into the following six emergent themes: academic improvement, increased leadership attributes, more effective communication skills, fulfillment in helping others, effective time management, and relationship-building opportunities, all of which translate into higher levels of overall institutional engagement.
Lozada and Johnson (2018) explored the experience of former Supplemental Instruction (SI) leaders who worked at a four-year, private university while completing their undergraduate degrees. Serving as an SI leader prepared them for their post-graduation lives through the transferability of skills to post-graduate studies and employment: knowledge skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills, collaboration skills, and future vocational plans.
Lozada and Johnson (2018) explored how former Supplemental Instruction (SI) leaders experienced perspective transformation as a result of serving in a peer leadership role at a 4-year, private university through a blended theoretical framework based on the principles set forth by Mezirow and Nohl. Through their participation in interviews and graphic elicitations, former SI leaders offered valuable insights concerning the transformative nature of student leadership and its impact on the emerging sense of self in social and learning contexts. This study also assists in filling the void in research on how undergraduate students benefit by serving in a leadership role within a peer-facilitated academic assistance program in higher education. Participants communicated that working in an SI program provided them the ability to develop meaningful relationships with faculty, students, and peer SI leaders, which, in turn, fostered a greater sense of campus engagement and interest in other student leadership positions. Former SI leaders also expressed increased levels of confidence as they learned to navigate their student–facilitator roles.
Malm, Bryngfors, and Morner’s (2012) research indicates that students who work as Supplemental Instruction (SI) leaders gain several benefits from their SI experience. The benefits can be divided into the following main themes: Improved communication skills; Improved interpersonal skills (including abilities to listen to other people’s thoughts and reasoning; creating trust between yourself and your group members; to meet and inspire different individuals; to make a group of individuals enthusiastic about performing a task; and to get students to help each other); Improved leadership skills (including being a leader of a group, talking in front of others, leading a discussion, organizing the work for a group, and creating an easy-going, positive, and supportive atmosphere at the learning sessions); Improved self-confidence; and deeper understanding of course content
This PASS leadership module has been designed to enable student leaders to obtain additional academic credit for their commitment and contribution to the Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) scheme, and support development of leadership skills. Student leaders are introduced to the skills, knowledge and strategies necessary to facilitate group learning, and use reflection as a key approach to improving their PASS sessions and personal development. The module offers a range of workshops, online materials, group and individual activities for students to draw upon, to inform their PASS sessions, and enable the leaders and PASS students to get the most out of the scheme. McConnell and Chilvers (2014) described the peer learning scheme, how it was developed and the challenges faced during the first two years of implementation. It considers the variety of reflective and transformative learning theories that informed the design and development of the module and explores the transformational learning opportunities that leaders have experienced, drawing upon students’ written ‘critical incident reports’ that enabled them to critically reflect on a particular case study or an area of personal development. It considers what has been learnt and how this learning might be used to improve the module in future.
The purpose of McPhail, Despotovic, and Fisher’s (2012) qualitative study was to inform and advance the body of knowledge of the contribution that ‘Peer Assisted Study Sessions’ (PASS) provides for student leaders in terms of its impact on their self-efficacy – the personal belief in competence to succeed within certain situations (Bandura, 1986). To date, there has been little research providing a practical insight into whether acting as the leader of university PASS has a perceived impact on self-efficacy. The results of the qualitative research are based on interviews from a sample of 16 leaders. We found that being a PASS leader improved self-efficacy specifically in the areas of: cognitive development, performance, engagement and satisfaction. The results of this study may have implications for the development of future programs, particularly, in terms of attracting suitable candidates in the recruitment process, the future training of leaders and the provision of ongoing support for the leaders to participate effectively in such programs.
Malm, Bryngfors, and Morner’s (2010) seminal study presented an evaluation of the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program in five engineering programs within the Faculty of Engineering (LTH) based on data from questionnaires to SI participants and SI leaders. Outcomes studied were their responses to the survey questions, credits taken by the students during the first year, and average grade data from high school for the first year students. The results show that participation in SI sessions markedly improves the chances of student success in studies during the first year and that the SI program creates a positive social introduction to engineering studies. The SI sessions also improved the participants’ study techniques and development of common skills important for the engineer, such as problem solving, group work, and presenting/discussing results
Supplemental Instruction (SI) is today a well-known academic assistance program, providing help for students in “difficult” courses at colleges and universities. Little attention has been paid however to the possibility of also implementing the SI program in upper secondary school. Malm, Morner, Bryngfors, Edman, and Gustafsson (2012) presented qualitative results from such an SI program in a Swedish setting. Here, students from the faculty of engineering at Lund University, act as SI-leaders at eleven upper secondary schools in the local region, in subjects such as math, physics and chemistry. The main conclusion is that the SI-methodology also seems to work in an upper secondary school environment. The students who attend SI regularly appear to obtain new study strategies to increase their understanding of the subject, besides improving on general skills such as team-work, communicating on a subject, and making presentations in front of others. There are several advantages for the schools and university involved. For example they gain a formal and an informal link, which can prove useful in many circumstances when an exchange of information is needed, and both can use SI as a means to boost recruitment. For the upper secondary school, the students can get an alternative view on subjects, which hopefully stimulates interest and understanding. The students also get a more mature role model to turn to. For the university an additional advantage is that a more informal view of what it is like to study at university can be provided to upper secondary school students.
Miller and Schraeder (2015) conducted research on group learning and cognitive science in a study of motivation, knowledge, and self-regulation in a larger lecture college. At a research University near the east coast, researchers restructured a College Algebra course by formatting the course into two large lectures a week, an active recitation size laboratory class once a week, and an extra day devoted to active group work called Supplemental Practice (SP). SP was added as an extra day of class where the SP leader has students work in groups on a worksheet of examples and problems, based off of worked-example research, that were covered in the previous week’s class material. Two sections of the course were randomly chosen to be the experimental group and the other section was the control group. The experimental group was given the SP worksheets and the control group was given a question and-answer session. The experimental group’s performance was statistically significant compared to the control on a variety of components in the course, particularly when prior knowledge was factored into the daa.
Moleko, Halalele, and Mahlomaholo (2014) examined the challenges experienced with the implementation of supplemental instruction in institutions of higher education. Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a cooperative learning model designed to improve student performance in high-risk courses with a history of high failure rates. It is aimed at facilitating understanding of course content while at the same time assisting students to develop better learning skills. Although there is substantial evidence of the benefits of SI in institutions of higher education which have adopted it, there are challenges that hamper its successful implementation. The main findings in terms of the challenges were: lack of a coordinated plan; lack of articulated vision and ownership; SI leaders’ inability to model effective instructional strategies; SI leaders’ inability to effectively engage students in their own learning; and no feedback offered within the setup to keep stakeholders abreast and to promote individual growth. Critical Emancipatory Research (CER) was used for this study to analyze the data.
Every program in higher education must now demonstrate its contribution to the mission and goals of its institution and provide some measure of student learning outcomes. Norton and Agee (2014) in a white paper, commissioned by the College Reading and Learning Association, sought to encourage learning assistance professionals by offering a practical approach to assessing their programs. Our purpose is to illuminate the many assessment resources available and the methods used by individuals in the field. Rather than review the general literature for higher education program evaluation from years past or the publications focusing on evaluation of developmental education courses, we highlight recent and current strategies used by learning assistance practitioners to assess and improve their programs and services. This information would be valuable for evaluation of Supplemental Instruction and other peer learning programs.
Since the inception of Supplemental Instruction study groups in 1973, the benefits for student participants have been thoroughly studied and reported. There have also been reports about the associated benefits that SI Leaders can acquire from being involved with the program as peer mentors; however, these claims remain primarily anecdotal, and there has been a minimal amount of research conducted on the actual nature of the benefits for SI facilitators (Couchman, 2009). Podolsky’s (2018) research project aimed to discover the specific nature of the benefits to SI Leaders who have moved on to other academic programs or professional careers. The research was conducted by surveying 24 former SI Leaders and through two focus groups consisting of 5 former Leaders in total. The results indicate that the SI Leaders benefitted by improving their own study skills in a variety of ways, improving their communication skills, increasing their self-confidence when public speaking, developing both their appreciation of and their ability to work in group situations, increasing their capacity to be flexible and adaptable, and improving their teaching abilities. Although these skills are not necessarily taught or learned through typical course work, they are highly valuable in graduate and professional programs, and workplaces often covet employees who already have many of these “leadership” skills. By placing a greater focus on the leadership development aspects of SI programming, this research study provides concrete evidence that there are tangible benefits for SI Leaders themselves, which confirms the value of SI programming beyond the more established benefits for student participants.
Rapley (2015) studied how the University of Bedfordshire uses experienced Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) students to inspire and nurture future generations of PAL leaders. As staff awareness and understanding of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) has continued to develop, a conscious decision has been made to hand over greater responsibility and ownership of PAL to the PAL Leader student team. PAL is based on the Supplemental Instruction (SI) model with a broader interest in holistic development of the students beyond just subject course competence. The success of any PAL initiative rests upon the quality of the PAL Leaders who facilitate the sessions. Motivated, committed and enthusiastic PAL Leaders are key to ensuring that engaging and meaningful sessions are provided for first year students. With our mission to ensure PAL Leaders truly benefit and develop themselves during their tenure, it was felt that this transformation could only take place if PAL Leaders really had opportunities to step up and take ownership of PAL.
Schuster (2018) addressed the role of Supplemental Instruction (SI) in our Computer Science courses. SI is a free, voluntary academic development program aimed at increasing students’ retention and success in their academic careers. The program is offered to all students in various historically-difficult subjects. SI is led by upper-level students (“SI Leaders”) who have successfully taken these courses during previous semesters. The SI leaders are embedded in the classroom in order to help the students along with the instructors. They facilitate regularly-scheduled out-of-class sessions, which are structured group study sessions to support students so they can master the course’s content and learn effective study skills. We discuss the advantages and positive results we have seen in our Computer Science courses as a result of incorporating SI.
Supplemental Instruction (SI) programs have been used in college and university programs since their inception in the 1970’s. The programs are viewed as a cost-effective method of delivering peer-assisted instruction to students in courses deemed difficult by virtue of the fact that they suffer from high failure and drop rates. There have been many analyses that attempt to determine the efficacy of these programs in improving student involvement and grades in the courses and in reducing drop rates and retention. Virtually every analysis has arrived at the conclusion that the SI program is successful in these endeavors. A state school is involved in the transformation of many lower-division classes to a blended learning format in an effort to increase efficiency for the use of teaching staff and classroom space. In the view of Szal and Kennelly (2017), the use of SI programs using student leaders takes on added importance. The paper performs an analysis concerning the results for an introductory business statistics class. The results indicate that SI sessions had a large positive effect on student grades in the class, and the effect of SI sessions is larger than either time spent on homework assignments or participation in lecture activities. For every SI session attended a student’s grade improves by 0.73 points on a 100 point scale. The paper concludes by indicating additional data requirements that could help future research clarify the effects of SI on different demographic groups.
Tran, Hartmann, Olsker, and Bonsangue (2016) in a study conducted at California State University, Fullerton, examined the impact of SI upon the leaders. Variables included sex, first generation status, and underrepresented minority group status. Men increased confidence and communication effectiveness at higher rates than women. The underrepresented group reported higher ability to handle student conflict and communicate with peer than majority students.
(2) Supplemental Instruction and Underrepresented Minorities and Disadvantaged Students
There is a critical shortage of culturally diverse dental practitioners in the United States. In addition, many underrepresented minority (URM) and disadvantaged students have difficulty with the course material needed to pursue a dental degree. One strategy for helping students achieve higher grades and persist in difficult course work is the implementation of Supplemental Instruction (SI). Carter-Hanson and Gadbury-Amyot’s (2016) research described the outcomes of using SI online for the first time as part of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, School of Dentistry’s (UMKC-SOD) Admissions Enhancement Program (AEP). The AEP program was designed to provide URM and disadvantaged pre-dental students with increased academic skills training in Biology, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Math via online modules. Students met with their SI Leader three times per week at a specified time in a synchronous format to review course material, problem solve, and work collaboratively with fellow classmates. Twelve URM and disadvantaged students participated in the AEP from 2011 to 2014 for a total of 48. Success in the AEP was measured by an increase the student’s Dental Admission Test (DAT) score and admission to dental school. At the end of each year’s program, students completed a survey regarding all aspects of the AEP. The study found that AEP students who were admitted to dental school had a significantly higher DAT score than those students who were not admitted. Students also reported that the required time for SI sessions and test taking instruction helped them prepare for the DAT. Over 72% of students responded favorably that SI contributed to their success in the AEP and to taking the DAT. Students reported that attending the SI sessions helped them work through problems in the course material. This study found evidence that SI is a viable strategy for helping URM and disadvantaged students be successful in high stakes courses needed to move forward and pursue health profession degrees.
