One answer to the experimental group/control group conundrum is to expand
our knowledge of applied research strategies. We are used to, and
comfortable with, quantitative analysis; but qualitative research is also a
valid strategy, and in the case of tutoring, much more readily applicable.
Dr. Nancy L. Diekelmann, professor and prolific researcher/writer at the
University of Wisconsin, is a leader in using "stories" told by patients as
the data in nursing research.  She spoke here for an in-service and was
extremely motivating.  Much of her theory could apply just as readily to
students receiving tutoring.  I was already practicing eliciting input from
students I tutor, but now I am formally collecting it and can cite it as
data for evaluations, research and publication.

You may not be able to prove what a student would have achieved had s/he not
received tutoring, but you certainly can record and analyze what students
THINK they are achieving when they do receive tutoring--and what have we all
heard about perception?  Have each tutee respond to a 10-second
questionnaire at the end of the session:  What did you do today?  What did
you hope to achieve?  Did you meet your goal?   If you have patient
students, make it longer.  Ask them to report back by intercampus or email
to let you know if they did well on something they worked on--a paper or a
test.  They all won't respond, but some will. Record the responses. Do
follow-up with questionnaires, and see if they apply what they learned in
the future.  That gives you qualitative data that can generate reports that
reflect the level of student participation, satisfaction, and application
from the viewpoint of the subjects themselves.  Our research professor's
dissertation research project was totally self-reported data from arthritis
sufferers.  She now has her Ph.D. Expanding our research horizons can help
us personally and as a profession.

Linda Riggs Mayfield, MA
Associate Faculty for Academic Enhancement

       Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing
Quincy, IL 62305-7005
[log in to unmask]

> ----------
> From:         Laura Symons[SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Reply To:     Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
> Sent:         Monday, October 16, 2000 4:54 PM
> To:   [log in to unmask]
> Subject:      Re: tutoring research
> Research in tutoring effectiveness seems to have multiple problems, the
> most
> knotty being that few people in developmental education are willing to
> sacrifice students who need tutoring to be a "control group" and deny them
> tutoring or the kind of tutoring the researcher hopes to prove more
> effective.
> Does anyone know of articles that deal with problems and solutions facing
> research in developmental education in general and tutorng in specific?
> I've
> heard Jan Norton speak eloquently about the subject but I'm not aware of
> any
> writing on it.  And finally, if there aren't articles on the problem (and
> solutions I can only hope!) is there anyone who would be interested in
> writing
> one?  I'd love to include one in the JNTA (Jan, you _knew_ this was
> coming!)
> Laura Symons
> "Neuburger, Jane A." wrote:
> > Dear Linda:
> > Yes, this is what Maxwell has said, although it is rebutted somewhat by
> > Boylan, Bonham, Bliss and Saxon in "What We Know About Tutoring:
> Findings
> > from the National Study of Developmental Education", in Research in
> > Developmental Education 12.3, 1995, available from the National Center
> for
> > Developmental Education (828) 262-3057.
> >
> > However, note that Maxwell did not say that tutoring does not help, only
> > that it has not been found to help.  Is this a call to research, then?
> How
> > can we figure out if tutoring helps or not?  The findings on
> Supplemental
> > Instruction are strong, why not for tutoring?  I'd love to see a
> discussion
> > on what research models have been tried for tutoring, and what have been
> the
> > results of those projects?
> >
> > For instance, I found that tutored students grades in a course were
> about
> > the same as non-tutored students' grades.  Does this mean that tutoring
> had
> > no impact, or does it mean that tutoing helped the weaker students
> achieve
> > grades comparable to their better-prepared peers?  Only additional work
> will
> > tell me this, but it's a first step.
> >
> > Who else is working on this?
> >
> > Jane Neuburger
> > NYCLSA President
> > Assistant Professor, Reading, Writing, Tutoring
> > Center for Teaching & Learning
> > Cazenovia College
> > Cazenovia, NY 13035
> > (315) 655-7206
> > (315) 655-2190 (fax)
> > [log in to unmask]