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PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) pass rates and previous biological knowledge Phil Bishop, Lisa Russell (Department of Zoology) and Jacques van der.

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Presentation on theme: "PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) pass rates and previous biological knowledge Phil Bishop, Lisa Russell (Department of Zoology) and Jacques van der."— Presentation transcript:

1 PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) pass rates and previous biological knowledge Phil Bishop, Lisa Russell (Department of Zoology) and Jacques van der Meer (Student Learning Centre, HEDC) - University of Otago FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary

2 Large class size Diversity of student population Insufficient knowledge of students’ backgrounds Strong ‘Health Science’ focus Tighter financial constraints FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary Some of the issues associated with first year biology teaching at Otago

3 First year biology class size and biology staffing at Otago University over last 14 years CLASS SIZE 1840 students 1035 No. of ACADEMIC STAFF No. of DEMONSTRATORS FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary 5/lab/96 students 13 lecturers, 3 teaching fellows (Total number of students = 20,453) (1 lab per week) (1 lab per fortnight)

4 Student diversity Two main entrance options at Otago i) University Entrance (NCEA L3) ii) Special admissions (>20 years old) There are no subject requirements for entry into the Health Sciences First Year programme High number of International students FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary Amazing diversity of students Vast range of students’ prior knowledge in class

5 Goals Better understanding of the skills students bring to the class Better understanding of their background biological knowledge (at the start) How would Peer Assisted Study Sessions help a group of students with poor to average prior knowledge of biology? FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary

6 FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary Peer Assisted Study Sessions Otago

7 What is PASS? Based on Supplemental Instruction programmes from overseas (high stakes vs remedial) Study sessions – NOT tutorials Trained leaders facilitate interactive understanding and problem solving Research shows that students who participate in PASS clearly do better FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary Peer Assisted Study Sessions Otago Learners should be in the driving seat!

8 PASS programme survey – Students’ comments…… “One hour in PASS is worth 3 or 4 hrs struggling on my own” “More personal, easier to talk amongst peers without feeling stupid” “Makes us think instead of asking teacher/leader” “Students working together to complete problems you probably wouldn't do by yourself” FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary Peer Assisted Study Sessions Otago

9 One Peer Facilitator to 20 students, 12 sessions per semester With over 1800 students you need about 90 Peer Facilitators to present 1080 per session = $27,000! How could you select a group of students for PASS? FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary Give them a test - Prior Knowledge Survey!

10 Prior Knowledge Survey Conducted on first day of the first semester in their first lecture! 8 general questions (school subjects, preferred career path, residence, preparation for the course etc) 11 cell biology multiple choice question (range of difficulties) FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary

11 Prior Knowledge Survey FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary Enabled us to select a group of 400 ‘poor -average’ students (based on their prior knowledge), who were invited to participate in PASS Three groups in total: Group 1 – average students invited and participated in PASS (89) Group 2 – average students invited, but turned down PASS (311) Group 3 – all other students, not invited & didn’t participate Group X - above average students, self-invited and participated in PASS (49)

12 Selecting students N = 400 FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary

13 How did they do? FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary

14 FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary How did they do? Max mark = 20 B B- C C BB

15 Conclusions Our Prior knowledge survey was a good predictor of how well the students were going to do. FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary

16 Conclusions Our Prior knowledge survey was a good predictor of how well the students were going to do. Although PASS usually involves ‘self-selected’ students (and therefore the most motivated), in this study we selected ‘poor/average’ students and helped them improve their predicted marks by two grades. FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary FYBEC1 – Otago Orokonui Ecosanctuary


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