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So . . . we're back to the idea that all assessment is rhetorical; those doing assessment should be concerned about purpose and audience. If administrators aren't interested in complexities that we'd expect in real research, then assessment projects that show student retention is correlated with X number of tutoring sessions may be impressive and even persuasive data to share with administrators.

Also, ways to consider (if not control) other, outside help could include surveying students about what other help they've sought. In our writing center, we're always encouraging students to engage in the behaviors that Nic mentions, but many choose not to do so. If the assessment research is trying to get at a different kind of truth (like how does tutoring really connect with retention), then understanding why someone seeks tutoring, what experiences one has had with tutoring in the past, a bunch of demographic information, etc. would indeed all be interesting information to consider as one seeks to determine how tutoring relates to retention and learning because we could actually use such insight to guide our programs.

Kim



----- Original Message -----
From: "Nic Voge" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Friday, May 29, 2015 7:52:14 AM
Subject: Re: Retention Study

One of the problems here is that the the “factor” of inclination to seek
multiple tutoring sessions (vs. not) is likely to correlate not only with
other features of the student, but with other experiences, including
resource use. For instance, are students who pursue more tutoring also
more likely to access other resources (including difficult to measure ones
like talking with faculty before or after class) more?
In other words, both frequency of use of tutoring and retention can quite
reasonably be understood as being “caused” by a common underlying and thus
confounding factor. I think the issue comes down to what kind of truth
claim you want to make about tutoring and its relation to retention and
how you are willing or wanting to to qualify that relationship.
Nic

________________________________________


Dominic (Nic) J. Voge  ||  Associate Director
Undergraduate Learning Program
McGraw Center for Teaching & Learning ||  Princeton University
328 Frist Center
(609)258-6921  || http://www.princeton.edu/mcgraw/us/







On 5/28/15, 6:30 PM, "Daniel A Bureau (dabureau)" <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

>Right. Randomly assigned and with similar demographics!
>
>Dan 
>
>Sent from my iPhone
>
>> On May 28, 2015, at 5:26 PM, Norton, Janet L <[log in to unmask]>
>>wrote:
>> 
>> Sometimes a matched comparison group can help make your case
>> ________________________________________
>> From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
>>[[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Daniel A Bureau (dabureau)
>>[[log in to unmask]]
>> Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2015 2:41 PM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: Retention Study
>> 
>> I've seen lots of folks have chimed in on whether this is even doable.
>>That is good advice: isolating the experience is something very hard to
>>do in measuring retention.
>> 
>> That said, I think you might look at correlation between number of
>>visits and retention. The more a person experiences something couldn't
>>we believe that the likelihood of influence on retention increases? So,
>>I wouldn't hang my hat on tutoring influencing a student after one time
>>but maybe that after a number of times?
>> 
>> You can also use language to explain that you're not claiming Tutoring
>>was the factor but that Tutoring could have been a factor. Something
>>along the lines of "XXXX students used tutoring services in Fall 2014:
>>of those students, XX% returned in Spring 2015. This in mind, tutoring
>>may be a factor in students' decision to re-enroll".
>> 
>> No way to say that you're the reason, but you can craft the message to
>>explain that students who use the services happen to be retained higher.
>> 
>> I imagine you could also look at users academic performance and see if
>>the correlation between tutoring and academic performance also say an
>>increase in retention.
>> 
>> You could also look at students dispositions toward academic
>>performance and retention coming in. Your institution might provide an
>>predicted GPA (not sure on terminology) based on their high school
>>performance and ACT. Do students who use Tutoring services have higher
>>GPAs than their predicted GPA? At what point?
>> 
>> Key is that sometimes outstanding students use tutoring to do better
>>and sometimes poorly prepared or less academically inclined students use
>>it to do better.
>> 
>> Dan
>> 
>> Daniel A. Bureau, PhD.
>> Director, Student Affairs Learning and Assessment and Commencement
>>Office | Special Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs
>>        The University of Memphis
>> 101 Brister Hall
>> Memphis, TN 38152
>> 
>> 901.678.5547 | ​[log in to unmask]
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> ________________________________________
>> From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
>><[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Rachel E. Lieberman
>><[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2015 7:15 AM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Retention Study
>> 
>> Hi all,
>> 
>> I'd like to create a study for my Peer Tutoring Center which focuses on
>>retention, and whether or not we're making an impact in that area. I
>>think if the results are positive, it could speak even louder than a
>>study that focuses on grades, but I'm not quite sure where to start. Has
>>anyone ever done a similar study, and if so, what parameters did you
>>use? Thanks so much.
>> 
>> Rachel Lieberman
>> Coordinator, Peer Tutorial Services
>> Lee Campus
>> I-116
>> 239-489-9308
>> 
>> 
>> Florida SouthWestern State College
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> Please note: Due to Florida's broad open records law, most written
>> 
>> communication to or from College employees is public record, available
>> 
>> to the public and the media upon request. Therefore, this e-mail
>> 
>> communication may be subject to public disclosure.
>> 
>> 
>> 
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