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Examples of Successful Programs

Carsrud (1984) describes an example of a surrogate teaching method in which doctoral students supervised undergraduate psychology students in conducting research projects. One of the major goals of this program was to encourage highly motivated and well-prepared students to become interested in pursuing research through skill development and exposure to first-hand experience. The undergraduates worked closely with the graduate students in designing and implementing the research, and were required to produce a professional-style report at the end of the study. The program was considered a success, based on participants' self-reports. In addition, it was noted that 20 of the 25 undergraduate students entered graduate programs in psychology within one year of graduation. (However, the study lacked a control group of comparable students without exposure to surrogate teaching and it is therefore possible that those who entered graduate school were already graduate school bound.)

A different type of surrogate teaching program was used in an introductory psychology class at Washington State University. Students were given the choice of attending weekly supplemental discussion sessions led by senior undergraduates or participating as subjects in various research projects within the department. Those who opted for the supplemental discussion sessions were assigned to either a maximal group (six students to one tutor) or a minimal group (twenty students to one tutor). Students who were in the tutoring groups performed significantly better on the class exams than did the control subjects who merely served as research subjects. The differences between the minimal and the maximal tutoring groups were not significant.

A reciprocal peer tutoring (RPT) program at California State University, Fullerton has been evaluated extensively (Fantuzzo, Dimeff, & Fox, 1989; Riggio, Fantuzzo, Connelly, & Dimeff, 1991; and Riggio, Whatley, & Neale, 1994). The program requires students in a large introductory psychology course to meet with student partners periodically throughout the course to quiz each other and discuss the main ideas for each unit of the course. Largely a commuter college, the program seeks to increase academic success, as well as to increase the social integration of the students. The program has been highly successful in both respects: when compared to control students who participated in other supplementary activities, RPT participants showed higher academic achievement on unit tests, rated themselves as more satisfied with the class, were better adjusted psychosocially, and frequently used their RPT partner as a supportive resource in the course.

History of Peer Tutoring in the United States
Varieties of Peer Tutoring
Current Research: Is Peer Tutoring Effective?
Examples of Successful Programs
Peer Tutoring at Reed College
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