Tutoring Assessment

 

The CTLE Tutoring Program directs all tutoring activity towards creating an environment that encourages and supports student learning and development. The goal is for students to become self-regulated learners.

Background

The number of tutoring requests has increased an average of 6.4% each year since record-keeping started ten years ago (at which time there were 1390 tutoring requests).

To maintain a high level of support for the University of Scranton students requesting tutoring, the CTLE has increased the number of student tutors it hires: from 75 tutors 10 years ago to 275 tutors during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Historically, Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics have been the subjects that demanded the most tutoring requests over the years (in excess of 50%).  The CTLE sought close collaboration with these departments to recruit qualified tutors and to have a faculty liaison provide support for the tutoring process.

Students expect peer tutoring in all subject matters, but in some cases, when demand is higher than available tutors, the CTLE has group tutoring available.  Group tutoring is setup as a weekly meeting (in the same classroom and on the same date/time) when students can come and receive support from a tutor in a given subject.  The calendar of group tutoring is advertised extensively by the CTLE in print and via electronic signage.

It is important to note that, in many cases, students request tutoring in more than one subject matter.  As such, the tutoring requests exceed the number of distinct students who request tutoring.

Demand

Below is the graphical representation of the number of tutoring requests since the 2010-2011 academic year.  The graph combines the fall and spring requests.

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For comparison purposes, here is the graph of the distinct number of students who requested tutoring during the last few fall semesters.

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The number of students requesting tutoring for each of the last three years has seen a more than 25% increase over five years ago. In the most recent fall semester, 24.5% of undergraduates (946 out of 3864) requested tutoring.

Surveys

The tutoring services provided by the CTLE are assessed every fall and spring semester.  Hearing directly from the students is the best way to know what we do well and what needs to be improved.  The surveys used for the tutoring services have been the same for the last several years, making a semester-to-semester comparison useful and direct.  To that end, a look across multiple academic years, made easier by the use of the same instrument, is instructive and a good measure of the effectiveness of our efforts.

The complexity of the tutoring services, given the large number of students and tutors, made the CTLE create two separate surveys.  One survey deals exclusively with the applications process to request a tutor, while the other centers on the effectiveness of the tutoring received from direct contact between student and tutor.

The survey results are available in pdf format:

What the Students Are Saying

The Tutoring Application Process

The highlights below go back to the Spring 2010 Semester.

  • At least 75% of students are “Very Satisfied” or “Satisfied” with the online application form
  • At least 73% of students will apply for a tutor in a future semester
  • At least 67% of students are “Very Satisfied” or “Satisfied” with the process of being assigned a tutor

The response rate has been low, with the highest reaching 14.5% in Fall 2014 (141 respondents out of 975 requestors).

Tutor Evaluation

The highlights below go back to the Spring 2010 Semester

 

At least 90% of students “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” with the statement: “I would recommend these services to a friend” At least 89% of students “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” they are satisfied with tutoring

  • At least 85% of students indicated their tutor(s) had an “Excellent” or “Good” understanding of the subject matter
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  •  At least 83% of students “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” they are more satisfied with college experience as a result of using tutoring
  • At least 82% of students indicated tutoring helped them improve the final course grade by ½ letter grade
  • At least 82% of students “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” participating in tutoring improved their overall academic skills
  • At least 81% of students “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” they are more satisfied with their college experience as a result of using tutoring
  •  At least 79% of students chose “Excellent” or “Good” for their tutor(s) effectiveness in enhancing their learning

 

The quotes below represent a widely expressed sentiment among the students who benefited from the tutoring services:

“My tutors were fantastic. They really enhanced my knowledge of the subjects and helped me to see the underlying concepts. I am extremely thankful for peer tutors.” – Biology tutee

Alex was awesome, he always made sure that I was prepared for my tests and that I understood all of the problems with my homework. He met with me several times on short notice and was happy to do so. Thank you.” – Chemistry tutee

I don't know what I would have done without Stephanie. She truly cared about my success in the class and I am so grateful for her! She is going to be the greatest teacher.” – Math tutee

Feedback Received and Changes Made

 

Not every student was content with tutoring, either during the application process or tutoring experience. The CTLE paid close attention to the comments and continually adjusted both how we communicated with students between the time we received their tutoring application and assignment of a tutor and the tutor selection and training process.

 

As one survey deals exclusively with the applications process to request a tutor and the other centers on the effectiveness of the tutoring received from direct contact between student and tutor, the students’ comments are separated by survey.

 

Tutoring Application Process Comment Themes:

  • It takes too long to receive a tutor
  • Communication during tutor assignment is poor
  • There is a need of more tutors in math, physics, and accounting
  • Tutors and tutees should be matched not just by subject matter but also by instructor

 

In response to these observations, the CTLE has partnered with key academic departments (Accounting, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Finance, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, OIM, Sociology, and Theology) who assigned faculty liaisons to help with tutor recruitment. Last year, faculty liaisons participated in the tutor training sessions, while this year several departments met with their tutors outside of the CTLE training.

 

To increase communication and transparency, the CTLE now reaches out by email to students who requested a tutor but had not been paired with one in more than 3 days.

 

To accommodate higher demands for tutors in certain disciplines when one-on-one tutoring is not available, group tutoring sessions are created. Those sessions are conducted by an experience tutor, are available weekly at an announced and publicized time and location. We have made an extra effort to locate classrooms in the same building as the subject of the tutoring sessions.

 

It has always been the goal of the CTLE to match tutors and tutees not just by subject matter but also by instructor, but it has proved a challenging endeavor. The CTLE hired 152 tutors in fall 2010, with that number increasing to 300 in fall 2017. During the 2010-2011 academic year, there were 1785 tutoring requests. This semester (fall 2017) alone has seen the number of requests climb to 1600. By the end of the semester, the CTLE will have accommodated more tutoring requests than in the entire 2010-2017 academic year.

 

Tutor Evaluation Comment Themes:

  • The tutors need better training
  • Tutors should behave in professional manner

 

The CTLE has implemented online tutor training for new and returning tutors and has the support and collaboration of academic departments through faculty liaisons.

 

The CTLE contacts tutees by email every 2-3 weeks to make sure the tutoring sessions happen on a regular basis. The emails serve as a check to avoid missed appointments or insufficient communication between tutor and tutee.