Tertiary institutions aim to provide high quality teaching and learning that meet the academic needs for an increasingly diverse student body including indigenous students. Curtis, Wikaire, Kook, Honey, Kelly, Poole, and Reid (2014) researched what helps and hinders indigenous student success in higher education health programs in a qualitative study using the Critical Incident Technique. Tātou Tātou is a qualitative research project utilising Kaupapa Ma¯ori research methodology and the Critical Incident Technique interview method to investigate the teaching and learning practices that help or hinder Ma¯ori student success in non-lecture settings within undergraduate health programmes at the University of Auckland. Forty-one interviews were completed from medicine, health sciences, nursing and pharmacy. A total of 1346 critical incidents were identified with 67% helping and 33% hindering Ma¯ori student success. Thirteen sub-themes were grouped into three overarching themes representing potential areas of focus for tertiary institutional undergraduate health programme development: Māori student support services, undergraduate programme, and Ma¯ori student whanaungatanga. Academic success for indigenous students requires multi-faceted, inclusive, culturally responsive and engaging teaching and learning approaches delivered by educators and student support staff.
Supplemental instruction (SI)—variously known as peer-assisted learning, peer-assisted study sessions, and other names—is a type of academic support intervention popular in higher education. In SI sessions, a senior student facilitates peer learning between undergraduates studying a high-risk course. Dawson, van der Meer, Skalicky, and Cowley, (2014) presented a systematic review of the literature between 2001 and 2010 regarding the effectiveness of SI. Twenty-nine studies met the inclusion criteria. Due to methodological heterogeneity and lack of consistency defining the SI treatment, qualitative synthesis methods were applied. For seven included studies, however, an effect size of SI participation on final grades was calculated, ranging from d = 0.29 to d = 0.60. The findings of the review are consistent with claims validated by the U.S. Department of Education in the1990s that participation in SI is correlated with higher mean grades, lower failure and withdrawal rates, and higher retention and graduation rates. Specifically, those three claim statements were: 1. Students participating in SI within the targeted high-risk courses earn higher mean final course grades than students who do not participate in SI. This finding is still true when analyses control for ethnicity and prior academic achievement. 2. Despite ethnicity and prior academic achievement, students participating in SI within targeted high-risk courses succeed at a higher rate (withdraw at a lower rate and receive a lower percentage of [fail] final course grades) than those who do not participate in SI. 3. Students participating in SI persist at the institution (reenroll and graduate) at higher rates than students who do not participate in SI.
At the college level, the effectiveness of active-learning interventions is typically measured at the broadest scales: the achievement or retention of all students in a course. Coarse-grained measures like these cannot inform instructors about an intervention’s relative effectiveness for the different student populations in their classrooms or about the proximate factors responsible for the observed changes in student achievement. Eddy and Hogan (2014) disaggregated student data by racial/ethnic groups and first generation status to identify whether a particular intervention—increased course structure—works better for particular populations of students. We also explore possible factors that may mediate the observed changes in student achievement. We found that a “moderate-structure” intervention increased course performance for all student populations, but worked disproportionately well for black students — halving the black–white achievement gap—and first-generation students — closing the achievement gap with continuing-generation students. We also found that students consistently reported completing the assigned readings more frequently, spending more time studying for class, and feeling an increased sense of community in the moderate-structure course. These changes imply that increased course structure improves student achievement at least partially through increasing student use of distributed learning and creating a more interdependent classroom community
Elder and Jacobs (2015) evaluated a program to identify and support students at risk for failure in nursing courses or NCLEX-RN. A case management model (CMM) was implemented to provide assessment of and support for 183 bachelor of science in nursing students; 83 were identified as at risk by the CMM criteria. The CMM involved student self-evaluation and grade assessment of prerequisite and nursing courses. Science course grades were all found to be significantly higher for those students who passed NCLEX-RN on the first attempt than those who did not. Admission GPA was significant (t = 2.443, P = .018). Using a Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire for self-evaluation, at-risk students rated their performance in nursing courses higher in every area than the non-at-risk student group, significantly higher for self-efficacy (t = 2.829, P = .005) and metacognition (t = 2.426, P = .016). Neither task value nor critical thinking scores were significant. Graduation rate was 100% with 158 students passing NCLEX-RN on the first attempt (64 of 83 at risk and 94 of 100 non-at risk). The CMM was effective in identification and support of at-risk students.
Minority providers are more likely to practice in underserved areas with minority populations. Currently the representation of minorities in healthcare professions is less than that of the United States population. More research is needed to examine specific variables associated with educational success of minority students. Ferrell, Decrane, Edwards, Foli, and Tennant (2016) examined, and increased the understanding of, current factors that influence success among ethnic and minority nursing students. Methods: The revised Minority Student Nurse Questionnaire (MSNQ) was utilized for this study with a sample of 31 students from 2 entry-level nursing programs in the Midwest. Results: Minority students were slightly older than traditional college students and consisted of African-American/Black, Native (American) Indian, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, and Hawaiian. Students reported multiple factors that influenced their higher education experience. Academic services and cultural organizations were available, free, but were used by less than half of the students. Several sources of financial assistance are important, including scholarships, federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans, and grants. Students most strongly disagreed with the statement that ‘the number of minorities in this program is representative of the number of minorities overall.’ Students felt that several services were supportive and helpful strategies for success. Conclusion: Although progress has been made to improve success of minority students, numbers continue to lag between demographic population overall.
A large number of high school students entering college are arriving academically unprepared. Abilene Christian University’s newly founded Bridge Scholars Program seeks to help and support academically at-risk students based upon low ACT/SAT scores and low high school GPA averages. Fleet (2017) utilized the Supplemental Instruction program, (based upon Bandura’s social learning theory), as its academic intervention. The research questions are 1) How does Supplemental Instruction contribute to an at-risk student’s college readiness (knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviors and strategies)? And, 2) Does a student’s internal or external locus of control predict academic performance? A pretest and posttest using Rotter’s (1966) Internal-External Locus of Control Scale measured students’ overall academic confidence. Class test scores, class final grades, and semester GPA were used to measure Supplemental Instruction program effectiveness. Although Locus of Control proved insignificant, test scores, final class grade, and overall semester GPA indicate that the Bridge Scholars program and Supplemental Instruction are highly effective interventions in better preparing at-risk students for the rigors of college level academia.
Hakizimana, and Jurgens (2013) explored how Freire’s views on the dialectical nature of teaching and learning inspired a group of postgraduate students who had previously been involved in facilitating Supplemental Instruction (SI) but observed low student participation. After reflecting on their own experiences the group initiated a discussion forum for first year biology students with the aim of transforming student learning from a relatively passive experience to an active, engaging process. In contrast to the SI program Peer Teaching/Learning Experience Programme (PTLEP) sessions were characterized by large student numbers per session (100 to 300), a much longer duration (up to 3 hours), and they were conducted at weekends or after hours. Furthermore, sessions were offered only close to exams and tests with two sessions per test and three sessions per exam. In the PTLEP tutorials, facilitators guide the process and make comments, but only after the students themselves have made suggestions on how to answer questions correctly. Records from the attendance registers, evaluation questionnaires given to a sample of students attending the program and video recordings of sessions revealed that PTLEP increased attendance and active participation of the attending students. These multi-layered peer interactions mitigated the effects of the high student-lecturer ratios observed at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and offered pedagogical benefits as competition was decreased among students and cooperation, motivation, self-confidence and self-esteem were increased. Contrary to the belief that peer teaching should be limited to peer discussion in small groups, the s students’ responses to a set of questionnaires and their participation in academic workshops indicate that, in an African context, peer education involving large numbers of students creates a motivating learning environment
Meling, Mundy, Kupczynski, and Green (2013) provided insight into the effectiveness of Supplemental Instruction (SI) at a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI), particularly with Hispanic students. The United States Department of Education (2010) defines an HSI as having a 25% or greater full-time, Hispanic student enrollment and 50% or more of all student s are eligible for need-based financial aid. It is essential for many Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) that have a high percentage of Hispanic populations to find ways where they will support and retain a growing number of minority degree-seeking students. One of the biggest challenges for HSIs is not only increasing retention, but additionally supporting the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) courses at these institutions. The study contributes to the existing research that shows that SI is an effective student success intervention in improving academic success and course retention among Hispanic students in STEM related courses. The results showed a significant difference in academic success and course completion among Hispanic students at an HSI with SI participation in Chemistry and Physics courses.
Ingram, T. N., & Marcellus, E. (2018). Engaging foreign-black males through Supplemental Instruction. In T. N. Ingram & J. Coaxum (Eds.), Engaging African American males in community college (pp. 121-144): Information Age Published
Mosley, Pham, Maize, and Lagrange’s (2013) study indicated that students who had been enrolled in the program perceived an academic benefit. Student insight on the mandatory attendance policy, the notification of and preparation for the sessions, and the negative stigma related to an academic assistance program led to changes that were incorporated into the supplemental instruction SI design and implementation. The early detection of high-risk students and immediate and ongoing interaction between these students and course faculty is perceived as a benefit and a unique aspect of our Doctor of Pharmacy program. This study introduces the development and implementation of an SI program and the findings may assist other schools of pharmacy in designing their own SI programs.
The worldwide business regarding the high dropout and low throughput rates at previously disadvantaged universities in South Africa led to the institution of academic support programs. Tangwe (2016) examines the insights of undergraduate students regarding the execution of the supplemental instruction and speech and writing consultant programs at the University of Fort Hare, South Africa. The findings revealed that these programs are very useful and helpful to undergraduate students, though there were some shortcomings that require the attention of the governing body of the university. In this regards, some recommendations were provided in order to improve the implementation of these cherished programs. The evaluation study was conducted at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.
The general concern regarding the high dropout and low throughput rates at previously disadvantaged universities led to the establishment of academic support programs. Tangwe and Rembe (2014) examined the perceptions of undergraduate students regarding the implementation of the Supplemental Instruction and language and writing consultant programs at one university in South Africa. The findings reveal that these programs are very useful and helpful to undergraduate students though there are some shortcomings that need the attention of the administration of the university. In this regards, some recommendations are presented in order to ameliorate the implementation of these cherished programs
Although there is a large body of research on the effectiveness of supplemental instruction for college undergraduates, very little of it has focused on transfer students, who often confront additional sources of stress and historically perform more poorly than their native student counterparts. Musah and Ford (2017) investigated the effectiveness of a peer-based supplemental instructional program in general and organic chemistry at a large state university over a six-year period, while considering differences across transfer and non-transfer students. The results suggest that the supplemental instruction improved outcomes overall but that non-transfer students benefit to a greater degree than transfer students, in the form of higher grades and pass rates, from attending supplemental instruction. The results suggest that peer-based supplemental instruction is a useful method to improve undergraduate student performance in chemistry, but more research is needed on ways to enhance the effectiveness of interventions in improving the performance of transfer undergraduate students in STEM fields.
Supplemental instruction (SI) is a small-group, peer-mentored program which is compatible with the learning preferences of American Indian students. Okun, Berlin, Hanrahan, Lewis, James, and Johnson (2015) tested the hypothesis that SI is a compensatory strategy that reduces the differences in the grades earned in introduction to psychology by Euro-American and American Indian students. The sample consisted of 129 American Indian students and 4588 Euro-American students enrolled in introduction to psychology at a US university. As hypothesized, a multi-level model yielded a significant (p < .01) interaction between SI and ethnicity on course grade. Whereas for non-SI users, the gap between Euro-American and American Indian students was .71 grade points, for SI users, it was only .15 grade points. Strategies should be devised for increasing SI visits by students enrolled in introduction to psychology, particularly those who belong to American Indian tribes.
While randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are the “gold standard” for impact evaluation, they face numerous practical barriers to implementation. In some circumstances, a randomized-encouragement design (RED) is a viable alternative, but applications are surprisingly rare. Paloyo, Rogan, and Siminski (2016) discussed the strengths and challenges of RED and apply it to evaluate a mature Supplemental Instruction (SI) or PASS (Peer Assisted Study Session) program at an Australian university. A randomly selected subgroup of students from first-year courses. A randomly selected subgroup of students from first-yar course (ܰ = 6954) was offered large incentives (worth AUD 55,000) to attend PASS, which increased attendance by an estimated 0.47 hours each. This first-stage (inducement) effect did not vary with the size of the incentive and was larger (0.89) for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Instrumental variable estimates suggest that one hour of PASS improved grades by 0.065 standard deviations, which is consistent with the non-experimental literature. However, this estimate is not statistically significant, reflecting limited statistical power. The estimated effect is largest for students in their first semester at university.
Rabitory, Hoffman, and Person, D. R. (2015) evaluated variables associated with academic preparation and student demographics as predictors of academic achievement through participation in supplemental instruction (SI) programs for community college students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. The findings suggest a differential impact of SI outcome for students based on gender and ethnicity. Furthermore, the study underscores the importance of evaluating the influence of academic achievement and student demographic variables when considering the development of SI programs on community college campuses.
