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					TEXAS A&M STUDENT LEARNING CENTER



             Annual Report



               2007-2008




   Helping Students Learn How to Learn
                                  TEXAS A&M STUDENT LEARNING CENTER
                                             Executive Summary
                                                 2007 – 2008
                                     Helping Students Learn How to Learn

Mission                                                        than those who choose not to participate, countering the
                                                               argument that only better prepared students participate in
The mission of the Student Learning Center (SLC) is to         SI group study sessions.
support and strengthen the academic experience of
students at Texas A&M University by providing a variety of     The tutorial services offered by the SLC include Drop-In-
programs and services that promote retention and               Tutoring (DIT) and Tutor Zones (TZ). DIT is designed to
academic success. Combined participation in the SLC            meet the student’s immediate need for assistance in lower
programs and services during the 2007-2008 academic            level math and science courses. The program is certified
year was approximately 19,000 students.                        by the College Reading and Learning Association.
                                                               Undergraduate peer tutors work with students to identify
SLC Wins National Learning Center Award                        problem areas, provide feedback, share study skills, and
                                                               help students become independent learners. Over the past
The highlight of the 2007-08 academic year was the             year, DIT offered assistance during evening tutoring
announcement that the Student Learning Center (SLC) was        sessions for over 40 courses in 10 different subject areas.
chosen to receive the Frank L. Christ Outstanding Learning     Capitalizing on the fact that students regularly migrate to
Center Award for 2008 which will be presented in October,      certain areas of campus to study, Tutor Zones (TZ) were
2008 at the National College Learning Center Association       begun in the fall of 2006. Currently employed SI leaders
annual conference in Memphis, Tennessee.                       and DIT tutors conduct tutoring sessions in the MSC and
                                                               Studio 12. Tutoring in Studio 12 was funded by the Office
Programs                                                       of the Vice President for Student Affairs and the
                                                               Department of Residence Life.
Three credit-bearing courses enrolled a total of 1,796
students in 2007-2008. STLC 101: Application of Learning       The Independent Study Lab (ISL) is the university-
Theories to College Studies is the university’s designated     designated home of the Texas Success Initiative, an
learning framework course. The two-credit hour course          academic program mandated by the Texas Higher
targets primarily first-year students and focuses on helping   Education Coordinating Board (THECB). The ISL identifies
them develop an understanding of both the theoretical and      entering students academically under prepared for college-
the practical application of learning theory. Several          level courses by providing instruction in reading, writing,
sections of STLC 101 were targeted for students enrolled in    and/or math. While a major focus of the ISL instruction is
the Aggie Access Learning Community and first generation       test preparation, the mission of the program is to help
students who received the Regents’ Scholarship. STLC           develop each student fully as an independent learner.
102: Career Awareness is a two-credit hour course which        Study skills, test-taking strategies, note-taking, reading
covers topics ranging from career assessment and               efficiency strategies, time-management, and goal-setting
research to practical skills such as resume writing and        are but a few of the topics presented to ISL students.
interviewing. STLC 289 courses are Special Topics
courses. During the 2007-2008 academic year, the SLC           The Center’s outreach activities through workshops and
offered one STLC 289 course, a Freshman Seminar                invited presentations conducted both locally and at regional
targeted toward members of the Corps of Cadets.                and national conferences address learning strategies,
                                                               transition to the academic environment at Texas A&M,
Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a nationally recognized       graduate exam preparation, and other academic-focused
program aimed at increasing student retention and              topics.
improving student performance. The SI program features
group study sessions facilitated by undergraduate students        TAMU Student Learning Center Program Participants
who have taken a targeted course and have been trained in
                                                                Programs                                             2007-2008
proactive learning strategies. The student leaders conduct
study sessions three times a week throughout the                Credit-Bearing Courses                                           1,796
semester. During the 2007-2008 academic year, 25,726            Supplemental Instruction                                         9,775
students had access to SI and 9,775 (38 percent)                Tutorial Services                                                2,022
participated by attending at least one group study session.
                                                                Invited Presentations                                            5,054
The total SI leader/student contact hours during the 2007-
2008 academic year was 34,788. Students who participate         Texas Success Initiative                                           300
in SI consistently have lower SAT math and verbal scores        Total                                                       18,947



