What Learning Assistance Should Be Assessed?

Excerpted from the December 2014 Executive Summary and Paper Commissioned by the College Reading & Learning Association

The term learning assistance covers a broad range of services and academic programming. Martha Maxwell described learning assistance as 'programs that offer academic skills help to all students - from freshmen to seniors and graduate students....' (Piper, 1998, pp.34-35).

Student learning and other outcomes of these services must be assessed, regardless of whether learning assistance is provided in a center bearing that term. As such, learning assistance programs face a number of assessment challenges; with the increasing challenge to provide direct measures of student learning based on outcomes, and indirect measures that capture student's perceptions of their learning. For example, the effectiveness of tutoring can be presented graphically by using percentage differences in the grades of tutored and non-tutored students. The University Learning Center receives data from our Institutional Research and Analytical Studies department to report the following:

Semester  # Attended tutoring 1 x wk or more Sucess rate versus non-tutored classmates
Fall 2013 39 59%
Spring 2014 27 68%
Fall 2014 23 60%
Spring 2015 15 67%
Fall 2015 25 72%
Spring 2016 16 72%

By expanding assessment processes that demonstrate program effectiveness and by reporting positive impact within Cal State Fullerton, we can continue to build strong support for our services.