Offering supplemental peer tutoring at Georgia State University to address high DFW rates in difficult courses
How might we use supplemental instruction from peers to improve outcomes in high DFW courses?
The university began offering supplemental instruction in the form of peer tutoring to address high DFW rates in traditionally challenging courses. Peer instructors are current GSU students who excelled in those courses, selected to attend and prepare activity-based sessions for each lecture in order to reinforce the materials and content.
Supplemental instruction from peers is a low-cost, high-impact way to support student success while also employing current students. The program at GSU has expanded as it continues to show positive outcomes:
- In 2013, 9,700 students participated in supplemental instruction
- In 2016, there were more than 12x the number of SI leaders as there were when first piloted in 2005 (100 in Spring 2016 vs. 8 in Spring 2005)
The program has also shown positive GPA and retention impact:
- Students attending 5 or more SI sessions earned a 3.15 average GPA in courses vs. 2.75 for students who did not attend
- Students attending 3 or more SI sessions had a 91% one-year retention rate vs. 84% for first year students overall
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