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					The Lamar University Electronic Journal of Student Research Summer 2008

On Improving Student Grades and Graduation: A Snapshot of Minority and White Students’ Success from Supplemental Instruction at the University of Missouri at Kansas City Russell Eisenman, PhD
University of Texas-Pan American Department of Psychology Edinburg, TX 78539-2999

William Allan Kritsonis, PhD
Professor and Faculty Mentor PhD Program in Educational Leadership The Whitlowe R. Green College of Education Prairie View A&M University Member of the Texas A&M University System Prairie View, Texas Visiting Lecturer (2005) Oxford Round Table University of Oxford, Oxford, England Distinguished Alumnus (2004) College of Education and Professional Studies Central Washington University Tyrone Tanner, EdD Associate Professor PhD Program in Educational Leadership The Whitlowe R. Green College of Education Prairie View A&M University Prairie View, Texas Dr. Donald F. DeMoulin College of Education Doctoral Faculty Argosy University Atlanta, Georgia

ABSTRACT The brief article focuses on improving student grades and graduation relative to minority and white students’ success from supplemental instruction at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. The authors discussed effective ways to help students who score low on standard examinations. ________________________________________________________________________

Introduction Supplemental Instruction was created by Deanna C. Martin at the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC) in 1973, aimed at preventing minority student attrition in the schools of medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry. Supplemental Instruction (SI) does not look for students at high risk for failure, as do programs that first test students for, say, English and mathematics skills and then assign those who do not pass to developmental courses. Rather, SI targets high risk courses, where many students make grades of D or F, or drop the class. SI involves regularly scheduled out-of-class peer taught sessions, which any student can attend (Jacobs, 2007; Martin & Arendale, 1994; Martin & Gravina, 1990; Martin, Blanc, & Arendale, 1994). We looked at data from UMKC on students in general: their grades and their attrition, as well as data on minority students.

The Findings We appreciate that the SI program at UMKC gave us permission to analyze their data.

Grades and Attrition Supplemental Instruction students received better final course grades with fewer grades of D, F, or Withdraw. For all colleges at UMKC, 2875 students were tested and 38% of the Non-Supplemental Instruction students made a final grade of D, F, or Withdraw, compared to 23.7% of students in SI. On a 4-point scale (with 4=A), the mean final course grade of non-SI students was 1.85, and the mean final grade of SI students was 2.30. Regarding attrition, we can look at the graduation rates. For Non-SI students, within six years 18.2% had graduated vs. 30.6% for the SI students.

Minority Students According to May Garland, for 299 minority students, the mean grade of minority students who took SI was 2.02 vs. 1.55 for minority students who did not take SI. For minority students who took SI, 36% made a grade of D, F, or Withdraw vs. 43% for minority students who did not take SI.

Concluding Remarks The results show that Supplemental Instruction, as done at the University of Missouri at Kansas City is effective in 1. helping students make better grades, 2. helping students graduate, and 3.helping minority students. SI is an effective way to help students, in addition to the more traditional method of finding students who score low on standard exams and assigning them to remedial classes. SI makes additional peer instruction available to students who are having a difficult time in a course, and they take the SI while taking the difficult course. Students learn both what to learn and how to learn, and the data showed that this helps them succeed better in college, both in terms of grades and in terms of graduation.

References Jacobs, G. (2007, Sept. 21). Supplemental Instruction: Overview of the model. Presentation for University of Texas System, Austin, TX. Martin, D. C. & Arendale, D. (Eds.), (1994). Supplemental Instruction: Increasing achievement and retention. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Martin, D. C. & Gravina, M. (1990). Serving students where they fail: In class. Thresholds in Education, 16(3), 26-30. Martin, D. C., Blanc, R., & Arendale, D. (1994). Mentorship in the classroom: Making the implicit explicit. Teaching Excellence, 6(1), 1-2. Formatted by Dr. Mary Alice Kritsonis, National Research and Manuscript Preparation Editor, National FORUM Journals, Houston, Texas www.nationalforum.com


				
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