          TEXAS A&M STUDENT LEARNING CENTER                                   DR. KARON MATHEWS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
                                                                              Student Learning Center, 118 Hotard Hall
                                                                                979.845.2724   kmathews@tamu.edu
                                  TEXAS A&M STUDENT LEARNING CENTER
                                          Credit-bearing Courses
                                                        2007-2008


Program Description                                            The first measure tracks retention and grade point
The Student Learning Center offers three credit-bearing        averages of students who successfully complete the
courses. These courses are primarily taught by SLC             course and compares that to success rates for
faculty, but in some cases are taught by adjunct               comparable students who did not enroll in take the
instructors from other campus departments on campus            course. For the assessment, students are assigned to
or graduate assistant teachers.                                risk groups based on their SAT scores and high school
                                                               ranks. Table 2 shows a comparison of first year
STLC 101: Application of Learning Theories to College          retention rates for students in the 2006 fall cohort
Studies is the university’s designated learning                according to the assigned risk category. Table 3
framework course. Targeted primarily toward first year         compares predicted versus actual gpr for high risk
students, the course focuses on helping students               students. The data show that STLC 101 is an effective
develop an understanding of both the theoretical and           course particularly for students who are most at risk.
practical application of learning theory. STLC 102:
Career Awareness is a two-credit hour course which             Table 2: 1st Year Retention – 2006 Cohort
covers topics ranging from career assessment and                Risk Group        STLC 101        All Others
research to practical skills such as resume writing and            High             91.1%           88.2%
interviewing. STLC 289 courses are Special Topics                                  (n=470)         (n=1756)
courses. During the 2007-2008 academic year the SLC              Moderate           92.7%           90.7%
offered one 289 course, a Freshman Seminar targeted                                (n=233)         (n=2005)
toward members of the Corps of Cadets. In addition, in              Low             93.3%           94.9%
a cooperative effort with the Evans Library, a new                                  (n=75)         (n=2156)
course, Information, Research, and Critical Thinking,
was developed. This course will be offered in the fall of      Table 3: 1st Year GPR (High Risk Students)
2008.                                                          Comparison Predicted         Actual    Percent
                                                                 Group           GPR         GPR         Diff.
In addition to general student enrollment, many                 STLC 101          2.39       2.57      + 3.1%
students enrolled in STLC 101 during the fall semester           Others           2.47       2.43      - 1.6%
are students who are participating in learning
communities or who have been targeted to participate in        In addition, to this assessment, SLC faculty have
special programs. In fall 2007, over 300 students in the       developed and assessed several student learning
Aggie Access program were enrolled in 14 separate              outcomes over the past few semesters. In fall 2007,
sections of STLC 101. In addition, 39 students in the          faculty assessed how well STLC 101 students were
College of Science Regents’ Scholars Initiative                learning critical thinking skills. By evaluating results of
completed STLC 101.                                            both objective and subjective tests, faculty were able to
                                                               determine that over 85 percent of the students finish the
Table 1: Enrollment in SLC Courses                             semester with a competent understanding of the critical
Course          2005-05     2006-07      2007-08               thinking model presented in STLC 101. In addition, the
    101           1,205       1,404         1,330              faculty rewrote the student learning objectives for STLC
    102            325         300           198               101 which will be a part of the 2008-09 assessment of
    289             95         191           268               the SLC.
   Total:         1,625       1,895         1,796
* Prior to fall 2007, SLC courses carried the                  Student Comments about STLC 101
CAEN prefix.
                                                               “I’d recommend this class for any freshman.”
Program Utilization and Effectiveness
Table 1 shows the total enrollment in SLC courses for          “This course really helped me out. I used almost all of
the past three academic years. Students from every             things we learned in this class and it always worked out
academic college and more than 90 separate majors              well.”
enrolled in SLC courses during the 2007-08 academic
year.                                                          “The biggest impact on me, academically, was showing
                                                               me a new way of taking notes. This has helped me
Two major assessment initiatives are conducted to              tremendously.”
measure the effectiveness of the STLC 101 course.

