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Access at Crossroads: Learning Assistance in Higher Ed., D. Arendale   Click this web link to learn about my recent book

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     Access at the Crossroads Blog

    These blog entires identify best practices to increase success for historically-underrepresented college students including excerpts from my book, Access at the CrossroadsClick here to subscribe to this blog.

    Friday
    Apr152016

    Exploring the emotional intelligence of student leaders in the Supplemental Instruction context.

    James, C., & Templeman, E. (2015). Exploring the emotional intelligence of student leaders in the SI context. Journal of the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 27(2), 67-81. Retrieved from http://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/fyesit/fyesit/2015/00000027/00000002/art00004?crawler=true

    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.

    To download the complete annotated bibliography of more than 1,100 citations for postsecondary peer cooperative learning programs, click on the following link, http://z.umn.edu/peerbib

    Wednesday
    Apr132016

    Speech and language therapy students' experience of Peer Assisted Learning: Undergraduates investigate PAL as a means of enhancing academic and professional development

    Guyon, A., Butterfint, Z., Lacy, A., Sanosi, A., Sheridan, K., & Unwin, J. (2015). Speech and language therapy students' experience of Peer Assisted Learning: Undergraduates investigate PAL as a means of enhancing academic and professional development. Journal of Learning. Retrieved from https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/55820/1/PAL_Project_FINAL.pdf

    The implementation of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) on healthcare courses in Higher Education Institutions has been explored in a number of studies. 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.

    To download the complete annotated bibliography of morethan 1,100 citations in postsecondary peer cooperative learning programs, click the following link, http://z.umn.edu

    Monday
    Apr112016

    History of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education: Mid-1940s through 1970s

    The following is an excerpt from my monograph, Access at the Crossroads.  Click on the box in the left column to learn more about the monograph. The history of learning assistance and developmental education is too often overlooked or ignored.  This is important for today's policy discussions and decisions impacting academic access and support programs for college students.

    The fourth phase of learning assistance history occurred throughout the mid­dle of the twentieth century. Learning assistance dramatically expanded to meet increased needs resulting from escalating college enrollment. Building on past practices of tutoring and remedial courses, learning assistance expanded services to more students through compensatory education and learning assistance centers. Stigma heightened for learning assistance partici­pants because of increased stratification of academic preparation among enter­ing students. Although previously enrollment in remedial classes was common for most college students (Brubacher and Rudy, 1976; Maxwell, 1979), it was no longer the case. Entering students from privileged backgrounds were better prepared academically than the new first-generation college and economically disadvantaged students who were entering postsecondary education for the first time. Stigma began to attach to the students who enrolled in the reme­dial and subsequent developmental courses by those who did not need to do so. Well-prepared privileged students did not need extensive learning assis­tance during college as had the previous generation of college students. The new students, especially those from rural communities and urban centers and many historically underrepresented students of color, had uneven access to such education. This dichotomy of experiences created a perception that devel­opmental courses were needed primarily for students of color. Actually, two-thirds of students enrolled in these courses were white, but it is true that students of color are twice as likely at two-year colleges and three times more likely at four-year institutions to enroll in the courses in relationship to their proportion of the overall population of all college students (Boylan, Bonham, and Bliss, 1994).

    Increased Federal Involvement

    Federal involvement intensified during this time with increased financial sup­port, legislative oversight, and creation of new college access programs. Sig­nificant events occurred: the GI bill, expansion of civil rights, and equal opportunity legislation. The National Center for Education Statistics (1993) tracks a variety of educational activities, including rates of college enrollment. A retrospective in trends over a period of 120 years revealed an increase in col­lege enrollment. College enrollment increased significantly during the 1950s, as the college enrollment rate rose from 15 to 24 percent among eighteen- to twenty-four-year-olds over that decade. During the 1960s, the rate increased to 35 percent, finally reaching 45 percent in the 1970s. Much of this later growth was the result of increased enrollment by adult and part-time students, who required learning assistance support different from their peers (National Center for Education Statistics, 1993).

    Colleges were increasingly asked to provide services for older students who often faced concurrent challenges of failure to enroll in college-bound cur­riculum while in high school and the interruption of education between high school and college as a result of entering the workforce, raising a family, or enlisting in the military. Academic skills often atrophied during the interven­ing years. These students often brought multiple needs that required academic support and enrichment. Many college preparatory programs expanded as a result. A national survey (Barbe, 1951) documented the growth of reading clinics created to meet the increased number of students academically under-prepared for college-level work. Another resource introduced beginning in the 1950s was counseling services in remedial programs (Kulik and Kulik, 1991).