Rafi, and Karagiannis (2014) drew a comparison of high attrition rates among African-American males versus African-American females in higher education and examine the role of Supplemental Instruction (SI). The study was conducted at a minority institution (Winston-Salem State University) where African-American students are in the majority. For this study, data was utilised from Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) surveys, Accuplacer placement test scores of incoming freshmen populations, and academic assistance pursued through the SI Program by African-American male and African-American female students. Primary sources and available statistical information were also used. Comparisons were made between the study habits of African-American male and African-American female students and their implications for the retention rates of these students. These comparisons are presented in the findings section of the paper. Brief conclusions end the paper
Summers, Acee, and Ryser (2015) investigated students’ academic achievement in three high-enrollment, introductory-level history sections at a large, public, Hispanic-serving university. Using a conditional indirect-effects model, they analyzed Supplemental Instruction (SI) attendance and class absences as predictors of course success, after accounting for sex, ethnicity/race, and SAT/ACT scores. Results suggested a positive direct effect of SI attendance on course success and a negative direct effect of absences. A significant interaction effect between ethnicity/race and SI suggested that Hispanic students reaped stronger benefits from SI than Caucasian students, and that the course achievement gap between these groups was smaller when students attended more hours of SI. Their study contributes new findings to research supporting the effectiveness of SI by examining mediation and moderation effects and controlling for confounding variables.
Supple, Best, and Amanda (2016) considered when and for what purposes Peer Assisted Study Session (PASS) Leaders at an English medium university use their first language (when that language is not the dominant language of instruction) to facilitate PASS sessions in an English speaking university. This small qualitative exploratory study examines the experiences of eight PASS Leaders who speak a language other than English. The paper explores how and for what purposes the PASS Leaders utilised their first language (referred to as L1) of Chinese or Vietnamese and their second language of English (referred to as L2). The research participants revealed complex and well-considered decision-making processes regarding the language(s) they used in their sessions as PASS Leaders. Broadly, the language they usedd depended on the linguistic backgrounds and preferences of the session attendees, the concepts covered in the sessions, and the importance PASS Leaders ascribed to learning English over learning the subject’s content. We suggest that there may be room for languages other than English as a “medium of instruction” in PASS sessions. Our initial investigations warrant broader discussion and further research within the PASS/SI community about the role L1s can play in enhancing the student learning experience in PASS sessions, for both PASS Leaders and PASS attendees.
Thalluri, O’Flaherty, and Shepherd’s (2014) study had two aims: firstly, to determine whether participation in a peer support scheme called Study Buddy Support (SBS) improves pass rates of “at risk” students, and secondly, to examine the advantages of this model over hierarchical models where senior students tutor junior years. Bachelor of Nursing and Midwifery students in a first year Bioscience course completed an assessment early in the semester. Based on their performance, “at risk” students (Buddies) and high achievers (Buddy Leaders) were identified to participate in this scheme, either on campus (internal) or via Virtual Classrooms (VC) (external). Quantitative percentage failure rates for those “not at risk” and those “at risk” utilizing and not utilizing SBS were compared. Qualitative comments were also examined. Of those in the SBS scheme, 72% passed, while only 49% of those not participating passed. Buddies identified the reassurance of not being alone, as well as a friendly, non-intimidating learning environment, as SBS positives. For Buddy Leaders, consolidation of learning, developing networks, and improved team and leadership skills were positives. The current SBS scheme increased percentage pass rates and Buddies and Buddy Leaders alike suggested personal benefits for the initiative. The networks developed in this SBS scheme can progress throughout the entire degree but are lost in a hierarchical model as senior mentors graduate. This suggests that the advantages of the SBS scheme may persist beyond first year and may further strengthen retention in later years.
Principles of Economics typically have a high non-success rate and traditionally underrepresented minorities (URMs) generally have a higher non-success rate than non-URMs. Wilson, and Rossig (2014) described our Supplemental Instruction (SI) course and tests the effectiveness of SI on grade improvement, while accounting for self-selection bias. We find that SI improves grades by a bit less than half a letter grade in the full sample and by a larger amount for URMs and a smaller amount for non-URMs. We also find evidence that weaker URM students and stronger non-URM students are more likely to enroll in our SI course.
Yue, Rico, Vang, and Giuffrida (2018) examined how Supplemental Instruction (SI) help traditionally disadvantaged students reduce the performance gap in their courses. The more disadvantaged students gained larger performance improvement than less disadvantaged students.
(3) Supplemental Instruction’s Effects on Course Grades
The study of and entitlement in higher education has garnered increased attention in the literature because of its relationship with academic performance. Wiggers, Rheysen, and Ammeter (2014) studied SI’s role in promoting engagement in academics. Using data collected from over 400 students enrolled in SI-supported courses, thei study addresses the relationship between SI attendance and student engagement in academic courses. Students completed two instruments, the Academic Engagement Survey and the Academic Entitlement Questionnaire. The results were then correlated with SI attendance and final course grade. SI was significantly correlated with academic engagement.
Williams, Fellows, Eastwood, and Wallis (2014) studied peer teaching experiences of final year paramedic students in a pilot PAL project undertaken in the Bachelor of Emergency Health (BEH) course at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Their study had two aims: 1) to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot PAL program, and 2) to compare academic grades between peer teachers and those not involved in the PAL program over 2011–2012. Forty-one students volunteered, with 23 students in 2011 and 18 in 2012. At the completion of their peer teaching, all students were asked to complete the 14-item Peer Teaching Experience Questionnaire (PTEQ). Of the 41 students, 63.4% were female, 73.2% were under 25, 82.9% had been taught by peers previously, 31.7% had taught peers previously, and 51.2% had undertaken previous tertiary studies. Students strongly agreed teaching and leadership were important to the paramedic role. Students also strongly agreed that their peer teaching experience was personally rewarding, increased their knowledge and skills, and would be of direct benefit to them as a graduate paramedic. Moreover, students who participated in the PAL project as peer teachers obtained higher clinical marks on their final clinical examination than their non-PAL counterparts. This study suggests PAL programs have a great potential to provide a wide range of benefits in paramedic courses. As this was a pilot program, there were many limitations and caution should be used in making any generalizations. However, the overwhelmingly positive response from the students strongly suggests PAL programs should continue to be implemented in paramedic education.
Wilmot and Telang (2017) explored assessment of Supplemental Instruction programming on first year academic success during the 2015-2016 academic year, in the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department and the learning center at the university collaborated to bring academic support to a freshman level introductory course by establishing a pilot Supplemental Instruction (SI) program. Intending to aid students in adjusting to the university experience and be successful in their first year, the SI program provides non-remedial review and study skill development in the form of optional weekly discussion sessions. Analysis of quantitative and qualitative data aid in understanding the efficacy of the newly implemented SI program in the ECE department. Comparisons of course grades and passing rates reveal that fall 2015 course grades did not vary much between the SI-attending and non-attending groups, though students who attended SI had slightly improved passing rates compared to the non-attending group and the prior fall. Comparisons for the spring 2016 semester reveal that the course grades for the SI-attending group were improved yet not statistically significant; while the overall passing rate was not affected for the spring semester, a considerably larger proportion of SI attendees successfully passed the course than non-attendees. The differences in performance outcomes observed between the fall and spring semesters are potentially explained by the differences in the student populations. The spring enrollment is roughly ten percent of the fall enrollment and has a larger proportion of transfer students, those retaking the course, and first generation students. Studying the demographics and performance outcomes of the student population choosing to attend SI allows program administrators to better understand the potential of the SI program to help students find success in the ECE department.
Supplemental Instruction (SI) programs have been used in college and university programs since their inception in the 1970’s. The programs are viewed as a cost-effective method of delivering peer-assisted instruction to students in courses deemed difficult by virtue of the fact that they suffer from high failure and drop rates. There have been many analyses that attempt to determine the efficacy of these programs in improving student involvement and grades in the courses and in reducing drop rates and retention. Virtually every analysis has arrived at the conclusion that the SI program is successful in these endeavors. Szal and Kennelly (2017) studied the effects of Supplemental Instruction on student grads in a blended learning context performing an analysis concerning the results for an introductory business statistics class. The results indicate that SI sessions had a large positive effect on student grades in the class, and the effect of SI sessions is larger than either time spent on homework assignments or participation in lecture activities. For every SI session attended a student’s grade improves by 0.73 points on a 100 point scale. The paper concludes by indicating additional data requirements that could help future research clarify the effects of SI on different demographic groups.
Scott, Migl, and Kolodzeji (2016) researched Supplemental Instruction in Physical Chemistry I at Texas A&M University is an upper division course requiring mathematical and analytical skills. As such, this course poses a major problem for many Chemistry, Engineering, Biochemistry and Genetics majors. Comparisons between participants and non-participants in Supplemental Instruction for physical chemistry were made using analyses that controlled for prior mathematical ability and academic achievement. When controlling for prior mathematical ability, no statistical evidence was found that supplemental instruction attendance increased the final grade in physical chemistry I. However, when controlling for prior academic achievement, students with lower prior achievement were found to benefit from supplemental instruction while high achieving students derived no benefit.
Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) is a program implemented at Southern Adventist University to lower drop, withdrawal, and fail rates. In these sessions, a student leader, who has excelled in previous sections of a particular class, help reinforce difficult concepts in hour-long meetings with currently enrolled students. Activities during PASS include worksheets, pretests and quizzes, games, and videos. Sacdalam (2017) researched Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) and their benefit to students in anatomy and physiology classes at Southern Adventist University. In this paper, we discuss the methods used during PASS sessions within anatomy and physiology classes and present an analysis of the effect of PASS on academic performance in entry-level anatomy and physiology classes over two semesters (winter and fall of 2015) at Southern Adventist University. Our analysis showed that greater student attendance at PASS sessions predicted higher final grades while controlling for two other potentially confounding predictors of students success: high school GPA and ACT score.
Porter, Ofodile, and Carthon (2015) performed an analysis of student performance in a section of College Algebra redesigned to consist of best practices in instruction and assessment, a lower enrollment, and a required lab component in an effort to improve student performance. This pilot course consisted of instructional methods such as whole class instruction, small group instruction, and student presentations. Additional course revisions included a writing component using personal reflections, an additional lab component, a software package aligned with the adopted textbook, and bi-weekly progress reports. There was a statistically significant increase from pretest to posttest, as determined by a T-test. Other comparative analyses showed the course had the highest passing rate in the department. This class had the highest average on the departmental final exam. The faculty member teaching the course also had a higher passing rate when compared to courses she taught during previous semesters. According to these results based on student performance, this course was deemed successful.
Little research has been devoted to the relationship between academic support and retention to graduation in both the literatures on retention and academic support. Grillo, and Leist (2014) researched academic support as a predictor of retention to graduation: new insights on the role of tutoring , learning assistance, and Supplemental Instruction. This study examined the relationship between the long-term use of academic support services such as tutoring, learning assistance, and Supplemental Instruction and retention to graduation. The authors use 6 years of data from the University of Louisville’s Resources for Academic Achievement unit (REACH) to test the hypotheses that a larger quantity of time spent engaged in academic support services is associated with a higher likelihood of graduation and that cumulative GPA mediates the relationship between hours spent using academic support and graduation. The findings support these hypotheses, suggesting a relationship between academic support and retention to graduation that should be given serious consideration by scholars and administrators. Students’ active engagement in academically focused sessions with their peers serving as tutors, LA and SI leaders may have provided multiple benefits. For example, not only did these interactions help students understand or clarify difficult concepts in a content course, but additionally, these interactions may have improved the motivation to learn, the understanding of the process of learning, and the development of study strategies. Each of these factors could be future avenues of additional research focused on the relationship of academic support and retention. Regardless of which benefit may have most assisted students who used academic support services, this engagement outside of the classroom seems to have contributed to their academic or social integration to the extent that these students were more successful in their courses as evidenced by earned GPA which then contributed to their retention at the university. The results of this study suggest that the positive impact of this engagement with academic support services was long-term and associated with graduation. This study also found the quantity of hours spent in academic support was related to students’ mean GPA, where more tutoring hours led to higher GPAs which then led to a higher likelihood of graduating. This evidence supports the pragmatic advice frequently given by academic support professionals who emphasize, especially to first-year students, the benefits of engaging in academic support services early and often during the semester. Higher GPA has been associated with college graduation in previous research studies and is commonly acknowledged (Harackiewicz, Barron, Tauer, and Elliot, 2002; Ishitani, 2003). The data analysis for this study offers additional evidence for this claim. The higher students’ earned GPA, the more likely the students were to graduate. As mean GPA increased, the likelihood of graduating increased. For this study, students who maintained higher GPAs engaging in academic support services may have improved their confidence in their own ability to learn or contributed to developing a sense of empowerment or self-efficacy necessary for college success. A last finding of this study suggests that traditional predictors of college readiness (high school GPA and standardized test scores, e.g., ACT or SAT scores) did not have a statistically significant relationship to the likelihood of students’ graduating. This finding supports other retention research which suggests the complexity of identifying the components necessary to predict college success beyond those academic skills measured by high school grades and standardized test scores at the time of admission (Geiser and Santelices, 2007; Pascarella et al., 2006).
Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a voluntary, non-remedial, peer-facilitated, course-specific intervention that has been widely demonstrated to increase student success, yet concerns persist regarding the biasing effects of disproportionate participation by already higher-performing students. Guarcello, Levine, Beemer, Frazee, Laumakis, and Schellenberg (2017) with a focus on maintaining access for all students, a large, public university in the Western United States used student demographic, performance, and SI participation data to evaluate the intervention’s efficacy while reducing selection bias. This analysis was conducted in the first year of SI implementation within a traditionally high-challenge introductory psychology course. Findings indicate a statistically significant relationship between student participation in SI and increased odds of successful course completion. Furthermore, the application of Coarsened Exact Matching reduced concerns that increased course performance was attributed to an over-representation of higher performing students who elected to attend SI Sessions.
