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Center for Teaching and Learning

Direct Student Support

Supplemental Instruction in History 27
Jane Wolford


Area of Inquiry

As the History 27 (U. S. Women’s History) Semester Comparison Chart below illustrates, the withdrawal rate for this course from Fall 2006-Spring 2008 averaged 25%. There was a big jump in withdrawals to 35% in Fall 2008, which indicated the need for supplemental instruction support.

Discoveries to Date

I received BSI funding for Spring and Fall 2009 to support bi-weekly workshops for my History 27 students. Students receive a few extra-credit points for attendance. Data from Spring 2009 shows the withdrawal rate dropping below 20% for the first time in years. Approximately 28% of History 27 students attended on a regular basis, with more than 50% attending at least one or more sessions in Spring 2009.

For Fall 2009, 30% of my students are regular attendees. Eighty- seven students took my first midterm in mid-September, and eighty-five took the second midterm in mid-October. The workshop topics tie into what we are working on in class. The focus for the first session is organizational skills and note-taking. The next week we discuss effective strategies for multiple-choice test-taking. I have created ten “dummy” questions from material covered in class and we go over each one as a group, discussing why some answer options are incorrect, and how to reason through to the correct answer. By the third week we begin scaffolding information from an in-class video and a sixteen-page reading assigned as homework. Students use the scaffold chart to write their first in-class essay. In the next session we use the Reading Apprenticeship metacognitive “think-aloud” strategy to make sense of a slave narrative that students are quizzed on in class. Our midterm review session is a quiz bowl game, complete with buzzer system and prizes.

Future Applications

I will offer the workshop as a one-unit CR/NC course in Fall 2010 as General Studies 4915. While the workshop content will remain the same, this is different from previous semesters. Students will enroll and attend on a weekly basis for credit. Our students already have impacted school/work schedules, and I don’t know if this will draw enough students to merit a slot on the schedule. If students don’t/won’t take the time to enroll and attend, it will be difficult to make the case to keep this course in the curriculum. I plan to offer this course in Fall and Spring, and then determine its future based on enrollment.

I have received funding from Title III/BSI to offer workshops for my two History 7 sections for Fall 2010. As with History 27, these workshops will be held outside of class on a weekly basis with students receiving a few points of extra-credit for attendance. I hope to receive funding to continue these workshops for Spring 2011 so that I can collect and analyze data on the impact of supplemental instruction on History 7 student success/persistence rates.

History 27 Workshop Attendance/Activity Log for Spring 2009

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