    Another catalyst for change was the civil rights movement, manifested in the early 1960s in various forms that resulted in major societal changes of infrastructure—including in learning assistance programs (Chazan, 1973; Clowes, 1980). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other programs of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society focused on increasing opportunities for peo­ple of color as well as those people historically excluded from many of society’s benefits. Learning assistance services, especially remedial and devel­opmental courses, took on additional tasks. Their responsibility expanded beyond preparation of students for college-level courses, and the learning assis­tance field received an indirect mandate to serve as a major resource to enable postsecondary institutions to increase dramatically their enrollments by stu­dents who had been excluded before—the poor, students of color, and students from families that had never completed college. This informal social responsibility by the learning assistance community would overwhelm its capacity to meet the need as a result of insufficient funding and a lack of trained personnel to provide the services. Although not formally stated in offi­cial documents, college learning assistance programs were expected to com­pensate for inadequate secondary schools, especially in rural and urban centers, and assist students to quickly develop college-level skills in an academic term or two. Overcoming an inadequate elementary and secondary education with limited time, resources, and personnel was a nearly impossible task. The field is still informally held to these expectations today and contributes to criticism for not achieving desired student outcomes.

    Compensatory Education

    Deep-rooted social problems influencing many students of color and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds created the need for a new type of edu­cation program. During the early 1960s, national civil rights legislation estab­lished the Office of Compensatory Education in the U.S. Office of Education (Chazan, 1973). The civil rights movement chose a different perspective of learning assistance. “Compensatory education” remedied a previous state of discrimination: “Compensatory education in higher education would take the form of remediation activities such as preparatory and supplementary work . . . all with a program to provide an enriching experience beyond the academic environment to counterbalance a nonsupportive home environment” (Clowes, 1980, p. 8).

    Some believed environmental conditions, often induced by poverty, were responsible for students’ poor academic achievement. Compensatory educa­tion defined itself as “those efforts designed to make up for the debilitating consequences of discrimination and poverty” (Frost and Rowland, 1971,

    p. vii). President Johnson’s War on Poverty also targeted the negative outcomes caused by these environmental conditions. Compensatory education provided an improved home environment that had been identified as a significant fac­tor for future academic achievement (Maxwell, 1997; Ntuk-Iden, 1978). This paradigm shift from remediating deficits of individual students to remedying deficits of the learning environment and the community required different learning assistance interventions. The response was systemic and involved interventions beyond the provision of tutorial programs and remedial credit courses. Such compensatory programs required significant federal oversight, funding, and management.

    New compensatory education programs such as TRIO and other Equal Opportunity programs originated in the 1969 civil rights legislation. Accord­ing to federal legislation, student eligibility for these new programs required them to meet one or more of the following criteria: (1) neither parent com­pleted college; (2) an economically disadvantaged background; or (3) an eli­gible disability. The TRIO college access programs became an official entitlement for a federally defined population based on historical underrep­resentation in postsecondary education or physical disability (Kerstiens, 1997).

    Compensatory education also included traditional approaches to learning assistance—tutoring, counseling, and remedial credit courses—along with a new package of activities including educational enrichment and cultural expe­riences (Clowes, 1980). Compensatory education leaders distanced themselves from traditional learning assistance activities, however, to avoid the stigma associated with those programs. They positioned compensatory education as creating a new learning culture for students who had suffered historic dis­crimination and had been underserved by their previous education (Clowes, 1980).

    Compensatory education was based on the public health model rather than the medical model (Clowes, 1980). The model expanded beyond the indi­vidual to the surrounding academic and economic environment that affected students. Identifying student deficits, providing remedial assistance, and adding supplemental enrichment activities were essential for compensatory education. In addition to a curriculum that included remedial courses, com­pensatory education also sought to immerse students in a new learning cul­ture that included enrichment activities.

    Therefore, compensatory education is not identical to traditional learning assistance approaches. It provides a specific response to a new student popu­lation in postsecondary education. Added to its mission was the cultural enrichment of students whose impoverished backgrounds mandated a differ­ent approach. Rather than changing the physical surroundings in which stu­dents lived and attended school, compensatory education sought to create a separate and enriched learning community for these students. Another approach to create a supportive learning environment for historically under­represented college students took place in the junior and community colleges.

