Increasing Students’ Academic Success Through Research-Based Program Development, Im


Supplemental Instruction as a Success



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Supplemental Instruction as a Successful Academic Support Option
UCSC attaches supplemental instruction to approximately 112 course sections each academic year, an average of 37 courses each quarter. In general, attendance at these sessions is voluntary, but occasionally professors offer students incentives for participating in supplemental instruction on a weekly basis. Based on historic issues

when UCSC first began its supplemental instruction, it was given the name of Modified

Supplemental Instruction (MSI).
Table 5 MSI Utilization Data and Pass Rates of Students who Used MSI

Academic

Year

# Courses

Sections

# MSI Students


Total # students in class


Percentage of MSI usage



% of Classes Where Students

Using MSI had a Higher Pass Rate Than Students Who did not use MSI



2007-08

113

5,475

19,546

28%

76%

2008-09

122

6,041

21,399

28%

75%

2009-10

101

4,831

20,306

24%

76%

Over the past 3 years, an average of 27%, just over one-quarter of the UCSC students enrolled in MSI supported classes took advantage of the supplemental instruction groups. On average, the students who did use MSI passed their classes at a higher rate than the students who chose not to participate in the program in 75% of the MSI supported

classes.
Although this MSI pass rate data is encouraging, Learning Support Services needs to extend our research efforts to investigate the relationship between MSI utilization and students’ academic success using the correlation between MSI attendance and course grade data. As the Economics major at UCSC has very strict admission policies requiring a 2.8 combined GPA in Economics 1(Introductory Microeconomics) and Economics 2 (Introductory Macroeconomics), and strict major disqualification policies related to failure in Economics 11A (Mathematical Methods for Economists I), Economics 11B (Mathematical Methods for Economists I), Economics 100A (Intermediate Microeconomics) and Economics 100B (Intermediate Macroeconomics), we began our MSI/course grade correlation investigations using Economics classes.
Table 6 Achievement Data for Students Taking Economics Classes and Their MSI Utilization for Academic Years 2007-2008, 2008-2009 & 2009-2010




Economics Class

1

(B- or above)



2

(B- or above)



11A (Pass)

11B (Pass)

100A (Pass)

100B (Pass)

No MSI

(N grade, N total)



65%

(2041,


3140)

62%

(1749,


2813)


73%

(371, 511)




83%

(468, 566)




86%

(757,876)




93%

(717,769)



MSI 4 or

fewer sessions

(N grade, N total)


63%
(235, 371)

64%
(356, 557)

81%
(248,306)

88%
(248, 282)

91%
(521,571)

97%
(427, 441)

MSI > 4 sessions

(N grade, N total)



73%

(48, 66)


74%

(76, 103)



88%

(210,239)



93%

(264, 285)



96%

(158,165)



100%

(201,201)





As Table 6 indicates, students who attended MSI for Economics 1 and Economics 2 more than 4 times during the quarter were more likely to earn a B-grade than students who did not attend MSI more than 4 times. Additionally, in Economics 11A, 11B, 100A and

100B, students who attended MSI more than 4 times were more likely to pass the class. This data begins to indicate that participating in supplemental instruction on a regular basis contributes positively to students’ academic achievement. This is important, as we continually strive to convince professors to more frequently and forcefully recommend MSI attendance and/or build MSI attendance into their courses as a means for students to raise a poor homework evaluation, earn a small grade boost to mitigate an exam melt- down, etc.
In a small way Table 7 addresses the proverbially unanswerable question, does participation in tutoring and supplemental instruction actually contribute to student retention. In comparing the persistence of non-EOP students and EOP students, we discovered that participation in the Learning Support Services tutoring and supplemental instruction programs did seem to increase students’ persistence.
Table 7 Fall 2005 Cohort LSS Utilization Since Fall 2007

Present

Fall 2007






Used LSS Fall 2007-

Fall 2009


Non-EOP

Did not persist

30%




Persisted/degree


33%










EOP

Did not persist

39%




Persisted/degree


51%

Certainly, in these difficult economic times as budgets for academic support services programs are necessarily being reduced, this research data may be useful. Yet, we still need to look more closely and critically at the correlation of participation in Learning Support Services sponsored programs, student retention, and student academic achievement. How do we convince more than 25% of our students to commit to supplemental instruction, and to attend on a weekly, not a hap-hazard basis?
LALS 100A, an Example of Succeeding in Offering Educational Equity
Several years ago Professor Jonathan Fox, Writing Lecturer Dan Scripture and Learning Support Services Director Holly Cordova investigated the relationship between students’ academic backgrounds and their demonstrated writing ability in two Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) classes LALS 100A (Politics and Society) and LALS 100B (Culture and Society). In order to develop a profile of more and less successful students in these classes, we categorized students by their cumulative GPA ranges using several different markers including area of academic major, students’ ELWR history, ethnicity, EOP status, transfer versus native student status, and likely native language other than

