On Mon, 28 Jul 1997, Bruce A. Myers wrote:

> Many have argued, on this list and elsewhere, that SI has done a poor job
> of accounting for motivation when making claims of effectiveness.  I
> don't believe that to be true.  SI does not claim that non-motivated
> students will do better than motivated students given SI.  That is
> ridiculous!
> What SI says is this, given a population that is similar to begin with
> <Bassd on GPA, placement tests, pre-req, etc..) SI can help a student
> increase his or her performance if the student participates in the
> program.  Who is going to participate?  The motivated.  The point is
> this--where would that motivated student have gone if SI was not there?
> SI claims to be an effective outlet for that student.  I view it as my
> job to motivate the students to attend.
> On a somewhat related topic.  We recently completed an SI pilot in a
> College Algebra course.  Our results were consistent with the national
> results in that our SI participants performed at about one-half letter
> grade higher than non-participants.  Tutoring was also available for
> that course so I was interested in comparing the students that attended
> SI with the students that attended SI and also received tutoring.  I was
> a little surprised to find that the SI+tutoring group performed lower
> than the SI alone group.  I am working with a small sample size so it is
> difficult to draw any conclusions.  The SI+tutoring group had a lower
> average math placement score than the SI only group.  I suspect
> therefore, that the SI+tutoring group was in need of the extra boost.
> Both groups performed higher than the group which received no tutoring
> or SI (only four students received tutoring without SI).
> I am curious if any of you have experienced a similar result, and if so,
> how you interpreted the result.

You mentioned almost everything in your study except how the tutoring-only
students scored.  Was this because there was so small a sample?  I'd be
interested in that comparison as well.  I've been following the SI
discussion, but haven't (until now) butted in because I don't know enough
about the SI philosophy to avoid sticking my foot in my mouth!  I do,
however, agree that BOTH SI and tutoring (and whatever else it takes)
ought to be readily available to students, and that a way has to be found
to address not only the motivated student but the unmotivated one as well!

Thanks to all who contributed to this thread.  Now I won't feel like such
a nimno when someone mentions SI!

Peggy Keller
Lead Learning Assistant for English
Assistance Centers for Education
Department of Adult and Developmental Education
Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute
525 Buena Vista SE
Albuquerque, NM  87106

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To paraphrase Mae West, "It ain't the students in my life, it's the life
in my students" that makes me glad to come to work each day!