    Federally funded compensatory education programs were a response by the national government to historic injustices. These new programs were accountable, monitored, and funded by the federal government. They were a direct intervention into individual postsecondary institutions. Only approved students could be served through the programs to ensure that the local insti­tution did not divert funds for other purposes. This direct and narrow focus met the needs of many who were served (Grout, 2003). It also became an enormous missed opportunity that not only marginalized the students served and the compensatory programs but also failed to meet the larger issue.

    The campus environment and allocation of resources also contributed to lower performance by historically excluded students of color, poor students, and first-generation students. The federal response could have been to hold postsecondary institutions accountable for outcomes of all students. Instead, the response was to create small communities that operated in the larger insti­tutions that could only serve about 10 percent of eligible students (Nealy, 2009; Swail and Roth, 2000). States could also have joined this demand for accountability and made college funding contingent on improved student outcomes, including persistence toward graduation, for not only the overall student population but also for demographic groups such as those from low socioeconomic status, students of color, and first-generation students.

    The British provide a model for this type of accountability for higher edu­cation. Their “widening participation” initiative holds colleges accountable for student outcomes, among them graduation rates for all students, including those historically neglected (Higher Education Funding Council for England, 2006). Rather than national funds provided for narrowly targeted populations and accompanying services, the funds are for initiatives that result in changes in the campus culture and are critical elements of the campus strategic goals (Higher Education Funding Council for England, 2006). The demographics of the entering student body are to be reflected in the graduating students, or part of the annual appropriation by the national government is subject to with­holding. This type of financial accountability as well as supplemental funding from the government for efforts at widening participation could have been implemented in the United States as well.

    Instead, the federal government informally endorsed the marginalization of first-generation, economically disadvantaged, and disabled students by pro­viding programs for only a small portion of those who were eligible. These students were identified as different from the others and provided separate programs to serve them, and the participants as well as the service providers suffered from the ensuing stigma while the institutional culture remained essentially unchanged.

    Role of the Junior and Community Colleges

    When junior and community colleges expanded in the early 1900s, the entry-level test scores for college applicants were moderately lower than those for four-year institutions (Koos, 1924). This situation dramatically changed in the 1960s as open-door admissions policies at two-year colleges brought many students to postsecondary education that formerly entered the workforce immediately after high school. Junior colleges expanded their mission beyond only preparing students for successful transfer to senior institutions. Com­munity colleges retrained their transfer function and expanded their mission to serve students who were academically underprepared and those enrolled in new certificate vocational programs that served the local community. This shift in focus led the majority of these junior colleges to rename themselves com­munity colleges because of their expanded vision and mission of service (Cohen and Brawer, 2002).

    Increased pressure was placed on community colleges in the 1970s and 1980s as four-year institutions recruited more college-bound students to replace ballooning enrollments from returning war veterans (who used the fed­eral GI bill) and the subsequent postwar baby boom. Senior institutions recruited more academically able students and left community colleges to seek more students who were academically underprepared, dramatically increasing the need for comprehensive learning assistance centers and remedial or devel­opmental community college courses. An unanticipated result of this shift in the academic profile of students enrolled at senior institutions created a false perception that little need existed for learning assistance. The opposite occurred at four-year institutions as faculty perceived, wrongly, that new stu­dent admits were more academically able to master difficult course material (Hankin, 1996). The gap between student preparation and faculty expecta­tions required a different form of learning assistance, leading to the creation of noncredit learning assistance centers and the decline of remedial credit courses.

    New populations of nontraditional students joined traditional-aged stu­dents. Expanded federal financial aid through the GI bill and federal civil rights legislation that created compensatory programs such as TRIO fueled an increase in enrollments. The rapidly growing community colleges became the primary offerors of credit-bearing remedial and developmental courses. The core mission of two-year colleges often included providing services for students who had been identified as academically underprepared, but no cor­responding statement was made about serving these students in most public four-year colleges and universities. This lack of official institutional priority for serving students that were academically underprepared in one or more aca­demic content areas served as a catalyst for the shift in credit-bearing reme­dial and developmental offerings from four-year to two-year institutions. This shift contributed to the attachment of further stigma to remedial and devel­opmental courses.

