Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
NSF Grantees Poster Session
In the fall of 2015, XXXXXX University implemented a semi-mandatory peer-to-peer tutoring program within a variety of courses that have traditionally been linked to high student attrition. Some of these courses have previously been identified as critical for success in the NSF S-STEM grant in effect at the university, and thus it is of interest to determine whether students in the S-STEM program would benefit from inclusion in the peer-tutoring program. The peer-tutoring program presents a naturally occurring experiment because some sections of these courses have included the peer-to-peer tutoring program, while others have been traditionally taught without this tutoring aspect. As a result, the authors have been able to begin to assess the effectiveness of this tutoring on student performance specifically in Calculus I, Calculus II and the lowest-level Calculus-based Physics courses. This study groups students by GPA at the beginning of the semester (less than 2.0, up to 2.5, up to 3.0, up to 3.5 and above 3.5) and within those groups gathers data on hours of tutoring completed, final course grade and GPA for each student at the conclusion of the semester. Comparison is made between average performance of students enrolled in peer-tutored and in traditionally-taught sections. While the results are quite preliminary, it is possible to begin to estimate (1) whether student performance in the class (as measured by final grade in the course) is affected by the tutoring, (2) which student group is most strongly affected by the tutoring, and (3) whether there is an optimal number of tutoring hours for student success. Inasmuch as there are confounding variables (such as different instructors among sections and differing levels of student motivation) that have not yet been controlled, this study is submitted as a work-in-progress. Preliminary analysis, however, seems to indicate that it may be possible to identify a “sweet spot” for student starting GPA at which the tutoring is most effective, and the number of hours of tutoring that is optimal for the typical student. While it is not a new insight to say that tutoring helps struggling but motivated students (previous studies have indicated that this peer-to-peer mentoring program has had a good effect on student success, by reducing the percentage of students receiving a final grade of D or F or withdrawing from the course for students enrolled in peer-tutored sections) the longer-term goal of this study is to determine the effectiveness of tutoring for nominally higher-performing students.
Steinbrink, S., & Nogaj, A. F., & Vernaza, K. M., & Zhao, L., & Tiari, S. (2020, June), A Study of the Effects of Peer Tutoring in Relation to Student GPA Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34060
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