   TEXAS A&M STUDENT LEARNING CENTER                                               DR. JOEL V. MCGEE, DIRECTOR
                                                                            Student Learning Center, 118 Hotard Hall
                                                                                979.845.2724   jmcgee@tamu.edu
                   TEXAS A&M STUDENT LEARNING CENTER
                       Supplemental Instruction Program
                                  2007-2008
____________________________________________________________________________
Program Description                                                 Program Highlights

Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a nationally recognized                   o   Students participating in SI earn higher course
academic assistance program featuring weekly group                             averages than those who do not. Moreover,
study sessions facilitated by undergraduate students who                       students also report using skills learned in SI
have taken a targeted course and have been trained in                          in upper-level courses not typically covered in
proactive learning strategies. These students hold study                       the program which demonstrates that SI
sessions for the course three times a week throughout                          provides a learning framework that remains
the semester. The program is offered at no cost to all                         with students for the duration of the college
students enrolled in the covered course.                                       career and beyond.

Over the last year, the program generated over 34,000                      o   Under-represented populations attend at a
contact hours with students seeking assistance. This                           higher rate than the majority population and
shows that SI is a well accepted program with very low                         show an even larger derived benefit in their
hourly intervention costs.                                                     academic performance.

One of the characteristics of this type of assistance is that              o   Students employed as SI leaders report that
students do not view it as a remedial intervention. This                       the program helps them refine their own
combined with the research that shows academic skills                          academic skills and develop additional skills
are best taught in the context of a particular course are                      necessary for success in a competitive
just two of the reasons why the SI model has been                              workplace.
designated by the US Department of Education as an
“exemplary” program.                                                       o   Former students continually report that skills
                                                                               acquired and mastered during their
Program Assessment and Evaluation                                              employment as SI leaders significantly
                                                                               contributed to their success in finding
Each semester data is collected and analyzed in an                             employment after graduation.
ongoing effort to improve the SI program. The focus of
the analysis is the academic performance of students                Program Integration
relative to their frequency of attendance in SI. Consistent
with data from other programs around the nation and                 SI benefits and complements several other SLC
abroad, academic performance in a course improves with              programs. STLC 101 faculty bring learning theory
increased attendance in SI sessions. Data from the Fall             expertise to the program as supervisors of SI leaders
2007 semester shows that students with frequent                     while Drop-in-Tutoring and Tutor Zones programs
attendance performed 24% better than those who did not              serve to give more personalized, course based
attend, as shown in the table below.                                academic assistant to students. Across the university,
                                                                    SI provides academic support for General Academic
Students who participate in SI consistently have lower              Programs’ Gateway and Aggie Access programs. SI
SAT math and verbal scores than those who choose not                supervisors also collaborate with the Center for
to participate which counters the argument that only                Teaching Excellence to ensure that university faculty
better prepared students participate in SI.                         and academic peer educators benefit from effective
                                                                    learning theory and instructional skills.
Impact of SI Attendance on Course GPR:

                 Course GPR Comparison by SI Attendance Category for Fall 2007
                                              Non-SI        SI 1-4 times         SI 5-9 times            SI 10 or > times
         Mean GPR:                            2.363             2.463                2.635                     2.934
         GPR Difference from Non SI                             0.099                0.271                     0.571
         % Difference from Non SI                               4.2%                 11.5%                     24.2%


          TEXAS A&M STUDENT LEARNING CENTER                             RICHARD JOHNSON. ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR AND SI PROGRAM COORDINATOR
                                                                                   Student Learning Center, 118 Hotard Hall
                                                                                         979.845.2724 rgj@tamu.edu
                                   TEXAS A&M STUDENT LEARNING CENTER
                                             Tutorial Services
                                               2007 – 2008

