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The most common problem with tutoring research is not that students are
drafted into experimental programs without informed consent, it is the
difficulty of separating self-selection factors--i.e. that students who
select themselves into tutoring are more skilled or conscientious to begin
with than students who select themselves out.  Since randomly barring
students from tutoring is not ethical, there are other ways that can be used
to neutralize the effects of self-selection:

(1) Compare different approaches to tutoring:  all students who select
tutoring are randomly assigned to one of several approaches, and researchers
can determine which one is more effective.  Perhaps you have genuinely
wondered which one really worked the best, now you can systematically find
out.

(2) The Supplemental Instruction reports use a control group of students who
wanted to sign up for SI but were unable to do so because of schedule
conflicts.  This eliminates "motivational" factors as a differential between
those who get tutored and those who don't.  If that is feasible at your
school, it is another alternative.

Annette Gourgey
----- Original Message -----
From: Mayfield, Linda <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 2:31 PM
Subject: Re: tutoring research


> 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]
> >