Evaluation of an elective academic assistance course
Randall, Sally Nohlgren
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This study examined an elective academic assistance class. Four goals guided the study. The first goal was to investigate differences in the academic performance of students who had completed an academic assistance course and matched students who had never enrolled in the course. The second goal was to examine the difference in selfregulated learning behaviors between the same two groups of students. The third goal was to examine the perceptions held about the course by students who had completed the course. The fourth goal was to investigate how students transferred the strategies learned in the course to their subsequent reading-intensive courses. Two groups of participants were studied: students who took the elective course the first semester of their freshman year and students who were on academic probation the semester they took the course. Data collection included academic performance indicators accessed through the university s student record system and two surveys and one inventory completed by students. Findings were analyzed by goals. First, multiple indicators of academic performance resulted in inconclusive findings about the performance of students who completed the course compared to students who did not enroll. Second, there seemed to be no difference in strategic learning behaviors between the two groups on a delayed measure. Third, students responses indicated that they found more value in the instructional components that focused on specific study strategies than the affective components. Fourth, students indicated that, after a year or more, they were continuing to use many of the strategies when they studied for their subsequent courses. An analysis of students strategy use and grades in their targeted reading courses indicated that students who were able to analyze the academic task and students who implemented the strategies on a daily or weekly basis made the highest grades.