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Engineering Students’ Views on the Effectiveness of Peer Tutors in Scholars Assisting Scholars Program

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

11

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34563

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34563

Download Count

94

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Paper Authors

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Yang Yang Kansas State University

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Yang Lydia Yang is Assistant Professor of Quantitative Research Methodology at College of Education, Kansas State University. She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Florida International University. Her research interest include quantitative research design, Q methodology, recruitment and retention of women in STEM fields.

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Bette Grauer PE Kansas State University

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Executive Assistant, Carl R. Ice College of Engineering, Kansas State University

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Jennifer Renee Thornburg Kansas State University

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Retention Coordinator
Carl R. Ice College of Engineering
Kansas State University

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Amy Rachel Betz Kansas State University

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Dr. Amy Betz is the Assistant Dean for Retention, Diversity, and Inclusion for the College of Engineering at Kansas State University. She is also an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2011.

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Abstract

In engineering education, retaining engineering students in the first two years of college is a critical issue when the attrition rate has been persistently high. Peer tutoring and supplemental instruction are widely used methods to help first year students and sophomores succeed in challenging courses in universities. Research has shown that peer tutoring improves academic outcomes such as achieving higher GPAs, higher retention rates, and improving student connectedness. In an earlier study we examined whether and to what degree a peer tutoring and supplemental instruction program called Scholars Assisting Scholars, SAS, implemented in a college of engineering facilitated student academic performance in a specific Calculus course. In this follow-up study, we focused on the impact of the peer tutoring and supplemental instruction program on students who utilized the peer tutoring program across a wide range of core courses.

The two objectives of the current research are to examine (a) the effectiveness of SAS tutors perceived by first and second year engineering students who attended SAS tutoring sessions, and (b) whether male and female SAS tutors were perceived differently in their effectiveness by students who attended SAS tutoring sessions. Learning about the effectiveness of the SAS peer tutors can inform the researchers how to improve the SAS program and make it an effective approach in helping engineering students succeed academically.

In this quantitative study, we focused specifically on students who utilized SAS tutoring programs for at least one of the core courses (e.g., Calculus, Chemistry). Participants consisted of 86 students who attended SAS tutoring sessions and completed the survey regarding SAS tutors in Spring 2019. Students were asked about the effectiveness of the SAS tutors for both tutoring sessions and review sessions before exams. All survey items were on a 5-point Likert scale with higher values demonstrating more effective tutoring behaviors or characteristics. We coded the sex of each tutor (0 = Male, 1 = Female). The data of students who visited the SAS program were recorded electronically by Academic Success Center.

The overall effectiveness of SAS tutors in the tutoring sessions and the exam review sessions was positive, with an average rating of 4.49 (SD = .71) and 4.66 (SD = .59), respectively. We further examined whether male and female SAS tutors were perceived differently in their effectiveness. The independent t-test results showed that there was no statistical difference in perceived effectiveness of female tutors (M = 4.41, SD = .74) and male tutors (M = 4.64, SD = .62) in the tutoring sessions, t (84) = 1.48, p = .143, 95% CI (-0.08, 0.55). The independent t-test results also showed that there was no statistical difference in perceived effectiveness of female tutors (M = 4.63, SD = .61) and male tutors (M = 4.71, SD =. 55) in the exam review sessions, t (61) = .534, p = .59. This suggests that students who utilized SAS tutoring program considered female and male tutors to be equally effectiveness. In voluntary comments section, students frequently attributed success in all coursework to the assistance of SAS tutors. Participants often identified knowledge of the content area and the ability to explain concepts in a way that students could understand as an important characteristic of effective tutors.

Yang, Y., & Grauer, B., & Thornburg, J. R., & Betz, A. R. (2020, June), Engineering Students’ Views on the Effectiveness of Peer Tutors in Scholars Assisting Scholars Program Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34563

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