    Before this shift occurred in the 1990s, however, many college academic preparatory services at four-year and two-year institutions had responded to the new influx of students by increasing the comprehensiveness of their learn­ing services (Boylan, 1988; Boylan, 1995a). In the mid-1970s, nearly 80 per­cent of all postsecondary institutions provided academic enrichment and support programs (Roueche and Snow, 1977). Although this rate was nearly the same as the late 1880s, services provided by these programs were more comprehensive, extensive, and coordinated than earlier ones.

    Almost half of first-time community college students in the late 1960s and 1970s were underprepared for college-level courses in one or more academic areas. Students often enrolled in one or more developmental courses (Roueche and Roueche, 1999; McCabe and Day, 1998). Although college-bound stu­dents in high school enrolled in college preparatory courses, they may have selected the wrong ones or the quality of them may have been insufficient for success in first-year, graduation-credit college courses (Horn, Chen, and MPR Associates, 1998). Frustration with the inability to predict student success cre­ated great frustration for all stakeholders involved in the academic enterprise: “The open door often turned into a revolving door, with students dropping out and stopping out regularly. This led to a highly charged debate about the lowering of standards, often followed by the call to raise admission standards and close the doors of opportunity to the thousands of prospective new stu­dents” (Casazza and Silverman, 1996, p. 28).

    Sometimes change occurs because of intentional choices and visionary lead­ership by a few individuals. Other times it occurs through reaction to the sur­rounding environment. Learning assistance during this phase changed because of the latter reason. A major variable that affected U.S. postsecondary educa­tion in the mid-1900s was rapid expansion of the student body and failure by many institutions to provide sufficient learning assistance services to support their academic success. As a major influx of new students came into college, the previous learning assistance activities were unable to meet the need. For example, only a fixed number of counseling appointments were available weekly, as few colleges were able or willing to hire more staff. The same was true for faculty teaching remedial courses. Newer, more flexible and scalable learning assistance systems were created. These new services employed student and paraprofessional staff along with the professional staff, prompting creation of new learning assistance approaches in the fifth phase of higher education history.

    Friday
    Apr082016

    Analysis of student performance in peer led undergraduate supplements

    Gardner, L. M. (2015). Analysis of student performance in peer led undergraduate supplements. (Ph.D. Dissertation), University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.  Retrieved from https://kuscholarworks.ku.edu/bitstream/handle/1808/19159/Gardner_ku_0099D_14264_DATA_1.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

    Foundations of Chemistry courses at the University of Kansas have traditionally accommodated  nearly 1,000 individual  students every year with a single course in a large lecture hall.  To develop  a more student-centered learning atmosphere, Peer Led Undergraduate Supplements (PLUS) were introduced  to  assist  students,  starting  in  the  spring  of  2010.    PLUS  was  derived  from the  more well-known Peer-Led  Team  Learning  with  modifications  to  meet  the  specific  needs  of  the university and the students.  The  yearlong  investigation  of  PLUS  Chemistry  began  in  the  fall  of  2012  to  allow  for adequate  development  of  materials  and  training  of  peer  leaders.    We  examined  the  impact  of academic achievement for students who attended PLUS sessions while controlling for high school GPA, math ACT scores, credit hours earned in high school, completion of calculus, gender, and those aspiring to bepharmacists (i.e., pre-pharmacy students).  In a least linear squares multiple regression,  PLUS  participants  performed  on  average  one  percent  higher  on  exam  scores  for Chemistry 184  and  four  tenths  of  a  percent  on  Chemistry  188  for  each  PLUS  session  attended. Pre-pharmacy  students  moderated  the  effect  of  PLUS  attendance  on  chemistry  achievement, ultimately negating any relative gain associated by attending PLUS sessions.  Evidence of gender difference was demonstrated in the Chemistry 188 model, indicating females experience a greater benefit from PLUS sessions.  Additionally,  an  item  analysis  studied  the  relationship  between  PLUS  material  to individual  items  on  exams.    The  research  discovered  that  students  who  attended  PLUS  session, answered  the  items correctly  10  to  20  percent  more  than  their  comparison  group  for  PLUS interrelated items and no difference to 10 percent for non-PLUS related items.   In summary, PLUS has a positive effect on exam performance in introductory chemistry courses at the University of Kansas.

    To download the complete annotated bibliography of more than 1,100 citations on postsecondary peer cooperative learning programs, click on the following link, http://z.umn.edu/peerbib

    Wednesday
    Apr062016

    Bridging the experiential learning gap: An evaluation of the impacts of Ulster University's Senior Student Tutoring Scheme on first year students. 

