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Board # 76 : Evaluating the Success of Peer-led Student Interventions in a Freshman Year Experience Program

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

First-year Programs Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Elizabeth Ann Howard New Mexico State University

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Elizabeth Howard serves as the Program Manager for the College of Engineering at New Mexico State University. Elizabeth is currently serving as the program coordinator for the Freshman Year Experience program at NMSU which includes hiring and managing the college mentors, and overall coordination of the program. Elizabeth has worked in the College of Engineering for the past 5 years in student affairs.

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This paper is a Work in Progress and will discusses the process and assessment of a structured intervention plan implemented in a Freshman Year Experience (FYE) program at a Hispanic serving institution. The FYE program was implemented in Fall 2014 as an attempt to increase retention. After the first year of implementation, retentions rates from freshman to sophomore rose by 14.6%. The FYE program has several different components, including a hands-on introductory course, peer mentoring and tutoring, exposure to the engineering disciplines on campus, and other success initiatives. After the first year of implementation, the College of Engineering hired a lead instructor for the introductory course and a program manager for oversight of the FYE experience. In Fall 2015, the program manager implemented an intervention program based on six week performance grades that were entered by all 100 and 200 level instructors at the University. All students enrolled in the introduction to engineering course were required by their instructor and peer mentor to attend the interventions as a means to increase student success. After the six week performance grades were posted all instructors of the introductory engineering course and peer mentors were responsible for meeting with the freshman who qualified for the intervention process. Students who received a C, D, or F grade were required to meet with their peer mentor during office hours. Students were required to attend (1) intervention session with their mentor based on the number of C or below grades reported. For example, if a student had four C or below grades, they were required to meet with their mentor once a week for the following four weeks. Mentors were responsible for having a conversation with their mentee to determine the root cause of the students’ performance and to make an attempt to increase their grade. Once the mentor and mentee determined the root of the problem an action plan was developed by both participants. For example, if it was determined the failing grade was due to low homework scores, the mentee and mentor would make a plan for tutoring sessions until both saw improvement. Data was recorded by the mentor which included the number of sessions a mentee attended, and what activities occurred during the session. Interventions were evaluated based on the students’ final grades in comparison to their six week performance grades. Effectiveness was determined by the number of sessions a student attended and their letter grade increase. Interventions are one component of the FYE program. As the program progresses we are noticing a continued need to develop various modules of the freshman experience to increase student success which ultimately effects student matriculation in an engineering field.

Howard, E. A. (2017, June), Board # 76 : Evaluating the Success of Peer-led Student Interventions in a Freshman Year Experience Program Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio.

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