Program History                                             DIT is designed as a “study hall” which allows students to
                                                            seek help without an appointment and without time
Since the inception of SLC tutorial services in spring      constraints on the session. DIT currently offers assistance
2005, more than 1630 students have taken advantage          for over 40 courses in 10 different subject areas.
of free tutoring for currently enrolled students seeking    Sessions are offered on the first floor of Hotard Hall Sunday
assistance in various lower level courses.                  evenings 5-8 pm and Monday through Thursday evenings
                                                            from 5-10 pm.
Drop-In Tutoring (DIT)

Drop-In Tutoring (DIT) is designed to meet the              Tutor Zones (TZ)
immediate needs of currently enrolled students seeking
assistance in lower level math and science courses.         Tutor Zones were implemented in the fall of 2006 in an
Undergraduate peer tutors work with students to identify    effort to provide personalized academic assistance to
problem areas and misconceptions about the course           students while addressing the common programmatic
material, provide feedback, share study skills, and help    constraints of shortage of facilities, the need for on-site
students become independent learners. The SLC tutor         supervision and the financial burden of advertising. The
training program is certified by the College Reading and    SLC capitalized on the fact that students regularly migrate
Learning Association (CRLA) at the Master level which       to certain areas of campus to study by making tutors
sets a high standard of skills, requires tutors to meet a   available to students at these locations. Currently employed
set number of hours of training and experience, and be      Supplemental Instruction Leaders and DIT tutors hold
evaluated each semester. Each semester, DIT students        tutoring sessions in these locations deemed Tutor Zones.
are asked to complete a survey regarding the                As with DIT tutors, all TZ tutors receive training through
effectiveness of DIT and offer suggestions for              SLC’s CRLA certified training program.
improvement.
                                                            The Flag Room of the Memorial Student Center was
                                                            selected as the first site to begin operation. During the
         Drop-In Tutoring: # Contacts by Subject            spring semester, the program was expanded to include
 Subject               2005-06     2006-07   2007-08        space in the south-side residential area known as Studio
                                                            12. Tutoring at the later location was made possible through
 Accounting                   1         -            2
                                                            the financial assistance of the office of the Dean of Student
 Ag Economics                  -        2            -      Affairs and the Department of Residence Life.
 Biochemistry                 2         -            2
 Biology                     38        36           85      Tutors provided assistance to 274 students with tutorial
                                                            sessions lasting an average of 39 minutes. The statistical
 Chemistry                 174        424          646
                                                            impact of this program relative to the academic
 Dev. Math                  11          1            1      performance of the students who utilized the service has
 Engineering                   -        4            6      not yet been determined. Anecdotal reports from students
 Liberal Arts                13       172            -      who studied in Tutor Zones suggest the program was
                                                            valuable primarily because of the caliber of help available
 Mathematics               420        685          961
                                                            and the ease with which students could utilize the service.
 Other                        -         8            5
 Physics                     41       234          310
 Statistics                 24         16            4
 Zoology                      1         -            -
 Total                     725       1582          2022




         TEXAS A&M STUDENT LEARNING CENTER                       RICHARD JOHNSON, TUTOR ZONE, COORDINATOR
                                                                    Student Learning Center, 118 Hotard Hall
                                                                       979.845.2724      rgj@tamu.edu

                                                                LINDA CALLEN, DROP-IN TUTORING, COORDINATOR
                                                                    Student Learning Center, 118 Hotard Hall
                                                                        979.845.2724     lcallen@tamu.edu
                                      TEXAS A&M STUDENT LEARNING CENTER
                                              Independent Study Lab
                                                     (Texas Success Initiative)
                                         2007 - 2008
_____________________________________________________________________________________
Program Description                                               (GRE, GMAT, and LSAT). Study books and software
                                                                  are available for use in the computer lab. Additionally,
The Texas Success Initiative is a program mandated by             GRE review sessions are presented at least twice a year
the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board                     with free study materials available for participants.
(THECB) for identifying and preparing academically
those students whose basic skills in reading, writing             The Independent Study Lab provides screening for
and/or mathematics are less than what is required for             Scotopic Sensitivity/Irlen Syndrome, a perceptual
college level courses. The SLC meets this objective by            disorder that affects reading and writing-based activities.
providing instruction and assistance for under-prepared           This screening and treatment is available at no charge
students. The Independent Study Lab (ISL) has been                for all Texas A&M students.
charged with this responsibility and has set forth the
following guidelines for operation.                               Program Completion and Effectiveness