    Eaton, M. D. (2015). Bridging the experiential learning gap: An evaluation of the impacts of Ulster University's Senior Student Tutoring Scheme on first year students. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 12(2), article 6. Retrieved from http://ro.uow.edu.au/jutlp/vol12/iss2/6/

    Since 2004-05 first year students at the School of Environmental Sciences, Ulster University have engaged with senior student tutors (SSTs) in workshop activities aimed at preparations for their written examinations. Using a pedagogical action research methodology we 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.

    To download the complete annotated bibliography of more than 1,100 citations of postsecondary peer cooperative learning programs, click on the following link, http://z.umn.edu/peerbib

    Monday
    Apr042016

    History of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education: 1870s through Mid-1940s

    The following is an excerpt from my monograph, Access at the Crossroads.  Click on the box in the left column to learn more about it.  Too often the history of learning assistance and developmental education is misunderstood or ignored.  This is important for today's policy debates about access programs.

    The third phase of postsecondary education history began during the late 1800s and continued until World War II. The major activities during this era were expansion of tutoring and incorporation of remedial courses in the col­lege curriculum. Academic preparatory academies had been the temporary home for this curriculum earlier in the 1800s. The most frequent service con­tinued to be individual and group tutoring. White male students from privi­leged cultural and economic backgrounds still dominated college campuses. Women and students of color attended newly established institutions reserved for them. These institutions also embraced remedial courses.

    Relationship of the Federal Government and Learning Assistance

    The federal government increased direct involvement with postsecondary edu­cation during this time. The First Morrill Act (1862) established land-grant colleges, which was the federal government’s first significant financial involve­ment with postsecondary education. The mission of these new colleges fos­tered new degree programs in applied education such as agriculture and the mechanical arts. Established denominational private institutions had not pre­viously offered this curriculum. This action broadened the curriculum and increased access for students of modest academic preparation and lower socio­economic backgrounds.

    Although colleges offered wider access through the 1862 Morrill Act, aca­demic preparation of potential students remained uneven. Many new college students had not attended public high school, as few were in operation in the expanding West of the United States. The dramatic widening of access to post­secondary education accelerated development of academic departments that offered remedial courses and tutoring deemed essential for the new students. “Iowa State College simply required that entering freshman be fourteen years old and able to read, write, and do arithmetic. However, when they lacked these skills, students were placed in the college’s preparatory department” (Maxwell, 1997, p. 11). College enrollments soared and many of these new students enrolled in remedial courses. Offering remedial courses and other learning assistance services in a college department addressed many of the problems experienced by external academic preparatory academies such as lack of coordinated curriculum, poor teaching facilities, lack of proper adminis­trative control, and increased stigma for participating students. These prob­lems were the result of the very nature of these academies, as they were clearly separate and seen just as a prerequisite to the college experience.

    Remedial Education

    The need for academic preparatory departments increased with admission of more students that were academically underprepared. Eighty-four percent of land-grant institutions offered remedial courses by the late 1880s (Craig, 1997). The most frequent term used to describe learning assistance from the 1860s through the early 1960s was “remedial education.” Remedial education targeted students’ specific skill deficits and employed new educational approaches. Clowes (1980) applied an analogy of the traditional medical model for reme­dial education. Academic weakness was detected through assessment. The prob­lem was hoped to be cured through prescribed treatment. Clowes categorized students enrolled in remedial education as “academically backward or less able students” (p. 8). Repeated academic treatment persisted until students achieved the desired outcomes or “cures.” Students possessed many academic deficits needing prescriptive remediation. Remedial education focused on cognitive deficits and not on improvements in the affective domain. An early glossary developed by the College Reading and Learning Association defined remedial as “instruction designed to remove a student’s deficiencies in the basic entry or exit level skills at a prescribed level of proficiency in order to make him/her competitive with peers” (Rubin, 1991, p. 9). Remedial students were identi­fied as “students who are required to participate in specific academic improve­ment courses/programs as a condition of entry to college” (p. 9).

    Remedial education was a prerequisite to enrolling in college-level courses. Remedial courses focused on acquiring skills and knowledge at the secondary school level. Developmental courses, on the other hand, developed skills above the exit level from high school that were needed for success in college. These courses entered the college curriculum during the next historical phase.

