Document Type


Publication Date



Scholarship in the field of learning support posits students struggling with historically rigorous courses in mathematics and science, experience high attrition rates. Scholarship further posits that students seeking peer-tutoring in mathematics and science courses who use peer-tutoring at a minimum of three to five times in a semester, can hope for a letter grade improvement (AbdulRaheem, Yusuf, & Odutayo, 2017; Marx, Wolf, & Howard, 2016). Peer-tutoring at Tutorial Services (TS) is theoretically grounded on four learning theories, Behavioral Learning Theory, Cognizant Learning Theory, Social-Constructivist Theory, and Critical Thinking Skills Theory. A fifth theory, Schlossberg’s Adult Transition Theory, provides the avenue for direct application of theory to practice in peer-tutoring sessions. This study focused on the effectiveness of peer-tutoring at TS for the following courses, Biology 110, Chemistry 103, Chemistry 111, Math 124, and Math 131. Three sets of data were analyzed to determine for any statistically significant difference between (treatment) students utilizing peer-tutoring while enrolled for the first-time in a course listed above, compared to students enrolled for the first-time in the same course, who did not use TS peer-tutoring, measured through end-of-semester final grades. A secondary analysis was conducted to determine for statistically significant differences between frequency-of-use of TS peer-tutoring and end-of-semester grades for students using peer-tutoring. This study utilized a causal-comparative, between-subjects design to examine end-of-semester grades of the treatment and comparison groups. To obtain an adequate sample size, data across seven semesters (Spring 2018-Spring 2021), Academic Year (AY) 2019-2020, and AY 2020-2021, were aggregated for each group. A stratified randomized matching procedure was used to ensure the treatment and comparison groups for each data set had equal representation regarding semester, course, race/ethnicity, gender, and classification. Mann-Whitney U test was the appropriate analysis approach due to varying sample sizes and having an ordinal outcome variable (Field, 2013). Results found statistically significant differences for the larger data set (Spring 2018-Spring2021), and statistically significant differences for some courses in AY 2019-2020 and AY 2020-2021. Spearman’s rho was used to measure the frequency of tutoring visits and end-of-semester grades within the treatment group. The relationship between these two variables was not statistically significant, however, 89% of students using peer-tutoring at least once, earned a letter grade of A or B, more times than students not using peer-tutoring. Findings from this study yielded higher results in academic success for students attending peer-tutoring sessions, exceeding historical and current scholarship on peer-tutoring, and outperforming students in comparison group designation with higher letter grades of A’s and B’s for all five courses examined in this study. Future studies examining TS peer-tutoring will be conducted to determine if success trends continue. A study examining the same relationship for supplemental instruction services provided by TS is currently in progress.


2021-2022 Assessment Mini-Grant