Harrell and Lazari (2015), at VSU, identified students at-risk of failing College Algebra based on admissions data, including SAT/ACT-Math scores and high school GPA’s. Fall 2014, the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science taught College Algebra to at-risk students via Extended Sections. In this study, we compared the common departmental final exam scores for the treatment group, Extended Sections, and the control group, Traditional Method Sections, in order to compare the students’ performance. The mean SAT-Math and ACT-Math scores for the treatment group were significantly lower than the mean SAT-Math and ACT-Math scores for the control group. However, the students’ performance on the departmental final exam for the treatment group and control group showed no significant difference. The at-risk mathematics students that take the Extended Sections can perform on average on the final exam just as well as the students in the traditional courses.
In their study, Finlay and Mitchell (2017) found very little difference in the real and perceived differences when SI was offered live face-to-face, live online, and recorded online. Quantitative data: We found a significant positive correlation between students’ final grades and their attendance at SI sessions of all types. In BIOL111, final grades were 5-6% higher for those students who attended more than 3 SI sessions (averaged 73% at both Regina and Saskatoon sites) compared to those who did not attend any SI sessions (67% in Saskatoon and 68% in Regina). Similarly, in BIOL110, students who attended more than 3 online SI sessions received an average of 6% higher final grades (73% at both sites) compared to students who did not attend any SI sessions (67% at both sites). Surprisingly, even those students who only accessed recorded SI sessions received 4% higher final grades than those students who did not, at all sites. Qualitative data: overall, students were very positive about the benefits of SI, in any format. In the survey data, where “strongly agree” is coded as a 5, and “strongly disagree” is coded as a 1, the average responses to all of the questions ranged from 4.2 to 4.5 indicating high agreement with all statements provided. We did not find any difference in agreement with the statements when the SI was offered online vs. face-to-face, and students found many benefits even from accessing the previously recorded sessions.
Dalton and Saxon (2013) studied the effects of Supplemental Instruction on developmental reading. The pass rate for the SI supported developmental reading courses was five percentage points higher than for non-SI supported courses. There was not a statistically significant difference between the pass rates of the SI and non-SI groups. There also was no statistically significant differences between the two groups regarding final course grades. Voluntary attendance practices with the traditional use of SI are not effective with less motivated students enrolled in developmental reading. It does not appear that SI is cost effective for use in developmental reading courses.
Carlsen-Landy, Falley, Wheeler, and Edwards (2014), in a mixed methods study, examined the influence a grant-funded Supplemental Instruction program had on students’ academic performance at a university in the southwestern United States was examined. Data collection consisted of students’ class absences, exam scores, final course grades, hybrid Supplemental Instruction and tutoring (SIT) attendance, and required Program Coordinator meetings. Analysis of the fall 2013 data demonstrates that students in the treatment sections outperformed students in the control sections. In addition, students within the treatment classes who attended the minimum number of required SIT sessions were more successful in class than those who did not attend the minimum number of sessions, and the faculty, students, and course assistants overwhelmingly supported and participated in the program.
Birkett, Neff, and Deschamps (2017) investigated the effect of participation in Supplemental Instruction (SI) on first-year students’ academic performance after controlling for relevant non-programmatic factors. Student academic performance was compared in quartiles determined by high school core grade point average (HS Core GPA). A total of 2,436 student SI participants and non-participants were matched based on six academic readiness and demographic covariates. The results revealed that SI participants had significantly higher course grade averages and passing rates compared to non-participants. Participants in the lowest HS Core GPA quartile had the largest gains in course grade with the largest effect size when compared to matched nonparticipants. The results of this study suggest that first-year students with low HS Core GPA may experience the greatest benefit of SI participation.
(4) Supplemental Instruction’s Effect on Student Behaviors
Karcher, and Pierson (2017) examined student study activities and behaviors in undergraduate engineering courses at Purdue University. Their goal was to better understand specifically which study tactics correlate with success in courses where students typically struggle Students used Pattern, a tool developed at Purdue to log, track, and visualize study habits for one week leading up to each exam during the Spring 2017 semester At the end of the semester, students were surveyed on their perceptions of Pattern, how the data helped them, and what additional features it needs Early results indicate that in certain courses, time spent studying is not as important as how students study and that certain activities are more correlated with success Finally, this paper outlines future development needs for tools like Pattern The implications of this study could inform study strategies for students in engineering courses, improve student success, and assist in designing better help opportunities for students
The implementation of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) on healthcare courses in Higher Education Institutions has been explored in a number of studies. Guyon, Butterfint, Lacy, Sanosi, Sheridan, and Unwin (2015) studied speech and language therapy students’ experience of Peer Assisted Learning as a means of enhancing academic and professional development. This paper presents research into the experience of PAL on a BSc Speech & Language Therapy (SLT) programme. The research was conducted by final year undergraduate SLTstudents to form the basis for their final dissertations. The focus for their research was on the effects of PAL on academic and professional development for both mentees and mentors on the same course. Data were generated from standard PAL evaluations and focus roups. Findings indicate that mentees benefit from PAL in terms of their university experience and learning. Mentors benefited from opportunities to develop and practice skills for their future employment. Engagement with PAL is attributed toits structured yet informal nature and the enthusiasm of the mentors. However, the collaborative nature of PAL take time to develop, impacting on the behaviours of both mentees and mentors. Overall PAL offers mentees and mentors opportunities which enhance their academic learning and professional development.
Can peer assisted learning be effective in undergraduate mathematics? Duah, Croft, and Inglis (2013) investigated whether peer assisted learning might be an appropriate tool to address the well-known “cooling off” phenomenon observed in the context of undergraduate mathematics courses. Earlier researchers have noted that the “cooling off” of students who were previously enthusiastic about mathematics is both serious and hard to solve [2, 11]. Solomon  suggested that a fruitful method of addressing this issue would be to move away from traditional undergraduate teaching methods [e.g., 31] and develop a participatory pedagogic approach. In this paper we investigated whether PAL might be an appropriate way of implementing Solomon’s  suggestion. Although PAL has been shown to be effective in non-mathematical domains, we are aware of no previous research which has investigated whether it can be successfully used in single honours mathematics courses, the context in which “cooling off” has been observed, and particularly in the second year. We asked two main questions. First, is it possible to successfully incorporate PAL into an undergraduate mathematics degree (with a traditional didactic contract)? Second, is PAL effective at increasing students’ attainment, and therefore reducing the “cooling off” phenomenon noticed by earlier researchers? With respect to the first question, we found that the PAL sessions appeared to un relatively smoothly. PAL sessions seemed to be informal and welcoming students, and involved discussion of mathematics topics which had previously be suggested by the PAL participants. Sessions typically involved paired, small or whole group discussions of a short opening activity followed by discussion of difficult parts of lecture notes, problem sheets, tests and examination items. With reference to our second question – whether PAL was effective at increasing students’ attainment – we found a positive relationship between students’ PAL attendance and their final module mark, even after controlling for prior attainment and lecture attendance (and this relationship was also found in a subsequent replication study). Although we cannot rule out the possibility of some unknown confounding factor accounting for this relationship (note that any such confound would have to be uncorrelated with both prior attainment and lecture attendance), we believe that this finding is sufficiently encouraging to call for further research into the effectiveness of PAL in undergraduate mathematics.
Bachman (2013) conducted a qualitative exploration of student attitudes towards efforts of remediation. An interesting and exciting phenomenon emerged in the midst of discussions about tutoring, office hours, developmental courses, and review sessions. Many students described their initial feelings toward remediation as fear, embarrassment, or disdain. Many of them admitted to originally connecting remediation with being “dumb” or “not trying” hard enough. Others saw it as a “waste of time” or a delay of core coursework. However, in addition to expressing these preliminarily negative views, seven students also went on to explain how their attitudes toward remediation began to evolve as they participated in remediation at the college level. These shifts provide rich descriptions of student attitudes, feelings, beliefs, and experiences with remediation, and point to important features of embracing remediation as a positive experience for the students in this study. Four influences on these shifts are discussed through the stories of the participants.
Peer-assisted study session attendance is associated with multiple indicators of student success. However, attendance levels are generally low. Allen, Tonta, Haywood, Perira, and Roberts (2017) applied an extended theory of planned behavior model, incorporating student role identity, to the prediction of peer-assisted study session attendance. Participants were 254 undergraduate students enrolled in 24 peer-assisted study session supported units. Attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control each had a significant direct effect on attendance intentions, which had a significant direct effect on attendance. All three predictors also had significant indirect effects on attendance, mediated by intentions. After controlling for intentions, only perceived behavioral control had a significant direct effect on attendance. The model accounted for 61% and 42% of the variance in intentions and attendance, respectively. Student role identity did not improve the predictive utility of the model. Theory of planned behaviour–informed strategies for increasing peer-assisted study session attendance are recommended.
(5) Supplemental Instruction’s Effect on Graduation Rates
Bengesai, and Paideya (2018) performed an analysis of academic and Institutional factors affecting graduation among engineering students at a South African university. The study investigated the relationship between timely graduation and academic and institutional factors for a cohort of Engineering students at a South African university. The sample was restricted to 1595 incoming students beginning during 2009–2011 who were tracked to 2016, allowing for an eight-year graduation period for the initial cohort. Both descriptive statistics and regression models were employed in the analysis. The results demonstrate that the characteristic profile of a student graduating on time in the Engineering programme is likely to be non-African, have high admission point scores (above 40), pass more than 75% of their credits in the first year, have financial aid and make regular use of Supplemental Instruction. In other words, students who have financial and prior academic advantages are the most likely graduates. These results suggest that universities should give serious consideration to academic support and financial aid provision.
Supplemental instruction classes have been shown in many studies to enhance performance in the supported courses and even to improve graduation rates. Generally, there has been little evidence of a differential impact on students from different ethnic/racial backgrounds. Rath, Peterfreundt, Xenox, Baylisst, and Carnal (2017) observed that, at San Francisco State University, however, supplemental instruction in the Introductory Biology I class is associated with even more dramatic gains among students from underrepresented minority populations than the gains found among their peers. These gains do not seem to be the product of better students availing themselves of supplemental instruction or other outside factors. The Introductory Biology I class consists of a team-taught lecture component, taught in a large lecture classroom, and a laboratory component where students participate in smaller lab sections. Students are expected to master an understanding of basic concepts, content, and vocabulary in biology as well as gain laboratory investigation skills and experience applying scientific methodology. In this context, Supplemental instruction classes are cooperative learning environments where students participate in learning activities that complement the course material, focusing on student misconceptions and difficulties, construction of a scaffolded knowledge base, applications involving problem solving, and articulation of constructs with peers.
Grillo, and Leist (2014) examined the relationship between the long-term use of academic support services such as tutoring, learning assistance, and Supplemental Instruction and retention to graduation. Little research has been devoted to the relationship between academic support and retention to graduation in both the literatures on retention and academic support. The authors use 6 years of data from the University of Louisville’s Resources for Academic Achievement unit (REACH) to test the hypotheses that a larger quantity of time spent engaged in academic support services is associated with a higher likelihood of graduation and that cumulative GPA mediates the relationship between hours spent using academic support and graduation. The findings support these hypotheses, suggesting a relationship between academic support and retention to graduation that should be given serious consideration by scholars and administrators. Students’ active engagement in academically focused sessions with their peers serving as tutors, LA and SI leaders may have provided multiple benefits. For example, not only did these interactions help students understand or clarify difficult concepts in a content course, but additionally, these interactions may have improved the motivation to learn, the understanding of the process of learning, and the development of study strategies. Each of these factors could be future avenues of additional research focused on the relationship of academic support and retention. Regardless of which benefit may have most assisted students who used academic support services, this engagement outside of the classroom seems to have contributed to their academic or social integration to the extent that these students were more successful in their courses as evidenced by earned GPA which then contributed to their retention at the university. The results of this study suggest that the positive impact of this engagement with academic support services was long-term and associated with graduation. This study also found the quantity of hours spent in academic support was related to students’ mean GPA, where more tutoring hours led to higher GPAs which then led to a higher likelihood of graduating. This evidence supports the pragmatic advice frequently given by academic support professionals who emphasize, especially to first-year students, the benefits of engaging in academic support services early and often during the semester. Higher GPA has been associated with college graduation in previous research studies and is commonly acknowledged (Harackiewicz, Barron, Tauer, & Elliot, 2002; Ishitani, 2003). The data analysis for this study offers additional evidence for this claim. The higher students’ earned GPA, the more likely the students were to graduate. As mean GPA increased, the likelihood of graduating increased. For this study, students who maintained higher GPAs engaging in academic support services may have improved their confidence in their own ability to learn or contributed to developing a sense of empowerment or self-efficacy necessary for college success. A last finding of this study suggests that traditional predictors of college readiness (high school GPA and standardized test scores, e.g., ACT or SAT scores) did not have a statistically significant relationship to the likelihood of students’ graduating. This finding supports other retention research which suggests the complexity of identifying the components necessary to predict college success beyond those academic skills measured by high school grades and standardized test scores at the time of admission (Geiser & Santelices, 2007; Pascarella et al., 2006).
