Postsecondary and Tertiary Peer Assisted Learning

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 August 2023) | Viewed by 14204

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55432, USA
Interests: student-led peer study programs; equity programs; social justice; learning assistance; widening participation; universal design for learning
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Education Sciences is pleased to announce the upcoming Special Issue “Postsecondary and Tertiary Peer Assisted Learning (PAL)”. Reports on the effectiveness of such practices are ubiquitous in the global education field. Dr. Alexander Astin and his research colleagues identified through research on hundreds of thousands of U.S. students that the most significant impact variable upon students is their interaction with peers (What matters in college? Four critical years revisited, 1993). In their analysis of research on the college experience, Ernest Pascarella, Patrick Terenzini, and their colleagues identified many studies that replicated Astin’s findings (How college affects students, 2016). David Arendale annually publishes an annotated bibliography of 1700+ research studies focused on the major international PAL programs (see https://z.umn.edu/peerbib). While there are many published reports on PAL, far fewer identify specific practices that must be followed to achieve the desired results.

This Special Issue seeks to address the needs of postsecondary/tertiary students through a learning environment that enhances their academic achievement, engagement, learning mastery, and persistence to graduation. PAL can accomplish these purposes if specific guidelines and best practices are followed. Education Sciences prioritizes submissions that synthesize information from disparate backgrounds, place research findings within a broad context, extend our methodological and theoretical understanding, and inform education policy and practice. The journal publishes quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method research papers. Extended reviews of substantive research are also welcome. Additionally, Education Sciences invites commentaries and original opinion pieces and/or analyses of issues and events of concern to education scholars that have international resonance.

Topics of interest include: best practices of PAL; new models of PAL; personal and professional development by the student participants and leaders of the PAL groups; antiracism policies and practices for PAL groups; online PAL models; use of technology and social media; increase in employability skills of the participants and student leaders in the PAL groups; increased academic achievement of PAL participants and student leaders; new pedagogical approaches within PAL sessions; and PAL multicultural issues.

Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following topics relating to peer-assisted learning (PAL): the Emerging Scholars Program (Dr. Treisman model), peer-led team learning, structured learning assistance, supplemental instruction–PASS, video-based supplemental Instruction, course-embedded peer tutoring, online delivery of PAL, race and social justice related to PAL, and new models of PAL. Since this issue focuses on PAL groups, one-to-one tutoring research will not be included.

We look forward to receiving your contributions. You are encouraged to contact David Arendale at any stage of the writing process to receive feedback about suitability of your topic for this Special Issue and manuscript drafts. Please reach out with any questions.

Dr. David Arendale
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • peer-assisted learning
  • learning assistance
  • equity
  • academic bridge programs
  • peer cooperative learning
  • employability skills
  • college student development
  • peer tutoring
  • learning communities
  • student achievement

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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4 pages, 142 KiB  
Editorial
Introduction to Special Issue on Postsecondary and Tertiary Peer-Assisted Learning and a Future Research Agenda
by David R. Arendale
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010073 - 8 Jan 2024
Viewed by 696
Abstract
The Journal of Education Sciences is pleased to welcome you to this Special Issue, “Postsecondary and Tertiary Peer Assisted Learning (PAL)” [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Postsecondary and Tertiary Peer Assisted Learning)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

