New peer program making the grade at Alvernia


In its recent national College Readiness study, ACT reported that "far too many students are graduating from high school ill-prepared for the academic rigors of college and career." In fact, only 25% of ACT-tested high school graduates met all four College Readiness Benchmarks (English, Reading, Mathematics, and Science), and an even higher percentage of students — 28% — did not meet a single benchmark.

And because certain colleges courses are historically difficult for even the best and brightest students, Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a new, peer-assisted academic support program at Alvernia University designed to help students do better in difficult courses that are often required for advancement. Participation is entirely volunteer and open to all students taking a targeted course, regardless of skill level.

Select students who have earned an “A” in key courses, such as Anatomy and Physiology, are assigned to sit-in on the course a second time as a SI Student Leader. These student leaders plan and facilitate up to three informal study sessions each week for peers enrolled in the course.

"Because they are attending classes, SI Student Leaders are better able to connect with peers and plan study sessions based on the material that is currently being covered," said Academic Learning Specialist Megan King. "Instead of targeting high-risk students, this initiative targets high-risk courses that are historically difficult for all students.”

While Alvernia students are able to take advantage of more formal one-on-one tutoring sessions in the university’s Learning Center, these peer study sessions offer an informal, interactive setting in which students can compare notes, discuss readings and classwork, as well as study for tests.

Visit Alvernia’s Learning Center for more information about skill-based workshops, tutoring or advising help, and the SI program.

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