Malm, Bryngfors, and Fredriksson (2018) focused on quantitative long-term effects of Supplemental Instruction (SI) in terms of graduation and dropout rates in an example from 5-year engineering programs. One of the main aims of SI is to introduce students to effective study strategies and techniques. If SI is introduced at an early stage for new students in higher education, it should therefore be expected that this action will promote timely graduation. This has also been indicated in studies at two US universities – University of Missouri Kansas City and Utah State University. This impact should obviously be of huge interest to any college or university that wants to introduce SI for their students. However, more studies from different settings and environments are needed to be able to generalise the findings from previous studies. This investigation is one such study for students at an engineering education faculty. The results from this study show that SI appears to have a pronounced effect on student persistence, and that the effect increases continuously with increasing SI attendance. A student’s chances of graduating from an Master of Science (MSc) engineering program within six years, increases by approximately 20-35 % for a student attending all SI meetings in the first semester, compared to a student who does not attend SI. The risk of a student dropping out is reduced by approximately 20-40 % if he/she attends all SI sessions. The results also show that all students benefit from attending SI, independent of prior academic achievement and gender.
(6) Supplemental Instruction’s Effects on Gender
Peer-learning is an effective way to assist students to acquire study skills and content knowledge, especially in university courses that students find difficult, and it is an effective adjunct to improve student retention. Geerlings, Cole, Batt, and Martin-Lynch (2016), in 2014, Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia, commenced Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) in two first-year undergraduate subjects: a mathematics (statistics) unit and a business unit. The key finding in this evaluation was that while female mathematics students improved their final marks in response to attending a greater number of sessions per semester, male students achieved lower final marks on average. Although several studies have shown that in PASS-like programs gender tends to not be a significant factor relating to achievement, our results suggest otherwise. In this article we posit the observed differences in achievement attributed to gender arise from complex gender-related issues, including gender stereotypes, student gender ratios in class, the gender of the teacher relative to the gender of the student, and gender-related motivation, engagement, and subject choice. An approach to remediate g
Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a program that seeks to improve student success by targeting classes with high failure rates, as defined with a failure percentage of 30% or more. It is organized by an administrative SI supervisor who supervises SI leaders, which are students that have successfully completed the courses that they have been assigned. The SI supervisor also collaborates with the course instructors who aid in screening the competency of the SI leaders. Improved self-confidence, teamwork, independence and course performance have been reported as benefits of SI. Lindsay, Carlsen-Landy, Boaz, and Marshall (2017) sought to explore the effect of SI on success and failure, along with gender, age and race. The type of course was also used as a factor in order to control for it as a confounding variable. In order to ascertain the effect of these variables on success, a technique called logistic regression was used. Caucasian female students who took bacteriology and did not attend SI were used as the reference group. Students were about twice as likely to succeed if they completed the required number of SI sessions and one fifth as likely to succeed if they were in a SI class and did not meet the minimum number of sessions. Hispanic students were 40% as likely to succeed, and African American students were about one third as likely to succeed when compared to Caucasian students. Students between 20 and 29 years old were half as likely to succeed, and those 30 or older were one quarter as likely to succeed when compared to teen students. Those in algebra were about three times more likely to succeed than those in bacteriology, chemistry and statistics. When the students that withdrew were removed, the chances of success were about the same, except for African American students which were one quarter as likely to succeed, and those that did not meet minimum sessions were one quarter as likely to succeed. The model explained more variation when the students that withdrew were included. As SI had a strong influence on success, it should be considered as a tool to enable retention of students in high risk courses.
Supplemental Instruction (SI) programs, which have been used in colleges and universities since the 1970’s, are viewed as a cost-effective method of delivering peer-assisted instruction to students in courses that traditionally experience high failure and drop rates. In a previous analysis of students in an introductory business statistics class at a mid-sized university in the Southwest, it was found that SI was very important in a student’s grade determination, especially in view of the fact that the course is designed as blended learning meeting one time per week. The analysis also seemed to indicate that there may well be significant differences as between men and women in terms of the effect of SI attendance on grade determination. Szal (2018) investigated the differences between males and females in the course, and concludes that, while both men and women suffer from a fear of statistics (and mathematical courses in general) upon entering the course, their reactions to the anxiety are very different. While men appear to be better prepared than women when beginning the course, at the end of the semester, there is no significant difference in final grades. Several possible reasons for this are given, and the results may hold important lessons for encouraging greater participation of females in STEM activities from an early age.
The worldwide business regarding the high dropout and low throughput rates at previously disadvantaged universities in South Africa led to the institution of academic support programs. Tangwe (2016) examines the insights of undergraduate students regarding the execution of the supplemental instruction and speech and writing consultant programs at the University of Fort Hare, South Africa. The findings revealed that these programs are very useful and helpful to undergraduate students, though there were some shortcomings that require the attention of the governing body of the university. In this regards, some recommendations were provided in order to improve the implementation of these cherished programs. The evaluation study was conducted at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastrn Cape Province of South Africa.
Wisniewski, Shapiro, Kaeli, Coletti, DiMilla, and Reisberg (2015) used statistical analysis to examine correlations between first year engineering male and female students’ use of SI and their performance in a required general chemistry course at Northeastern University. Overall we found that students who used SI were more motivated in General Chemistry than their counterparts. We also draw the following specific conclusions from our data: Students who were more confident that they would receive a high grade in General Chemistry at the beginning of the course had a higher average grade threshold for seeking SI. Students who sought SI exhibited a positive correlation between grade threshold for seeking help outside the classroom and final grade received. Females who used SI had significantly higher grades than females who did not. SI in the form of Chem Central, the Connections Chemistry Review, and the COE Tutoring Office were all found to have the potential to have a significant positive impact on students’ grades. Students who did not use SI were significantly more likely to skip lecture than students who do attend SI. Increased absenteeism in lecture was associated with lower final grades in both fall 2013 and fall 2014. Females were more likely to attend lecture regularly than males. When extra credit incentives were offered to attend lecture, both genders skipped significantly fewer lectures and received significantly higher grades. We believe the results we have found regarding relationships between students’ use of SI and their success in General Chemistry for Engineers can be applied to improve SI across the freshman engineering curriculum. For example, as Chem Central, the Connections Chemistry Review, and the COE tutoring office were all found to have a positive impact on students’ grades, resources like these could be created to help freshman students in their other courses. Further study of possible interaction effects among these and other variables for which we have data are ongoing. Our results also show that the students who often skip lecture are the students who do not take advantage of resources for SI and receive lower course grades. These may be students who need additional advising and mentoring during their freshman year in order to succeed. The issues raised are important topics of focus for future work in order to gain a further understanding of the impact of SI on freshman engineering students.
(7) Supplemental Instruction’s Effects on Persistence and Retention
Martinez-Rolon (2014) examined the role of academic support programs on academic success and persistence of students attending a nonprofit institution of higher education. The purpose of this investigation was to determine the correlation between the participation of academic support programs and academic success and persistence of these. The conceptual approaches used to support this research are: the Tinto Model of Retention related to academic and social integration with the theory of Student Involvement by Alexander Astin . The research design used was an ex post facto causal comparative using archived data. The study population consisted of 4,586 students between participants and non-participants in the academic support programs for semesters from August to December 2010, January to May 2011, and August to December 2011. The results showed that there are statistically significant differences in academic success of students participating in the Supplemental Instruction Program and the Reading and Writing Center in comparison to their non-participating counterparts . However, in terms of participation in the Supplemental Educational Services Program no statistically significant difference in academic achievement between the two groups was found. Regarding persistence, the results showed that students who participate in an academic support program persist over the short and long term in the institution than the non-participant students
To meet the expanding need for physical therapists universities are under increasing pressure to enroll, educate, and train physical therapists. Poor academic performance can result in student dismissal from a physical therapy program. Owens, Rainey, Tucker, and Edmunds (2018) performed a study to determine if implementation of a retention program would improve student academic performance in the foundational science curriculum in a physical therapy program. Methods. A prospective observational cohort design was used. The retention program centered on three approaches: 1. Early identification of at-risk students. 2. Supplemental instruction in Human Anatomy. 3. Offering peer tutoring for the foundational science courses. Results. A significant association existed between the implementation of the retention program and the reduction of dismissals from the Fall Semester of 2012 to the fall 2013 semesters. Conclusion. Implementation of a retention program had a beneficial effect on decreasing student dismissals in a physical therapy program.
Supplemental Instruction (SI), a higher-education academic support program, targets challenging college courses and uses peer-led review sessions to develop academic skills, improve grades, influence persistence, and ultimately increase student retention (Arendale, 2001). Skoglund, Wall, and Kiene (2018) performed a study whose goals were twofold: to determine if differences existed in prior academic performance of freshman students attending SI sessions while determining whether SI attendance improved retention to the sophomore year. Using quantitative analysis, the researchers found that freshman students with a higher high school GPA were more likely to be retained regardless of SI session attendance. Additionally, freshman students with a lower high school GPA were significantly more likely to be retained if participating in SI sessions. The researchers conclude that SI is an effective program to develop academic skills and yield increased retention. Implications for the profession include a renewed emphasis on increasing SI attendance rate of college freshman students, particularly at-risk students with lower college entrance credentials.
Success in the first year of higher education is important for students’ retention beyond their first year and for completion of their undergraduate degree. Institutions therefore typically front-load resources and interventions in the first year. One such intervention is the Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) program. This program is known in the United States as Supplemental Instruction. It provides first-year students with an opportunity to learn study skills in the context of a particular unit of study (course/module). Van der Meer, Wass, Scott, and Kohaua (2017) considered the relationship between students’ prior academic achievement and participation in the PASS program, as well as the impact of participation on first-year students’ first-year grade point average, retention, and degree completion. The findings suggest that PASS does not just attract academically high-achieving students and that participation in it contributes to students’ academic achievement in their first year, retention beyond the first year, and completion of an undergraduate degree.
Yard (2017) explored the need for mandatory Supplemental Instruction in mathematics: Evaluating the first five years of a program to promote student success in calculus and developmental mathematics finding that ntroductory mathematics courses can pose significant challenges for freshmen and often become barriers to student success and persistence in science and science-related majors and that mandatory attendance should be required for SI.
Academic success is an important factor in students’ persistence through college (Tinto, 1987). For a university, academic success equates to retention of students, and retention of students becomes retention of tuition dollars. Results of a national, longitudinal study on student retention showed SI participants from one semester reenrolled the following semester at a rate of 10% higher than peer students who did not participate in SI (Arendale & Martin, 1997). Zywicki (2014) studied the monetary value of Supplemental Instruction to Iowa State University due to reenrollment of SI participants, Two formulas describe the monetary value of SI to universities. These formulas show:1. The monetary value SI contributed to Iowa State University during FY14 was $3,286,771. 2.To cover all expenses, SI at Iowa State University would need to contribute to the retention of less than .39%of all SI Participants.
The transition to upper-level course work of transferring students, predominantly students from 2-year/community colleges, has been explored in recent education research literature. Yet, it has not been sufficiently explored whether and what academic support programs could be successful in supporting transfer students with the transfer process. Clark, and May, (2014) demonstrated the success of an academic support program for a discipline-specific cohort of transfer students entering their junior year in a nursing program at a public university within the University System of Maryland. The study explored prior academic preparation, results of Nursing Entrance Test scores, and interventions provided by an academic support initiative. For a course in pathopharmacology, this collaborative environment (facilitated by successful peers based on Supplemental Instruction, workshops on accelerated learning techniques, and individual tutoring) indicates that participation in such a comprehensive program resulted in an overall higher grade point average at the end of the first semester. There was also a reduced rate of failure or drop out from 15% to 7% in subsequent semesters. Overall, such an initiative could serve as a model for other institutions.
Peer-assisted study session (PASS) programs have been shown to positively affect students’ grades in a majority of studies. Dancer, Morrison, and Tarr’s (2015) study extends that analysis in two ways: controlling for ability and other factors, with focus on international students, and by presenting results for PASS in business statistics. Ordinary least squares, random effects and quantile regression models have been used to model data from first-year business statistics students. The findings indicate that the impact of PASS has remained highly significant in both years for both local and international students but is more pronounced for international students. We also find that lower-achieving students derive a higher marginal benefit from attending PASS than higher-achieving students using quantile regression. These findings are significant for institutions implementing similar programs as well as institutional efforts to enhance student performance and improve student retention, or specifically to support international students more effectively.