18 pages, 2788 KiB  
Article
Unknown Is Not Chosen: University Student Voices on Group Formation for Collaborative Writing
by Karen Putzeys, Hilde Van Keer and Bram De Wever
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010031 - 27 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1034
Abstract
University students are frequently required to collaborate, often in the form of collaborative writing tasks. The process as well as the outcomes of the collaboration depend on choices made during the group formation phase. Studies on why students select partners for collaborative writing [...] Read more.
University students are frequently required to collaborate, often in the form of collaborative writing tasks. The process as well as the outcomes of the collaboration depend on choices made during the group formation phase. Studies on why students select partners for collaborative writing tasks are, however, lacking. Therefore, the present study aims to gain insights into (1) university students’ preferences with regard to teacher-assigned and self-selected group formation, (2) which motives they take into account when self-selecting a partner, and (3) the degree to which students select a partner similar to themselves. Sixteen dyads collaboratively wrote a research paper. Prior to the collaboration, 30 students individually completed questionnaires and 28 students were individually interviewed. The findings show that most students have mixed opinions regarding teacher-assigned or self-selected group formation (n = 18), while the others bar one prefer to self-select a partner (n = 9). Students’ main motive for self-selecting is familiarity, and, more in particular, prior collaboration experience with a specific partner. Other motives include friendship, ability, convenience, and attitude. Furthermore, students tend to select a partner with a similar attitude, ability, task approach, and perspective towards the content of the task. Predictability seems to be the most important driver for self-selection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Postsecondary and Tertiary Peer Assisted Learning)
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24 pages, 1480 KiB  
Article
Professional Teacher Identity on the Boundary: Student Study Group Facilitators Negotiating Their Identity
by David R. Arendale and Amanda R. Hane
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(12), 1210; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13121210 - 4 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1023
Abstract
This study focuses on undergraduate student paraprofessionals who facilitated peer study groups for academically challenging college courses. A grounded qualitative research study of these student facilitators at an institution identified their professional identity development in unexpected ways that went against written policies for [...] Read more.
This study focuses on undergraduate student paraprofessionals who facilitated peer study groups for academically challenging college courses. A grounded qualitative research study of these student facilitators at an institution identified their professional identity development in unexpected ways that went against written policies for teacher attitudes and behaviors. Rather than perceiving themselves as peer study group facilitators following a narrow job description, many of them referred to themselves as teachers and acted accordingly, breaking the boundaries of behavior established by the study group program administrator. This article unmasks this professional identity emergence, postulates the mechanism for this choice, presents a model to explain it, and makes recommendations for talking openly about this identity and the subsequent behaviors that occurred as a result by the facilitators and the implications for the PAL program. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Postsecondary and Tertiary Peer Assisted Learning)
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10 pages, 476 KiB  
Article
Improving Student Success through Supplemental Instruction in an Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory
by Irina Ellison, Ferdinand Esser, Jean Walsh, Christian Lucio and Joan Toglia
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(11), 1153; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13111153 - 17 Nov 2023
Viewed by 968
Abstract
Anatomy and physiology courses have been identified as a major barrier to the persistence and graduation of undergraduate students seeking careers in the health professions. This break in the health profession’s educational pipeline may have implications for perpetuating racial/ethnic educational attainment disparities that [...] Read more.
Anatomy and physiology courses have been identified as a major barrier to the persistence and graduation of undergraduate students seeking careers in the health professions. This break in the health profession’s educational pipeline may have implications for perpetuating racial/ethnic educational attainment disparities that further health disparities through a lack of representation in healthcare providers. Although Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a well-developed, evidence-based program for improving student success, it has traditionally been used primarily in lecture-based courses. In addition, much of the literature on peer-assisted learning in anatomy and physiology focuses on medical school students. Therefore, it is difficult to extrapolate the effectiveness of SI on freshman and sophomore undergraduate students in a laboratory-based course. Here, we describe the expansion of our SI program, in conjunction with a complete curricular redesign, to address student success in an undergraduate gateway anatomy and physiology laboratory. Students who participated in the SI laboratory sessions held outside of instructor-led class time were significantly more likely to be high performers in the course, and there were no students who participated in SI sessions who earned a final course grade below a C. In addition, students expressed high satisfaction with the SI program and indicated that SI leaders provided both content and emotional support. In conclusion, SI is a valuable program to address student success in a laboratory-based course, particularly when integrated thoughtfully and intentionally with other evidence-based best practices in curriculum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Postsecondary and Tertiary Peer Assisted Learning)