The first aim is to assist students in overcoming                 ISL students should retake one of the four state-
academic deficiencies and acquiring skills fundamental            approved skills tests in the area(s) for which they are
to further academic, career, and personal achievement.            enrolled in order to exit the developmental program. ISL
While a major focus is test preparation, the higher               instructors often make such recommendations for
mission is to develop each student fully as an                    retesting although the students may retest at any time
independent learner. While remediation of skills is at            they choose. Individual students receive regular
the heart of the program, students are also encouraged            feedback as they work through their curriculum because
to develop other scholarly proficiencies that would               the format is one-on-one instruction. With this system,
benefit them as students. Study skills, test-taking               instructors are able to continuously diagnose each
strategies, note-taking, reading efficiency strategies,           student’s functioning.
time-management, and goal-setting are but a few topics
that are presented to the ISL students. The ISL is open           The ISL values student feedback and considers course
to any Texas A&M University student wishing to improve            evaluations when determining program effectiveness.
their academic functioning in any of the three skill areas.       Typical comments include:

                                                                  “It was helpful to know that the teacher was there when
Additional Services                                               needed.”
The ISL also provides assistance to those students who            “I know that when I came into the ISL lab, I actually used
are preparing for graduate school entrance tests                  the skills in my other courses…”




Enrollment Statistics and Completion of TSI Program :


                                         ISL                TOTAL              # PASSING -            TSI-COMPLETE
                   SEMESTER          ENROLLMENT        TESTING/PASSING         OTHER THAN                (All areas)
                                                                                 TESTING

               Fall, 2005                 194            94/79 (84%)                 7                    73 (38%)
               Spring, 2006               125            44/33 (75%)                 5                    41 (34%)
               Fall, 2006                 175            88/74 (83%)                 6                    71 (42%)
               Spring, 2007               106            69/46 (67%)                 4                    43 (43%)
               Fall, 2007                 150            75/54 (72%)                 9                    60 (40%)
               Spring 2008                107            51/41 (80%)                 3                    42 (39%)




          TEXAS A&M STUDENT LEARNING CENTER                              SHARON HAIGLER, TEXAS SUCCESS INITIATIVE PROGRAM COORDINATOR
                                                                                  Student Learning Center, 118 Hotard Hall
                                                                                     979.845.2724   s-haigler@tamu.edu
                     WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
             ABOUT STUDENT LEARNING CENTER PROGRAMS

About STLC 101:

“I’d recommend this class for any freshman.”

“This course really helped me out. I used almost all of things we learned in this
class and it always worked out well.”

“The biggest impact on me, academically, was showing me a new way of taking
notes. This has helped me tremendously.”

“I could tell that my instructor cared about her students’ success not only in her
class, but in all their classes. She was great!”


About Tutoring:

"I thought tutoring was great and will begin using this program more often. It
helps very much."

"My tutor makes me think, which I like. Chemistry doesn't seem all that bad
now."

"Tutor sessions always increase my confidence in Math 141."

"(The tutor) does an excellent job at understanding my questions and explaining
(the answers) clearly."


About Supplemental Instruction:

“SI was very informative. I would say it was one of the most influential parts of my
getting an A in this course.” – Political Science student

“After coming to your SI session, my test grades went up 17 points! Great job!” –
Political Science student

“Brian is a great SI leader. He helps us learn by letting us teach each other and
provokes us to think about causes and effects, which makes me look at History
as more than just a story, but actual life.” – History student

“The SI sessions really helped me to study harder and in better ways, helping me
to improve my grade in Chemistry class.” – Chemistry student