    In 1879 Harvard admitted 50 percent of applicants “on condition” because they failed the entrance examination. Tutorial programs initially designed for success with college entrance exams were expanded to assist these provision­ally admitted students to succeed in their college courses (Weidner, 1990). The Harvard Reports of 1892, 1895, and 1897 documented poor academic prepa­ration of admitted students. University administrators were surprised to dis­cover that students who suffered academic difficulty were not only those from poor or nonexistent high school education. Instead, it was also the “picked boys” (Goodwin, 1895, p. 292), students from the upper class of U.S. society (Hill, 1885). Provision of tutoring and remedial credit courses demonstrated academic rigor at Harvard and exceeded the academic preparation level even for students with formal preparation for postsecondary education. The gap between academic preparation and college performance placed many of the elite students in need of learning assistance (Brier, 1984).

    Remedial Courses in the Curriculum

    By 1874 Harvard was first to offer a first-year remedial English course in response to faculty complaints that too many students lacked competency for formal writing activities. Harvard was the first institution that permitted elec­tive courses in response to changing needs of the curriculum. Without flexi­bility with course options, remedial courses would have been available only as a precollege option. Academic conditions remained unchanged at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Columbia by 1907 when half the students failed to earn the minimum composite entrance exam score. Harvard offered a remedial reading course beginning in the early 1900s (Brubacher and Rudy, 1976).

    One of the earliest manifestations of college-level learning assistance was the remedial course. The most frequent remedial courses were reading and study skills. More than 350 colleges in 1909 offered “how to study” classes for academically underprepared students. The U.S. Commissioner for Education reported in 1913 that approximately 80 percent of postsecondary institutions offered college preparatory programs with a wide variety of services, includ­ing tutoring and remedial courses (Maxwell, 1979). This rate was nearly the same as the mid-1800s. Sensitive to perceptions by students, professors, and others, many colleges began to redefine remedial activities to make them more acceptable by students and campus administrators. When the director of Har­vard’s Bureau of Study Counsel renamed Remedial Reading to the Reading Class, enrollment increased from thirty to four hundred annually in 1938 (Wyatt, 1992). Through the introduction of the first developmental course, provision of noncredit academic support, and careful use of language to describe its services and course offerings, the learning assistance field owes much to the leadership and innovations of Harvard University.

    Junior colleges (later renamed community colleges) extended the new sec­ondary school movement in the early 1900s. Among the broad mission of many junior colleges was college academic preparation. An analogy for this focus on serving academically underprepared students is calling them “the Ellis Island of higher education” (Vaughan, 1983, p. 9). Many four-year institu­tions transferred their academic preparatory programs to junior colleges in the early 1900s. As described earlier, standardized admissions test scores permit­ted colleges to refer students to different types of institutions that maintained varying levels of admission selectivity. As four-year institutions received more state and federal appropriations, the institutional financial profile improved. The need to admit high numbers of students who needed academic help to generate tuition revenue and meet institutional expenses lessened (Richard­son, Martens, and Fisk, 1981).

    A national survey in 1929 of institutions revealed about one-fourth of sur­vey respondents confirmed that their college assessed reading with the admis­sion examination. Nearly half of all students were enrolled in remedial courses (Parr, 1930). These courses often focused heavily on reading skills. Nearly 90 percent of respondents stated they had not conducted research studies regard­ing the effectiveness of their learning assistance program (Parr, 1930). Soci­etal changes in the middle of the twentieth century required a major expansion of learning assistance to meet a rapidly growing student body—growing in its diversity and level of academic preparation for college-level work.

    to be continued. . .

    Friday
    Apr012016

    Peer-Led Team Learning helps minority students succeed

    Snyder, J. J., Sloane, J. D., Dunk, R. D. P., & Wiles, J. R. (2016). Peer-Led Team Learning helps minority students succeed. PLOS Biology, 14(3). doi: doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002398. Retrieved from http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1002398

    Active learning methods have been shown to be superior to traditional lecture in terms of student achievement, and our findings on the use of Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) concur. Students in our introductory biology course performed significantly better if they engaged in PLTL. There was also a drastic reduction in the failure rate for underrepresented minority (URM) students with PLTL, which further resulted in closing the achievement gap between URM and non-URM students. With such compelling findings, we strongly encourage the adoption of Peer-Led Team Learning in undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses.

    The entire annotated bibliography of more than 1,100 citations concerning postsecondary peer cooperative learning programs can be downloaded by clicking the following link, http://z.umn.edu/peerbib