Kemppainen, Hamlin, and Diment (2017), in a conference proceedings of the IEEE Frontiers in Education reinforced the research that Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a technique that has been shown to be successful in supporting students in historically challenging courses and improving grades and retention –. SI was started at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) in 1973 but has since branched out to approximately 1500 institutions in 30 countries. The program benefits all areas of an institution: students, SI leaders, faculty, and administration. The students benefit by developing a deeper understanding of the course material as they work closely with and are mentored by an SI leader. Mentoring occurs with students who are close in age and have a working knowledge of the environment in which the mentee is meant to operate in . Mentoring allows students to develop coping skills necessary for success. This technique works particularly well for students who would not normally seek assistance . Successful mentoring emphasizes the student’s strengths, leading to increased self-efficacy and retention. The SI Leaders develop leadership and facilitation skills as well as increased skill in the course material. Faculty benefit by using their SI leaders to connect them with students: their problems, areas of confusion, and learning challenges. Finally, the administration benefits by increased retention at the University
Paideya (2014) reported on part of a longitudinal study conducted to track first-year, regular Supplemental Instruction (SI) attendees into their second and third years of study to determine progression and throughput rates. Surveys and focus group interviews were used to determine first year students’ experiences of chemistry SI sessions. Data was analyzed using an Interpretive methodology. Several themes emerged from the data with respect to students’ attendance at SI sessions and their progression rates. It is therefore argued that SI sessions have the potential to support student retention and improve throughput in the School of Chemistry and Physics.
Matthews, and Newman (2017) found that among persistence and retention agenda initiatives undertaken by colleges and universities, gateway-course improvement efforts are often overlooked. However, the engagement of diverse institutional stakeholders in the transformation of gateway courses can contribute significantly to student success. Chief academic officers are in a unique position to sponsor such initiatives.
Students enrolled in developmental education courses have very low rates of persistence, especially at the community college level. Nationally, only 31 percent of those referred to developmental math successfully complete their sequence (Bailey, 2009). Mas (2014), at Austin Community College, found only 44.1 percent of entering First Time in College (FTIC) mathematically underprepared students returned to college the subsequent fall semester (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board [THECB], 2011) The number of persisting students from Fall 2010 to Fall 2011 drops even lower for FTIC students who are underprepared in reading and writing, at 39.7 percent and 42.5 percent, respectively (THECB, 2011). The following discussion will center on the idea that Supplemental Instruction should be a required component of developmental courses, especially developmental mathematics, at the community college level. Pairing developmental courses with a mandatory lab component addresses many of the contributing factors that aid in student retention: social and academic inclusion, time management and study skills, financial aid issues and the development of student self-efficacy. Also examined are the implications of turning the mandatory lab component of Austin Community College’s Quality Enhancement Plan that began in Fall 2013, into Supplemental Instruction sessions.
Kornblum, El, Menezes, Won, and Allen (2017) examined The College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology (ECST) at Cal State LA and its recently introduced First-Year Experience ([email protected]) program that focuses on building a more academically focused engineering mindset in freshmen engineering majors during their first year of college. While [email protected] consisted of a number of proven practices integrated into the freshmen experience, the goal of this paper is to present the benefits of implementing a supplemental instruction (SI) model, adapted from the UMKC model to enhance student learning in Calculus and Physics, which are pre-requisite courses for most core upper division engineering courses, but have very high attrition level. In 2014 leading up to the development of [email protected], we examined 6-year graduation rates of the most recent 5 years, and thus we had data from the Office of Institutional Research for the Fall 2007 through Fall 2011 first-time freshmen cohorts. Out of those total 1052 students, only 567 even took Calculus I, and out of those who took Calculus I, 203 failed the course on the first try, yielding 35.8% of students needing to repeat the course. Historically, very few (~6%) of our freshmen completed their Physics I requirement within their first 2 terms. Therefore, [email protected] interventions focused on effective learning pedagogy and practices in these traditionally challenging but foundational courses. In particular, we wanted to demonstrate the benefit of SI workshops in a majority firstgeneration, underrepresented minority, predominantly academically unprepared student population. The peer-led workshops are mandatory for [email protected] students and designed to promote inquiry-based and collaborative learning environment and increase students’ mathematics self-efficacy. Supplemental Instruction was assessed using self-efficacy surveys, physics and math grades, pre- and post-tests, and focus groups. [email protected] students were compared to concurrent (CG-2) and historical (CG-3) control groups. The math average GPA for [email protected] students at the end of the first year was 2.9, compared to 2.2 and 2.45 for CG-2 and CG-3, respectively, and completion rate of Physics I within the first 2 terms for [email protected] students was 81%, compared to 9.4% for CG-2 and 6.3% for CG-3. Results from focus groups and surveys indicated that students had a very positive experience in the SI workshops.
(8) Supplemental Instruction and Selection Bias
Attridge, LaGrange, Frei, Gottlier, Horlen, Lord, and Brady’s (2017) research objective was to identify potential unique predictors of academic failure or success in a Doctor of Pharmacy program using curricular experiences with supplemental instruction (SI) and remediation. Methodologically, they assessed correlations between admissions variables, including grade point average (GPA) and Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) scores, with curricular performance measures, including SI and remediation, in 369 students over four years. Their results showed that overall entry GPA, pre-requisite/pre-pharmacy GPA, and required maths and science GPA negatively correlated with number of SI enrolments and remediation. Lower PCAT verbal and quantitative ability scores negatively correlated with number of remediation sessions while lower PCAT chemistry and reading comprehension scores negatively correlated with number of SI enrolments and course failures. Overall entry, pre-requisite/pre-pharmacy, and required math and science GPA; and PCAT composite, quantitative ability, and chemistry scores positively correlated with GPA after the first academic year and at graduation. Conclusions: Students with higher GPAs and PCAT scores were less likely to need academic support. Lower GPAs and PCAT scores correlated to an increased likelihood of failure and predict need for academic assistance to ensure success.
Many institutions of higher education have some form of voluntary peer tutoring. There have been a number of eﬀorts to examine the eﬀects of such programs on student outcomes. Many of these fail to acknowledge the possibility of self-selection bias. Should such endogeneity exist, estimatesregarding the extent to which helpc enters improve student performance will bebiased. Cobb, McPherson, Molina, Quintanilla, Rasmussen, and Rous (2018) examined the determinants of student participation in peer tutoring among students taking Principles of Economics, and we test for self-selection bias. Finally, we examine the factors that aﬀect student performance in these classes over two semesters – approximately 1400 students. We ﬁnd that students who live a greater distance from campus are less likely to participate; student ethnicity and gender also aﬀect this choice. We also ﬁnd that the number of visits to our help center is exogenous. Finally, we ﬁnd that supplemental instruction signiﬁcantly improves student performance.
Dvorak and Tucker (2017). The case for intentionally interwoven peer learning supports in gateway-course improvement efforts. Tutoring has been a mainstay of college academic support for much of the history of U.S. higher education (Arendale, 2010). While tutoring began as a service for the elite, it took on a remedial connotation as a result of mass education. Beginning in the 1970s and 1980s, however, learning centers and writing centers began to reject the remedial label (Arendale, 2010; Harris,1988/2006; North, 1984), and today there is high interest in normalizing the use of academic support as successful student behavior (Louis, 2015).To that end, more intentional academic-support services are being offered on college campuses. The programs may be designed by a learning center or developed as a collaboration of stakeholders. Advisors, instructors, and faculty can encourage, incentivize, or require participation in cooperation with the support service.
Although studies have shown that supplemental instruction (SI) programs can have positive effects in introductory accounting courses, these programs experience low participation rates. Goldstein, Sauer, & O’Donnell’s (2014) study is the first to examine the factors leading to student participation in SI programs. We do this through a survey instrument based on the Theory of Planned Behavior. Our study shows that students’ attitudes toward the sessions affect their intent to participate in them. This attitude is influenced by students’ perceptions that the sessions can help them in various ways. Results also show that influential others can influence student intent to participate in SI sessions. We also note that students’ perceptions of the amount of personal control that they have over going to SI sessions have no effect on their participation in the sessions. We discuss how these findings can be leveraged to increase SI participation rates.
Institutions have developed diverse approaches that vary in effectiveness and cost to improve student performance in introductory science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses. Hoskins, Chaffee, Arlinghaus, Wiebler, Hughes, and Fernandes (2017) studied the University of Miami’s approach aimed to improve performance for underachieving students by combining an existing framework for the process of learning (the study cycle) with concrete tools (outlines and concept maps) that have been shown to encourage deep understanding. To assess the effectiveness of our efforts, we asked 1) how effective our voluntary recruitment model was at enrolling the target cohort, 2) how the course impacted performance on lecture exams, 3) how the course impacted study habits and techniques, and 4) whether there are particular study habits or techniques that are associated with large improvements on exam scores. Voluntary recruitment attracted only 11–17% of our target cohort. While focal students improved on lecture exams relative to their peers who did not enroll, gains were relatively modest, and not all students improved. Further, although students across both semesters of our study reported improved study habits (based on pre and post surveys) and on outlines and concept maps (based on retrospectively scored assignments), gains were more dramatic in the Fall semester. Multivariate models revealed that, while changes in study habits and in the quality of outlines and concept maps were weakly associated with change in performance on lecture exams, relationships were only significant in the Fall semester and were sometimes counterintuitive. Although benefits of the course were offset somewhat by the inefficiency of voluntary recruitment, we demonstrate the effectiveness our course, which is inexpensive to implement and has advantage of providing pedagogical experience to future educators.
Selection bias pervades the evaluation of supplemental instruction (SI) in non-experimental settings. Paloyo (2015) provides a formal framework to understand this issue. The objective is to contribute to the accumulation of credible evidence on the impact of SI. The evaluation of PASS or SI based on experimentally-generated data is rare. The majority of the literature on the topic relies on evidence obtained from non-experimental approaches that fail to account for the presence of self-selection bias. This note discusses how this bias causes problems in impact evaluation. The hope is that education researchers, especially those who are interested in estimating the impact of SI, can use this note to justify the use of experimental or quasi-experimental methods and to enable them to be critical of weak evidence. Ultimately, this will enable education researchers to contribute to a larger body of credible evidence on the impact of SI on a number of interesting outcomes.
(9) Supplemental Instruction and Employability
Carr, Evans-Locke, Abu-Saif, Boucher, and Douglass (2018) examined student experiences of Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) at Western Sydney University (WSU), investigating attendee and facilitator perceptions of the relationship between peer-learning and employability. It defers to contemporary higher education scholarship and related sector definitions of employability as an objective criteria for evaluating outcomes which may result from student experiences with PASS. This investigation observes the extent to which such definitions are evident in the skills and attributes students have acquired via their participation in PASS through both quantitative and qualitative research. Quantitative and qualitative data was collected across two consecutive semesters at WSU (Autumn and Spring) in 2015. Survey responses were collected from 297 PASS attendees and 45 PASS facilitators, further incorporating data collected via focus groups with 46 PASS attendees. The evidence allowed the researchers to examine how students perceived they had gained attributes from PASS that render them more employable. The research results highlight the benefits and limitations of the methods utilised to collect data from PASS participants, and this article elaborates key insights gained as a result of the research process that may be useful to peer-learning practitioners beyond WSU. The study found that attendees and facilitators of the WSU PASS program perceive that the program contributes to student employability in a variety of ways such as improving participants’ core technical skills, organizational skills, social skills, professionalism and business acumen, appreciation of mentoring, and critical thinking skills.
Employability is a key theme in higher education and attitudes towards its development have shifted from a focus on technical skills development to a broader focus on values, intellect, social engagement and performance contributing to graduate identity (Hager and Hodkinson, 2009). Ford, Thackeray, Barnes, and Hendrick (2015) found that Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) and Language Conversation Clubs are both examples of student-led peer learning schemes at Bournemouth University (BU), and are reviewed to explore the development of students employed to lead and facilitate group learning sessions. Data from four annual evaluation surveys (n=239) is reviewed in addition to qualitative comments and reflective writing. Peer leaders were found to have developed employability attributes including: leadership, time management and organization, communication, and cultural awareness. Above all, peer leaders identified with developing confidence in their roles. Comments provided examples of student leaders who had actively selected peer learning as an opportunity to develop their confidence and were able to transfer this to other academic and employment contexts.
The PASS (Peer Assisted Study Support) program has been operating at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, since 2000, and currently provides weekly study sessions in more than 50 courses each year. Laurs, D. E. (2018) found that, as well as enhancing the first-year learning experience, PASS contributes to an institution-wide award that acknowledges the impact of extra-curricular activities on students’ graduate attributes and employability skills. Selected from high-calibre candidates, PASS leaders already possess strong communication and thinking skills. Nevertheless, an online survey of current and former leaders between 2009-2014 [n=185] revealed a significant majority perceived that the experience of leading a study group, in particular the associated writing of weekly reflections, enhanced their confidence, cognitive and communication skills, as well as contributing to their CVs and job application success. Such results highlight the potential for student leaders to translate their day-to-day experiences into added value for life after university.
Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS), a peer led academic support program that has multiple documented academic, social, and transition benefits, is increasingly being utilised in Australian institutions. PASS is based on the Supplemental Instruction (SI) model. Whilst PASS has been evaluated from multiple angles in regard to the undergraduate cohort, there is limited research regarding the benefits of PASS for postgraduate students, particularly international postgraduate students. Zaccagnini and Verenikina (2014) explored a specific cohort’s perspective and found that it is significant as international students constitute a large proportion of postgraduate students in Australian universities. This study investigates the role of PASS in contributing to the experience of international postgraduate coursework students at an Australian university through an investigation of its perceived benefits by this cohort of students.
