UW-Platteville’s Peer-Assisted Learning program offers assistance

September 30, 2013
Peer-Assisted Learning Program

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Peer-Assisted Learning program, administered by University Tutoring Services, is designed to administer support to students seeking help in select courses across the curriculum.

“It’s all about providing that supplemental academic assistance to students,” said Tami Boebel, University Tutoring Services coordinator. “We also encourage the students to utilize all their options, such as Student Support Services or the Math Learning Center.” By using their resources, students discover new learning strategies, reinforce their understanding of lessons taught in class and in textbooks, and increase their own learning independence.

The typical PAL program combines the idea of peer tutoring with the traditional structure of classroom instruction. It also directly correlates with the atmosphere of the classroom because assistance is available to students both inside and outside of the class, unlike conventional one-on-one tutoring.

Professors who incorporate the PAL program into their classrooms select students who have previously excelled in the course to be hired as peer-assisted leaders. In addition to attending lectures, discussions, and/or labs, most PALs hold office hours where they provide extra assistance to students.

“There’s flexibility in the program,” said program assistant Brianna Jentz. “Students are not restricted to only seeing the PAL in their specific class, they can go see any of the PALs in the entire program.”

PALs also participate in bi-monthly training modules that explore tutoring strategies for both group and one-to-one sessions. Many PALs create group review sessions before exams and talk about good note taking strategies with students.

Currently, the program has 63 PALs in place, covering an array of classes—from Chemistry for Engineers to World Civilizations II.

The program is completely voluntary, making it the responsibility of the student to seek help. Research shows overall improvement in student grades when they attend PAL sessions on a regular basis. “Based on our survey from last year, most of the students who took the survey got help from the peer-assisted leader to improve their grade or maintain their grade,” said Jentz.

Contact: Evelyn Martens, Writing and Tutoring Resources, (608) 342-1615, martense@uwplatt.edu

Written by: Carly Willman, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, willmanc@uwplatt.edu


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