English. These data reveal concerns as to educational equity. Students who entered UCSC not having satisfied the Entry Level Writing Requirement, having EOP status, and having a native language other than English (in this case, usually Spanish), had cumulative GPAs and earned grades in upper division LALS courses lower than their more privileged peers. These data supported our belief that many students seem to require continual instructional guidance as they address the challenges of upper division, content-specific, academic writing tasks. Therefore, we agreed to plan and implement a writing-intensive support program integrated into upper-division LALS classes. The course that we selected to focus on is LALS 100A, as it is a major requirement, has a specific focus on teaching analysis of research studies, and asks students to write 3 analytic essays and a take-home final examination including a brief research proposal.


The academic support model that we use involves offering students the choice to enroll in a two-unit writing support component embedded into the course. Students who choose to enroll in this writing support are required to meet with an undergraduate Writing

Assistant each week in groups of approximately ten students and to produce drafts and rewrites of their course-assigned papers. For each of the three major writing assignments in the class, students are required to produce a complete rough draft to be submitted to their Writing Assistant, a revision of the draft to be turned into their Teaching Assistant for feedback and grading and a rewritten revision of the graded paper to be given to their Writing Assistant. Therefore, students produced 9 rather than 3 papers for submission.


The following two tables compare the performance of the students who chose to enroll in the two-unit writing assistance program with the students who did not make this choice. Table 8 focuses on the positive effects of this support model on EOP students using the

2010 LALS 100A course as a snapshot of this comparison. Table 9 illustrates the increasing student interest in this writing support model and the educational equity that it seems to be producing. It is important to note that during the last three years of the program, EOP students comprised the majority of the students that participated in the 2 unit writing support option (2009- 61% EOP, 2010- 80% EOP, 2011-65% EOP). Each year more students enroll in the course option with the writing support, and each year the academic performance of the two groups, those with and without the additional writing support become more similar.


Table 8 Winter 2010 Percent of EOP and Non-EOP Students with As and Bs in LALS

100A with 2 Unit Writing Support and Without Writing Support





LALS 100A With Writing Support

LALS 100A Without Writing Support

N (As & Bs)

N (Total)

% A & B

N (As and Bs)

N (Total)

% A & B

Non-EOP

9

13

69%

10

15

67%

EOP

39

51

76%

8

14

57%

Total

48

64

75%

18

29

62%



Table 9 Grade Distribution of LALS 100A Students with 2 Unit Writing Support and



Without Writing Support Winter 2009, Winter 2010 &Winter 2011




LALS 100A With Writing Support

LALS 100A Without Writing Support

A

36%

32%

B

47%

45%

C

9%

15%

D/F

7%

5%

other

(P,W,I)


1%

4%


Total

183

123

We used an in-class self-evaluation process to encourage students to assess their demonstrated writing competence and confidence and to decide whether to participate in the course option including the 2 unit writing support. We hope and assume that many of the students who chose to enroll in the writing support program felt that they needed assistance to become more successful writers. If our supposition that students who most needed writing assistance chose to enroll in the two-unit writing support program

attached to LALS 100A is valid, then the writing-intensive support produced positive results. The grade data indicates that the LALS 100A attached writing support model has equalized the grade outcomes for EOP and non-EOP students when the EOP students have chosen to enroll in the course-embedded writing support.
As of fall, 2010, as part of the new General Education Requirements approved by the UCSC academic senate, LALS 100A has become one of the courses required to fulfill the Disciplinary Communication requirement. Disciplinary Communication is an upper- division writing requirement in each academic major.
Final Comments
Learning Support Services at UCSC remains committed to using careful research studies of students’ academic achievement trends to inform our practices. Based on data that continue to support our contention that participation in our programs does increase students’ academic achievement and does increase the opportunities for initially educationally underprepared students to maximize their likelihood of attaining academic excellence, we have begun to use a case management approach for entering EOP students and EOP students in academic difficulty wherein we provide these students with individual Academic Success Plans each quarter. Based on their previous high school

and UCSC academic histories, we require participation in appropriate academic support activities for each of their courses each quarter. For example, we might require twice-a- week section enrollment for Math 3, individual tutoring for Writing 20, and weekly attendance at MSI for Chemistry 1A. Additionally, we use our data to encourage academic departments and individual professors to integrate supplemental instruction, group tutoring, or a combination of multiple academic support options into their course syllabi. And, perhaps of primary importance, we rely on our data to keep us informed, honest, and innovative. When the data confirms evidence of our success, we can use it to



justify budgetary decisions, and, as also happens, when our data illustrates our need to rethink our programmatic decisions, we must respond to its compelling evidence of a need for improvement. Continual research allows us to make data-driven decisions, thus using our limited resources in the best interests of our students.







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