This year, the University of Nevada, Reno's Nevada Peer Assisted Study Sessions, a program of the Tutoring Center, received its Supplemental Instruction certification from the International Center for Supplemental Instruction at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, making it one of only thirty-eight tutoring centers in the country to do earn the distinction.
Utilizing the SI model, Nevada PASS is a nationally recognized program that provides assistance in some of the more difficult classes on campus. Beginning in the 2007 summer semester as a small, pilot program focused on one remedial noncredit-bearing math course, the program quickly showed promising results, expanding during the 2007 fall semester to eight credit-bearing courses. From this limited launch, the Nevada PASS program at the University has grown to support 16 different courses with 27 sections during the 2018 Fall semester.
Reliant on a model student who has recently completed a course to attend the course a second time and lead peer-facilitated study sessions over the course content, SI programs aim to help students learn and achieve the grades they want through collaboration and creative problem solving.
"The Nevada PASS program connects students with their peers," Tutoring Specialist Chris Chadwick, supervisor to the Nevada PASS program, said. "Leaders help guide students through challenging courses because they have been in the exact same spot."
According to the International Center for Supplemental Instruction at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, since 1973, the data supporting the effectiveness of this model has remained consistent; on average, students who regularly attend SI sessions earn between a half and a full letter grade higher than students who do not attend SI. The Nevada PASS program shows the same success rate among its students as the International Center.
"PASS leaders create engaging sessions to connect ‘how-to-learn' material with ‘what-to-learn', this can be specific course content, what campus resources are available, and even how to talk to professors," Chadwick said. "It's really important to us to ensure the effectiveness of our program and earning this certification validated our efforts."
The certification initiative sets out key components of SI that programs across the United States must be doing in order to qualify to be a certified SI program. Certification is granted on a three-year basis, making it valid until 2022.
As a participating program, the University's Tutoring Center was evaluated on its ability to complete the necessary requirements. These included, ensuring a current staff member at the institution had received training from the International Center in the last five years; providing intensive training both at the beginning of the semester and throughout the semester for SI Leaders; observation of SI Leaders planning sessions and providing constructive feedback for SI Leaders; as well as ensuring that SI Leaders attend class sessions and uphold GPA and attendance requirements.
The University Tutoring Center will continue to encourage students' success through thoughtful encouragement, engaging assistance and creative problem solving. Motivating students to use the resources they need to be successful, the Tutoring Center offers an array of tutoring options, including walk-in labs, one-on-one appointments, weekly group appointments and Nevada PASS sessions. Currently, the Tutoring Center holds 92 weekly Nevada PASS sessions for more than 15 courses in an array of academic disciplines with 20+ student Nevada PASS leaders.
Learn more about the Nevada PASS program and view a complete listing of available PASS sessions.