BOX 7-6

Review of Literature on Student Support

Tutoring. Tutoring has been shown to be effective in increasing student persistence, positive attitudes toward subjects, and student performance (Carman, 1975; Gahan-Rech, Stephens, and Buchalter, 1989). No differences in achievement outcomes have been found for peer tutoring versus staff tutoring (Moust and Schmidt, 1994). Benefits of tutoring have been established not only for those receiving tutoring, but also for the tutors themselves (Bargh and Schul, 1980; Good, Halpin, and Halpin, 1998).

Peer Study Groups. Peer study groups are a fundamental component of several successful programs to increase the achievement and retention of underrepresented minorities in STEM. Program evaluation results of both the Mathematics Workshop Program (MWP) and replication programs have shown that workshop participants who work in peer study groups are more likely to persist in SME, graduate, and earn high grades in the study subject (Alexander, Burda, and Millar, 1997; Bonsangue and Drew, 1995; Fullilove and Treisman, 1990; Moreno and Muller, 1999; Murphy, Stafford, and McCreary, 1998; Treisman 1992). A meta-analysis of the effects of small-group learning on undergraduate STEM students found that various forms of small-group learning are effective in increasing academic achievement, persistence in STEM, and developing more favorable attitudes toward learning (Springer, Stanne, and Donovan, 1999).

Skills-Building Seminars. The effectiveness of seminars and workshops to build study skills, test-taking strategies, time management, and other skills that are useful to college success has been rarely studied (Gándara, 1999), although limited evidence that they are effective has been found (Novels and Ender, 1988).

Learning Centers. There is not much research on the effects of learning centers, but observations linking their presence on campus to student learning have been documented (Holton and Horton, 1996).

Academic Advising and Mentoring There have been several studies of academic advising as a strategy used in retention programs. Of these, some studies have established their positive effect on student retention or satisfaction with their institutions (Backhus, 1989; Forrest, cited in Pascarella and Terenzini, 1991; Lowe and Toney, 2001; Trippi and Cheatham, 1991). Although mentoring has become an important element of most intervention programs for underrepresented minorities, research evidence on its effectiveness continues to be mostly qualitative. What evidence does exist, however, suggests that for minority students, mentoring results in such positive outcomes as higher GPAs, lower attrition, increased self-efficacy, and better defined academic goals (Santos and Reigadas, 2002; Schwitzer and Thomas, 1998; Thile and Matt, 1995). Mentoring has been said to facilitate students’ academic and social integration (Redmond, 1990).

SOURCE: B.C. Clewel, et al. 2006. Final Report of the Evaluation of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Progress Program, pp. 38-39.

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