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Hi everyone,

I wonder if there is a divide here between the technical/community college context and the 4-year context. At a 4-year institution, you keep your students longer, you have fewer nontraditional students, you have more full-time students - in short, you will usually have an easier time finding a tutor for a class.

The technical or 2-year context has many limitations on the tutoring pool, an overall lower average GPA, and a generally more at-risk population of tutoring clients. Saul is asking particularly about this challenging context.

Having recently transitioned from the 4-year environment to a 2-year technical college, I am pushing for our tutoring program to adopt a minimum GPA (we currently don't have one at all!). However, my supervisor, whose career has been only in the technical college system, believes that we would be limiting our pool of prospective tutors too sharply and would struggle to find tutors - even more than we already do.

Someone had previously mentioned that they have a 2.75 minimum, with a 3.0 preferred. For the 2-year context, this seems like the best of both worlds - flexibility to expand the pool when necessary but a clear understanding that a higher GPA is preferable.

I just double-checked the CRLA certification requirements, and there's no mention of GPA on the page. I'm sure it's factored into the certification process, but there doesn't seem to be a specific minimum.

Now, all that being said, I favor stricter GPA requirements when your context allows for it, for all the reasons that Debbie, Megan, and others have named. But at some point, having some assistance for the student in need is better than none. I'm not talking about a delay of a couple weeks - in some of these cases in the 2-year context, it can be the difference between having a tutor eventually and never having a tutor.

Enjoying this conversation!
Emily

From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Debbie Malewicki
Sent: Thursday, March 7, 2019 12:07 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [External Sender] Re: Tutor Job Requirements

CAUTION: This email originated from outside of Mid-State Technical College. Do not click links or open attachments unless you recognize the sender and know the content is safe.
Hi Saul,

In my last university position, and carrying into my current company, we require a minimum GPA of 3.4 and consistent grades of A- or higher in the subject area the student wants to tutor. (We would consider an occasional high B or B+ in organic chemistry or calculus II, the particularly challenging courses, as long as the faculty members support this exemption based upon the students' performance.). Additionally, the student must provide a faculty recommendation for each subject they want to support, so someone who wants to tutor math and chemistry would be providing a letter from one faculty member in each discipline.  Finally, for a core subject, we look for them to pass a proficiency test demonstrating a high working knowledge of the most frequently encountered material at each level, e.g., math fundamentals, college algebra, pre-calculus, and moving up to the early 2000 level classes.

Taking into account the fact that grade inflation is fairly rampant today, and knowing that in some classes faculty grade on a curve, I would be extremely hesitant to consider a candidate with less than a 3.4 GPA, especially if the student didn't just finish the class.  As far as course grades are concerned, while I am a fan of earning an A- or higher, the biggest concern to me would be ensuring that the student possesses a reasonably comprehensive working knowledge of the material for the courses they will support. If it's been a year or so since they took the course, chances are that they're rusty on the material. You also want to ensure that the curriculum hasn't changed substantially in the intervening time. If either case supplies, then I would give the candidate an opportunity to take some time to review the new material, meet with a current tutor for those classes to discuss it, and then re-test if it is a core course.

For anyone who is looking at a lower GPA, I would encourage you to check with the CRLA to see what their current minimum requirements are if you are considering going for program certification. I seem to recall a 3.3 or thereabouts GPA, but I will admit that it's been a while since I checked.

I know many of you reading this response or thinking that it would largely dry up your pool of tutors. I will admit that it's made it challenging for me to fill certain positions as well in the short term, but I would rather know that our tutors are demonstrating an appropriate and reasonably comprehensive understanding of and ability to relate the material than go with someone who is likely to make common mistakes or hit the tough parts of a class and suddenly feel like they are in over their heads. I saw these outcomes a bit too frequently before applying the standards. I'm not saying that I didn't see them again afterward, but the assessments coupled with their grades gave me a good sense of when it was likely to occur so that we could pair them with a more senior tutor and hopefully nip it in the bud upfront or fairly quickly.

PS Tutors who didn't maintain their GPA per our standards received a semester to return to the 3.4-no punishment.  If they saw a big drop because of something major and made a reasonable progress over the course of the first semester, we extend it to a second term.  Naturally they don't support classes where they don't earn a reasonable grade, but it doesn't impact the classes they are already tutoring. I think in nine years at my last job I let three people go out of 400-500 employees due to grades, and two of them genuinely thanked me for doing it because they felt they needed to dedicate more time to their studies and didn't want an additional job at that point to pull their attention.

Sincerely,
Debbie Malewicki, M. A.
President
Integrity 1st Learning Support Solutions, LLC
446A Blake Street - 1st Floor
New Haven, CT 06515
Office: (203) 800-4100
Cell: (475) 238-5635
E-mail: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
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________________________________
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> on behalf of Megan Keebler <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
Sent: Thursday, March 7, 2019 11:32 AM
To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Tutor Job Requirements

Something that has always been helpful for me when thinking about GPA requirements is reminding myself that they exist not only to protect the quality of our program, but the academic lives of our peer educators. I don't believe that a student with a GPA below 3.0 is incapable of being a fantastic tutor. I don't believe that the quality of their tutoring would be less than that of their peers with higher GPAs. What I do believe is that a student struggling to maintain a 3.0 would most likely not see their grades improved by adding the stress and responsibility of a tutoring job  to their plates as a student. A 3.0 GPA or higher is oftentimes necessary for those students to achieve their goals, and I wouldn't want a job I offer them to jeopardize that. We have to look out not only for the students we serve in our learning assistance centers, but the students we employ! Just my 2 cents!

Megan Keebler
Instructional Specialist, Supplemental Instruction
Instructional Support
Chaffey College, Rancho Cucamonga Campus
Office: VSS 100C
Phone: (909) 652-6498

From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> On Behalf Of Cleary, Dorothy
Sent: Thursday, March 7, 2019 8:12 AM
To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Tutor Job Requirements

HI all,

About 6 years ago I changed the minimum GPA requirement for all peer tutors from a 3.0 to a 3.5 GPA and you must have taken the class at Monmouth University and earned a B or better to be eligible to tutor it. It made a world of difference in the quality of the tutoring being offered and I found that, from a management standpoint, these students are far more organized, model good study skills, and the quality of their tutoring is consistently good. My boss is very supportive of this and it is a standard I maintain. I typically employ 60 peer tutors a semester over a wide range of disciplines.

Best,
Dorothy

Dorothy M. Cleary
Director of Tutoring Services
Center for Student Success, Room CS6
732.571.3542


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From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> On Behalf Of Saul Reyes
Sent: Thursday, March 07, 2019 9:43 AM
To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Tutor Job Requirements

Good afternoon,

We are currently reviewing the tutor job description at my college. Presently, we are requiring all potential tutors to have both a 3.0 GPA and an A or B in the courses that they will be supporting. While those requirements sound reasonable on paper, we are finding that enforcing a 3.0 GPA requirement is significantly limiting our pool of applicants and this is especially so at our colleges Career and Technical Education campuses which support programs such as HVAC, Information Technology, Advanced Manufacturing Technology, and Electrical Assistant.

We are looking at adjusting our job description, and would like feedback on what requirements other CRLA certified colleges have on their tutor job descriptions. If anyone is willing to share their tutor job description and/or requirements, that would be very much appreciated.

Thank you,

Saul Reece Reyes
Center for Learning Excellence Coordinator
South Texas College
Technology Campus, B-150
(956) 872-6186
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

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Emily Janssen
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Mid-State Technical College / Wisconsin Rapids Campus
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