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Dave,
As interesting as it would be, I would be concerned about the confidentiality risk in your proposed experiment, unless you already have releases of some kind from your students that you can share whether they have come in for assistance or not.  I have every student who schedules regular, weekly appointments sign a release agreeing that I can share with their professors and/or academic advisors that they have been meeting with me.

The end-of-semester data at our college show that every sophomore nursing student who came in for scheduled weekly academic enhancement appointments last semester was academically successful; conversely, not a single one of the sophomore students who had to be placed on academic probation had come in.  One of the student reps on the Academic Committee was so excited about that bit of data that she is going through the process for having it become one of the little posters placed on the stall doors in the bathrooms to motivate others to access the assistance.  :-)  Data on juniors and seniors was similar, but not as dramatic or uncomplicated enough for a one-sentence poster.

I hope you can design some research that will support what you do--I think we all need to do more of that, and I'm trying to make it a priority--for me, it seems that doing the research isn't as difficult to accomplish as making the time to get the results ready to submit for publication.
Linda

Linda Riggs Mayfield, MA
Associate Faculty
________________________________________
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of David Ehren [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 10:38 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Am I asking for it?

A quick anecdote: A Classics prof was talking to our writing people after he
received a shock. He wondered to himself why only 2 of his 20 students did
well on a writing assignment. The next day, he received a standard note from
our office saying that those two students had come in for writing help. He
was sold, and is now one of our cheerleaders.

Should I try this with other profs? I'm a stats teacher and the director
here of a combined lab. I'd love to try some experiments. Here's a sample I
thought up:
"Dear Professor Q.
You asked about our services, and we'd like to see if we're helping as well.
Send us two lists of names, and we'll tell you how many of each list came in
for writing help in the last two weeks. Don't tell us which group did well;
hopefully we'll tell you that!"

Risky? Probably. Has anyone tried something like this?

Dave

--
Dave Ehren
Director, Math Counselor
Macalester Academic Excellence (MAX) Center
651-696-6120
[log in to unmask]

I am doing some of the many right things to do.

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