Whilst the benefits for students attending Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) have been widely acknowledged, the benefits for its leaders have not been as clearly evaluated. Zacharoppulou, Giles and Condell, J. (2015) explored how the more senior students who take on the role of PASS leader can develop employability skills through a program of activity that formally rewards students for their participation and assists them in articulating their competencies. The paper presents the findings of a project undertaken by a cross-disciplinary team at Ulster University which focused on the benefits for PASS leaders and, more explicitly, on graduate employability skills such as communication, teamwork and leadership. Students were required to reflect on the PASS process and plan for subsequent sessions whilst also engaging in a series of skill-building activities (games and various practical exercises) which focused on those facets of employability that are of direct relevance to the PASS experience. Quantitative and qualitative methods were employed to evaluate the impact of the PASS program: initial findings suggest that the program served to enhance students’ perceived competence in respect of some employability skills (e.g. spoken communication) but, more generally, served to raise their awareness and highlight their limitations in some areas. This paper suggests that the process of reflection has helped them to better articulate these skills and identify the steps needed to further develop them. As such, this project has provided research evidence to support the effectiveness of the PASS process and a collection of materials to support the further development of its leaders.
(10) Supplemental Instruction and Student Attendance and Participation
The educational literature generally suggests that Supplemental Instruction (SI) is effective in improving academic performance in traditionally difficult courses. Bruno, Love Green, Illerbrun, Holness, Illerbrun, Haus, K. A, and Sveinson (2015) studied a pilot program of peer teaching based on the SI model implemented for an undergraduate course in human anatomy. Students in the course were stratified into three groups based on the number of peer teaching sessions they attended: nonattendees (0 sessions), infrequently attended (1-3 sessions), and frequently attended (_ 4 sessions). After controlling for academic preparedness [i.e., admission grade point average (AGPA)] using an analysis of covariance, the final grades of frequent attendees were significantly higher than those of nonattendees (P50.025) and infrequent attendees (P50.015). A multiple regression analysis was performed to estimate the relative independent contribution of several variables in predicting the final grade. The results suggest that frequent attendance (b50.245,P50.007) and AGPA (b50.555, P<0.001) were significant positive predictors, while being a first-year student (b520.217, P50.006) was a significant negative predictor. Collectively, these results suggest that attending a certain number of sessions may be required to gain a noticeable benefit from the program, and that first-year students (particularly those with a lower level of academic preparedness) would likely stand to benefit from maximally using the program. End-of-semester surveys and reports indicate that the program had several additional benefits, both to the students taking the course and to the students who served as program leaders.
The main emphasis and outcome from almost all investigations made on Supplemental Instruction show that SI improves grades, percentage of students passing the course as well as increasing student retention. But what happens to students that failed on the SI supported course in spite of being active participants at SI-sessions? Did the extra effort put in by attending SI-sessions reward the students later on or was it just a waste of time? These questions have received no attention in previous studies on supplemental instruction. The main objective of the study by Malm, Bryngfors, and Morner (2011) was to investigate these questions in an engineering education environment with focus on first-year students. The results of the study show that failure on the first major exam means a drastically reduced chance of successful freshman year studies. However, a good attendance record at SI-sessions seems to increase chances of student success although you failed the first exam. For instance, a student with high SI attendance during the first year takes 11 credits more than a student that did not participate in SI sessions. Almost two thirds of students failing the first exam but with high first year SI attendance fulfill the strategic goal of successful studies for the school of engineering at Lund University. This can be compared to one fourth having freshman year study success among students with no SI attendance. These results clearly indicate that attendance at SI sessions tend to reward participants in the long run although results in the short perspective – like failing the first exam in an SI supported course – are negative.The student attendance pattern was divided into four quartiles from low to high attendance. There was a progressive relationship between the number of times attended and the final course grade in engineering courses.
It is well known that extracurricular peer-learning programs such as Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) have an impact on student retention, success, and overall student satisfaction. However, for PAL to work as intended, higher participation rates are needed as student attendance remains one of the challenges faced by program administrators. Marrone and Draganov (2017) analyzed the reasons why students attend PAL, and which strategies can be followed to increase students’ interest in the program. This chapter outlines how targeted messages can encourage different cohorts to attend PAL, and assists PAL administrators with how to conduct their recruitment campaigns to consistent with their universities’ needs. The aim of this research was to understand how the reasons for attending SI might be influenced by students’ demographics and characteristics. From the existing literature on the topic, we identified seven main reasons why students participate: Improve my grade; Pass the unit; Receive additional help; Lecturer’s prompting; Check my knowledge; To make friends; and Studying with people. In this research, we have incorporated the reason “SI Leader’s prompting” as it was being trialled at Macquarie University at the time. unit. Through ordinal regressions, the study revealed a link between certain student characteristics and the reasons why students might attend. On the one hand, students with a higher GPA might be more likely to participate as a result of wanting to “improve my grade”. On the other hand, verbal prompts offered by lecturers or SI Leaders could tend to be more persuasive in attracting students with a lower GPA. Domestic students could rate the reasons such as “get extra help”, “pass the unit”, and “improve my grades” higher than the international students.
Scriver, Olesen, and Clifford (2015) evaluated the pilot year of the CÉIM PAL initiative at the National University of Ireland Galway through analysis of examination results, student surveys and the reflections of two students who participated as first year students in the pilot year and subsequently as student leaders in year two. The paper considers the impact of attendance at sessions on academic performance, student satisfaction with the program and evaluates the extent to which the initiative has assisted students to become more empowered learners as expressed through the development of self-directed learning, growth in educational self-efficacy, and confidence in navigating the learning environment. Recommendations are also made for developing the CÉIM initiative, which may be relevant to other PAL programs and for determining the direction of future research.
Many students in quantitative business courses are struggling. One technique designed to support such students is Supplemental Instruction (SI), which is most popular in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Mitra and Goldstein (2017) show the positive impact of SI on student performance in two bottleneck business courses in a large university. Our evaluation results establish that (i) SI has a statistically significant effect on students’ likelihood of passing both courses (after controlling for background variables), (ii) SI is more helpful for students identified as at risk than for those who are not, and (iii) it is important to consistently attend SI sessions for greater success. We also present models to predict consistent student attendance based on background factors with 90% accuracy and conclude with a brief qualitative study about students’ self-perception of SI and the professional development attained by SI leaders.
SI consists of peer-assisted group study sessions, facilitated by a peer student (the SI Leader) who successfully completed the course. The Leader attends classes with students and plans SI session content based on recent coursework, emphasizing what to learn and how to learn. Selsby, Sterle, and Zywicki (2014) explored student perception of the difficulty of AnS 214, Domestic Animal Physiology, is supported by comparing mean grade in AnS 214 (2.23/4.0) to that of all 100 and 200 level classes at Iowa State University (ISU; 2.86/4.0). To address student need for academic support, Supplemental Instruction (SI) has been offered for this course since the spring 2009 semester.. The purpose of this investigation was to determine the extent to which student participation in SI improved academic performance in AnS 214. SI participants earned an average grade of 2.73 ± 1.05 while non-participants earned an average grade of 2.23 ± 1.23 (p<0.05). Of the subgroup of students that were deemed regular participants (>9 sessions) the average grade improved more substantially to 3.07 ± 0.86 (p<0.05 v non-participants; p<0.05 v all participants). When each of the four exams given throughout the semester were considered, SI participation improved exam performance by 11-19% for all exams compared to non-participants (p<0.05 for all exams). Regular attendance improved exam performance by 17-28% compared to non-participants (p<0.05 for all exams) and was also significantly greater than participants attending 1-9 sessions (p<0.05 for 1-9 participants). These data indicate that participation in SI improved student academic performance, however, regular participation led to further benefits.
The initial year of university is often a sensitive period for new students. Commencing students may lack the necessary skills and resources to adapt to unfamiliar learning environments. One intervention demonstrating academic benefits is Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS). PASS is a structured peer led study group where students collectively share knowledge and solve course-related tasks. To date there has been limited empirical exploration into how PASS enhances student performance outcomes. Spedding, Hawekes, and Burgess (2017) used both a cross-sectional (n ¼ 264) and a matched longitudinal (n ¼ 76) survey design, combined with PASS attendance and course performance data, to investigate three psychological mechanisms that may mediate these effects: increased academic engagement, a positive student identity, and increased statistics self-efficacy. Sampling a first-year psychology cohort enrolled in an introductory statistics course, both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses found a positive relationship between PASS attendance and academic performance. Furthermore, self-efficacy mediated the relationship between PASS attendance and student performance.
(11) Supplemental Instruction and Study and Social Skills
As student retention and four-year graduation rates are of institutional and national interest and frequently referred metrics for college success, the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program aims to reduce D’s, F’s and Q drop rates in historically difficult classes. Although previous work done by this group revealed that attending SI sessions for a first-year course (Introduction to Electrical Engineering) positively impacted exam scores and subsequent course grades , the program continues to experience low participation rates. Emerging questions of student behaviors in relation to attendance at SI sessions are addressed in this article. Abraham and Telang’s (2018) study utilizes a mixed-methods approach, incorporating quantitative data relating to grades and attendance with qualitative data relating to student awareness, use and perceptions about SI. These analyses serve to gain an understanding of the effects of SI and identify components of the program that students value. Quantitative data was collected in the form of session attendance logs, grade data, and student demographics. Qualitative data was collected in the form of pre- and post-surveys administered during the third and final week of the semester.
At most universities, an introductory statistics course is required for the majority of the students before they begin their specific major classes. Roughly 25% of undergraduate students at a given university will take a statistics class during a single academic year. Of these students, several will fail to retain the information, making future classes more difficult, or fail to successfully pass the course, increasing the likelihood a student will not graduate on time. Providing academic support through the implementation of a Supplemental Instruction (SI) Program gives students the opportunity to receive free, out-of-class help focused on student achievement in this course. Lead by a SI Leader, students are able to attend sessions to receive conceptual help while reviewing class material, developing study strategies, and collaborating with classmates. Baum, E. (2016) focused on the effects SI can have on student achievement in a statistics classroom. Since statistics is a necessary and important course in several disciplines, proper academic help is crucial for the success of the students. We will share our data analysis for using SI in a statistics course over a 4-year period, providing participants the opportunity to identify the positive effects SI has on student success.
Bonsangue, Cadwalladerolsker, Fernandez-Weston, Filowitz, Hershey, Moon and Engelke (2013) focused on the impact of Supplemental Instruction (SI) on student achievement in first semester Calculus for transfer students over a three-year period. Transfer students participating in SI achieved dramatically higher passing rates and course grades than did non-transfer students, despite no significant differences in academic predictors between the two groups. The results here indicate that while SI has been shown to be an effective tool for many students, the academic and social elements of SI may be especially significant for STEM transfer students enrolled in gateway courses such as first semester Calculus.
Chilvers, L. (2014) examines findings from a recent study in the UK which explored the contribution the Peer-Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) scheme makes to this process. An earlier study used in-depth interviews with international students to generate data; following findings related to engagement with a learning community, this current study scrutinized that data using Lave and Wenger’s (1991) social-learning theory, Communities of Practice, as a theoretical lens. Themes of community, practice and participation were used to explore and understand the role of PASS in supporting international students’ transition and learning in HE. Findings illuminated the role of PASS in helping international students to socially integrate with students of other nationalities, developing friendships with peers and PASS leaders, which literature evidences contributing to an increased sense of belonging to a community. Through the mutual engagement of attendees and leaders, students developed shared language, values and practices relating to their discipline and studying in UK HE. Established PASS leaders shared experiences of first year with ‘newcomer’ international students, supporting their transition into UK HE culture and enabling their legitimate peripheral participation to develop more fully. Participation in PASS fostered students’ engagement with learning activities and independent study habits. Limitations to the study and suggestions for further research will also be discussed.
Coletti, Wisniewski, Shapiro, and DiMilla, P. A. (2014) examined the correlation between first year engineering students’ use of supplemental instruction and their performance in a required general chemistry course at Northeastern University. Research has shown that supplemental instruction is positively correlated with measurable factors, such as higher grade point averages and timely graduation rates, as well as less-easily measured factors, such as long-term retention of course material, teamwork, communication skills, information processing skills, and motivation. Previously we examined what grade level triggered students to seek out supplemental instruction in a required general chemistry course and what factors affected whether a student used a form of supplemental instruction.1 However, data were unavailable to correlate with grades. In order to understand a student’s pre-disposition and ultimate choice to participate in supplemental instruction as well as to determine correlations with grade distribution, honors and non-honors students in a required general chemistry course were given pre-surveys at the beginning and post-surveys at the end of the semester. Analysis of pre-surveys allowed identification of a student’s predisposed “trigger point” at which s/he decides to seek extra help upon entering college. The availability of data for different types of course assessments, including exams, homework, and class participation, enabled correlation among individual trigger points, grades, and the use of different forms of supplemental instruction. Previously we had investigated how important convenience factors are to students in their decision to use supplemental instruction. This year’s study examined this question further to determine what factors deter students from using specific resources for supplemental instruction. An overarching intent of our study was to identify how females and males differ in their use and attitudes towards supplemental instruction. Using this study based on a freshman general chemistry class as a model for student behavior in freshman courses, this paper presents the survey results, methodology used, conclusions, and recommendations for increasing the usage of supplemental instruction by first year engineering students.