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11 pages, 242 KiB  
Article
The Perceived Impact of Leading Supplemental Instruction on Student Leaders at a Hispanic-Serving Institution
by Irina Ellison, Gabriele Haynes and Joan Toglia
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(11), 1144; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13111144 - 15 Nov 2023
Viewed by 957
Abstract
Supplemental Instruction is an evidence-based academic support program which improves the success of higher education undergraduate students who participate in the program, including students from historically underrepresented populations. Sessions are led by near-peer leaders who have previously successfully completed the course. While the [...] Read more.
Supplemental Instruction is an evidence-based academic support program which improves the success of higher education undergraduate students who participate in the program, including students from historically underrepresented populations. Sessions are led by near-peer leaders who have previously successfully completed the course. While the impacts of leading SI programs have previously been demonstrated, there is little research on the specific impacts on historically underrepresented student leaders at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). Our study aims to elucidate the impact of leading SI on our diverse population of SI leaders at the largest private HSI in New York State. Data were collected from SI leaders on their reflective perceptions about their experiences as SI leaders through both surveys and focus groups. Our data demonstrate that our diverse SI leaders feel positively about their experiences in the SI program with a focus on three areas of perceived self-improvement: confidence, communication and community. These areas of perceived self-improvement are particularly important as they may lead to higher retention and graduation rates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Postsecondary and Tertiary Peer Assisted Learning)
17 pages, 306 KiB  
Article
Co-Teaching with High School Students for Music Teaching
by Félix Quiñones-Ramírez, David Duran and Laia Viladot
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(10), 972; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13100972 - 23 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1038
Abstract
This article presents a didactic proposal for teaching musical notation and solfège sight-singing through co-teaching with secondary school students. The goal was to explore the advantages and limitations of using a form of peer learning where students play the role of co-teachers alongside [...] Read more.
This article presents a didactic proposal for teaching musical notation and solfège sight-singing through co-teaching with secondary school students. The goal was to explore the advantages and limitations of using a form of peer learning where students play the role of co-teachers alongside the teacher. We wanted to find out whether this proposal would lead to significant improvements among both co-teachers and tutees, identifying the actions responsible for this progress, and paying particular attention to how students learn in the role of co-teachers. This study was based on a mixed-method explanatory sequential design, where the quantitative data were analyzed first and then the qualitative data. The quantitative results showed statistically significant improvements when comparing the pre-test and post-test results of all the students participating in the didactic proposal. These improvements can be attributed to the personalized support provided by the co-teachers, the opportunities for peer assessment that enabled progress to be monitored and provided feedback, and the possibilities of learning by teaching. In conclusion, the results of this study endorse the viability of student co-teaching in secondary school music education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Postsecondary and Tertiary Peer Assisted Learning)
13 pages, 264 KiB  
Article
Advantages and Disadvantages of Online and Face-to-Face Peer Learning in Higher Education: A Review
by Keith James Topping
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(4), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13040326 - 23 Mar 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 7349
Abstract
During the pandemic, many institutions shifted to online teaching, and in some cases, this included existing peer learning programs. As the pandemic receded, some of these peer learning programs returned to face-to-face operation and others adopted a blended format, while others remained online. [...] Read more.
During the pandemic, many institutions shifted to online teaching, and in some cases, this included existing peer learning programs. As the pandemic receded, some of these peer learning programs returned to face-to-face operation and others adopted a blended format, while others remained online. Interestingly, the literature suggests that online peer learning is somewhat more effective than face-to-face peer learning. This might be because online peer learning enables responses at any time (which might be more thoughtful), anonymity, and a wider nexus of relationships, although it can create issues regarding the initial development of trust. There are a great many studies of both face-to-face and online peer learning, but relatively few that directly compare both. By way of addressing this gap, this paper aims to systematically review 17 papers that directly compare both, informed by and updating the only previous review in this area. Online performs better than offline learning in terms of cognitive outcomes, with a small to moderate effect size. However, the associated socio-emotional issues are more complex. Online learning offers flexibility regarding response time, but sacrifices the immediate dialogue of offline learning. Some cultures found accepting peer learning more difficult. Few studies undertook longer-term follow-up, although with more practice motivation, this might well improve. The results have implications for the type of peer learning chosen by pedagogical designers as appropriate to their own learning context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Postsecondary and Tertiary Peer Assisted Learning)
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