Daskalovska, Dimova, Kuzmanovska, Kirova, Ivanova, Ulanska, and Hadji-Nikolova (2017) focused on the project “Supplemental Instruction as a tool for improving students’ language competence at the Faculty of Philology”. Students who enroll in the first year of studies at the Faculty of Philology in Stip have different levels of language competence, so that lower proficiency level students face difficulties in achieving the learning objectives of Contemporary Macedonian/English/German courses. Therefore, the aim of this project is to determine the effects of supplemental instruction on improving students’ language competence which would help them attain the learning outcomes of the language courses and would serve as a basis for achieving better results in the course of their studies. Before the beginning of the supplemental instruction, all participants will be tested in order to determine their language competence. Based on the results, the participants in each department will be divided into two groups – A and B. The supplemental instruction will include two lessons per week during the first two semesters. Group A will be the experimental group and group B will be the control group in the first semester. The supplemental instruction for Group A will focus on explicit learning of grammar and vocabulary as well as on developing the language skills by using different exercises and activities in accordance with the communicative approaches to language learning. Group B will not attend supplemental instruction. At the end of the semester, both groups will be tested in order to determine the effect of the supplemental instruction on students’ language knowledge and skills. A survey will be conducted with group A to find out their opinions and attitudes regarding the benefits of supplemental instruction. In the second semester Group A will be the control group and group B will be the experimental group. Group A will not attend supplemental instruction, while group B will learn the language implicitly by using literary texts according to the principles of language-based approaches to using literature in the language classroom. At the end of the second semester, the participants will be tested again in order to determine the effect of this approach on their language competence. A survey will be conducted with group B to determine their experience and opinions about the effect of this type of supplemental instruction. All results will be summarized at the end to see if supplemental instruction contributes to improving the knowledge and language skills of first year students as well as the effects of the two different approaches in the implementation of the supplemental instruction.
Green, (2017) examined the implementation of the peer assisted study scheme (PASS) and individual peer mentoring in a cohort of first year undergraduate nursing students. It arose out of the desire of a small number of students in one UK university to transfer from the learning (intellectual) disabilities nursing field to other fields. The number of learning disabilities nurses is falling in England, and nursing shortages and student nurse retention generally is an international concern. The peer support was evaluated by 21 completed questionnaires. All the students had found the sessions they attended useful. Four themes emerged from the study. Students reported gains in knowledge around academic skills, placements and their chosen field of nursing; students felt more confident as a result of attending the sessions; students felt supported, and the importance of the peer mentor’s interpersonal skills was highlighted; and finally students had valued meeting other students in their chosen field. These findings are discussed with reference to relevant literature.
Teaching at Swedish primary and secondary schools is often combined with collaborative exercises in a variety of subjects. One such method for learning together is Supplemental instruction (SI). Several studies have been made to evaluate SI in universities throughout the world, while at lower levels hardly any study has been made until now. Holm, and Pelger (2016) aimed at identifying learning conditions in SI-sessions at two Swedish upper secondary schools. Within this study, a combination of ATD (Anthropological theory of the didactic) and the SOLO-taxonomy (Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome) was successfully tried as an analysis strategy.
Supplemental Instruction is one of the most successful programs of peer-assisted study in existence. Numerous studies show that SI attendance correlates with student achievement, regardless of the level of knowledge of the student prior to commencing their studies. Holmer’s (2017) study, from Humanities at Lund University, Sweden, outlines a method for gauging the effect of SI on soft values such as study attitudes, confidence, and self-reported study skills. To eliminate the effect of different backgrounds, the study is based on 388 pairs of two questionnaires (before and after the semester) and SI attendance is correlated with the change in the self-reported values, rather than with the final absolute value. It is shown that issues dealing with study skills and strategies correlate more closely with SI-attendance than do psychological issues such as ambition and confidence
Anatomy and physiology is a field of science essential to the studies of all healthcare professionals. However, quite often, such subject matter, particularly when taken by less experienced students, results in poor performance and high failure rates. Kalil, Jones, and Nast (2016) investigated the incorporation of Supplementary Instruction (SI) as an academic assistance program which utilizes peer-led study sessions in order to improve student grades, rates of success, and learning experiences. The results indicate that students who participated in SI sessions consistently outperformed non-SI students. There was a positive linear relationship between the numbers of SI sessions attended and the higher final grade earned. In addition, an end of term survey indicated that the SI addition was well-liked by the students and helped them to better prepare themselves for the challenges of the course. This study demonstrates that students who routinely participate in SI sessions improve their final grades and success rates in an anatomy and physiology course. The current report confirms that the SI academic support model enables students to develop and incorporate effective learning techniques and problem solving skills which ultimately translate into higher student success rates and enhanced learning experiences.
Marhaya (2014) applied Vygotsky’s social constructivism theory on lecturers’ perspective of Supplemental Instruction peer facilitation model. The study seeks to gather a perspective on the impact of supplemental instruction model as a student enhancement support mechanism from lecturers involved in two modules supported in the program. This is a qualitative case study design study of a Supplemental Instruction model used as a student enhancement support mechanism by lecturers in one institution of higher learning in the Eastern Cape Province. Four lecturers, who are currently utilizing this model, which consist of two from each program involved in the study, have been drawn. These participants have been purposefully selected based on knowledge and utilization of this tool. A narrative approach soliciting their stories through the use of open-ended questionnaire is seen as ideal in order to get rich data. Emerging themes were analyzed using a thematic approach. The results suggest that there is a general satisfaction on how the academics perceive, experience and what they expect from the program. The study concludes that all stakeholders could benefit if good relations are maintained. It is recommended that they should be continuous strengthening of relations amongst all stakeholders involved in the program.
Globally, mathematics and science pass rates at school level have been a much discussed and researched issue. Teachers are tasked with the responsibility of alleviating learners’ challenges associated with the learning of mathematics and science. Thus, teachers are pursuing innovative techniques for improving the understanding of and increasing the pass rates in mathematics and science. Academics in higher education have recognized that first year students experience difficulty with high-risk courses such as mathematics and science. One successful innovative strategy used at university level is Supplemental Instruction (SI). This is a peer support program, which targets high-risk courses, and is aimed at developing subject-specific learning skills to foster independent learners, who will take responsibility for their own learning. Naidoo, and Paideya (2015) explored the SI context at university level, with the aim of adapting this type of support program at secondary school level. Data was collected via a questionnaire administered to selected academics, interviews with academics, as well as interviews with university students who have participated in SI sessions at university level. An analysis of the data suggests that schools may be able to adapt the SI model with the aim of assisting learners to develop key study skills to improve understanding in mathematics and science. This improved understanding of content could lead to an improvement in mathematics and science pass rates at secondary school level.
Many institutions of higher education – community colleges in particular – are focused on issues related to student success. In an effort to close the achievement gap between student demographic groups, college administrators encourage faculty to link their students to the academic support services provided on campus. Such efforts may be voluntary for the college or part of a coordinated institutional, regional, or national effort. One service employed by many colleges is the Supplemental Instruction (SI ) program. The program is voluntary for students in “academically rigorous courses” and aims to “integrate how-to-learn with what-to-learn.” The program is touted by its proponents for helping students withdraw less and earn higher grades. Neal (2013) examined student use of the SI program in an introductory course in American Politics. Students in four sections of the course were surveyed about their use of the SI program and other academic support services provided at a Midwestern community college. The results of this preliminary survey are discussed.
The Faculty of Engineering at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has a rich diversity of first year students who present themselves as under-prepared for tertiary study. This is because many students have not yet developed the abstract reasoning skills that allow them to learn new ideas simply by either reading a text or listening to a lecture. Supplemental instruction (SI) was thus introduced as an academic support program for the first year students. Paideva, and Sookrah (2014) attempted to theorize the engineering students’ engagement within the SI learning space. This is done using the concepts of relate, create and reflect adapted from theories of engagement. The findings suggest that social learning spaces encourage explanations, conceptual understanding and reflective thinking. In theorising engineering students’ engagement within the SI learning space, it is argued that the notion of engagement created representations of physical, cognitive and safe cultural spaces for learning chemistry.
Paideya (2011) examined SI has introduced to the first-year engineering and mainstream chemistry students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal as part of the “Through0ut in Engineering Sciences (TIES) program. SI participants developed a better understanding of concepts through exposure to different points of view and different pedagogical activities offered. The findings indicate that the different pedagogical and learning techniques offered in the SI social learning spaces accommodated for the diversity of students’ learning needs, encouraging students to take responsibility for their learning through feedback, motivation and support. Social spaces served for mini revision of concepts, explanations and discussions that improved understanding of concepts and collaboration amongst peers which increased students’ confidence in answering questions. The findings from this study show that SI social learning spaces create opportunities for learning engagement that differ from lectures in many ways, particularly as they relate to: (a) offering more opportunities for practice and reflection; (b) access to a variety of questions; (c) access to support and immediate feedback; (d) opportunities for collaboration; (e) students taking responsibility for learning; and (f) motivation to learn. Students commented that student focused learning, which involved peer teaching and learning, encouraged them to: (a) develop thinking, reasoning and social skills which enabled them to engage with the problem solving activities more effectively; (b) develop confidence with respect to making appropriate choices in terms of chemistry concepts; and (c) explore, question and research other alternates as a fundamental component of their learning. It is evident from these responses that students who engaged in these social learning spaces developed a better understanding of concepts through collaboration. It is therefore argued that the social learning spaces created during the SI intervention session have the potential to develop independent lifelong learners in chemistr
Paloyn, Rogan, and Siminski (2016) summarized the results of a HEPPP-funded research project on the effects of the Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) on educational outcomes. The study used a randomized encouragement design (RED), which avoids the potential problem of selection bias that pervades non-experimental evaluations. Globally, this is the first large-scale experiment on the effectiveness of PASS or related Supplemental Instruction programs. The study population consists of 6954 student subject observations from 14 first-year courses at the University of Wollongong in Australia in 2014 and 2015. Following the RED approach, arandomly selected sub-group was offered a large, near-cash incentive to participate in PASS. Whilst PASS participation is voluntary and unrestricted, participation was 0.47 sessions (19 percent) greater for the incentivised group compared to the non-incentivised group. This inducement effect is larger for students from low-SES areas (0.89 sessions). But the overall inducement effect is smaller than anticipated, which limits the statistical power of the main analysis, especially for subgroups. We also varied the size of the incentive greatly between semesters, but this did not meaningfully change the size of the inducement effect. The design of effective incentives for student populations warrants further research. The experiment suggests that one hour of PASS improved grades by 0.065 standard deviations (1.26 marks on a raw 100-point scale), which is consistent with the non-experimental literature. However, this estimate is not statistically significant, reflecting limited statistical power. The estimated effect is largest and statistically significant for students in their first semester at university (0.153 standard deviations or almost 3 marks per hour of PASS). This particular sub-group analysis was not in our pre-analysis plan, and so it should be treated as a suggestive–rather than a confirmatory –result. Nevertheless, it remains plausible given issues around transitioning into a university environment, including the more independent, self-directed study skills and time management required in tertiary study, as well as the need for structure and social support. We had intended to study heterogeneity of effects for a number of other subgroups (by socioeconomic status, rural and indigenous backgrounds, age, sex, domestic/international status, and high school grades), but this was not feasible because of limited statistical power.
The purpose of this action research of Sultan, Narayansany, Kee, Kuan, Manickam, and Tee (2014) was to find out if participants of a pilot PASS program found it to be helpful. The PASS program is based on the Supplemental Instruction (SI) model. The program was implemented for the first time in an institute of higher learning in Malaysia. An action research design guided the study, with surveys, documents, and reflections as primary data sources. The findings were largely positive, with participants citing PASS sessions to have helped them in the study of difficult first year subjects and in the development of some study skills. PASS also improved social integration. The collaborative and facilitated structure of PASS sessions were reported to be key aspects that improved student learning. Some issues were also highlighted and discussed, such as misconceptions of the role of PASS leaders.
A main aspect of the Supplemental Instruction program’s mission is to help students develop transferable study skills that will improve their academic performance in all of their university coursework. At the university, the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department partnered with the learning center to provide Supplemental Instruction programming to the freshman-level course Introduction to Electrical Engineering (EE 101) in fall 2015. This course is the first part of a two-course sequence, the second of which is Circuit Theory (EE 102). Wilmot and Telang (2017) found that, of the students enrolled in EE 102 in the spring 2016 semester, students who attended SI sessions during the fall 2015 EE 101 course had higher course grades than the non-attendees, even though this group’s spring 2016 end of semester grade point averages were lower and this group’s course grades in EE 101 were lower. To continue to investigate the long-term implications of SI attendance and gain a better understanding of what the SI program can offer students in the ECE program at the university, future studies will benefit from additional data as students continue to progress through their program, and the inclusion of qualitative measures for a mixed-methods approach.