Evaluation of Peer-Assisted Learning in Mathematics (PALM) for Second-Year Undergraduate Mathematics

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Abstract

This paper discusses key practice issues in the teaching of Mathematics in the School of Computing and Intelligent Systems. A pilot was undertaken in Ulster in Peer Assisted Learning (PALM – Peer Assisted Learning in Mathematics). The use of peer assisted learning in Mathematics at Ulster is a particular example of innovative practice. This type of Supplemental instruction (SI) uses senior students to support the learning of previous year students – in this case we use final year and first year PhD students to support the learning of second year students. The Mathematics module which was used to pilot PALM presents many challenges in terms of delivery, teaching and assessment. Weekly one hour sessions are student led and agenda based but are owned and controlled by the leaders. The use of peer tutoring and small groups to encourage student learning is consistent with the University’s revised teaching and learning strategy. PALM has provided the School of Computing and Intelligent Systems with a valuable approach to improve student pass rates in a difficult subject area. PALM could be readily extended to other analytical subjects across the university.
LanguageEnglish
Pages71-83
JournalPerspectives on Practice and Pedagogy
Volume1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2010

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mathematics
evaluation
learning
student
peer group
first-year student
Teaching
teaching strategy
learning strategy
school
small group
leader
instruction
university

Cite this

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title = "Evaluation of Peer-Assisted Learning in Mathematics (PALM) for Second-Year Undergraduate Mathematics",
abstract = "This paper discusses key practice issues in the teaching of Mathematics in the School of Computing and Intelligent Systems. A pilot was undertaken in Ulster in Peer Assisted Learning (PALM – Peer Assisted Learning in Mathematics). The use of peer assisted learning in Mathematics at Ulster is a particular example of innovative practice. This type of Supplemental instruction (SI) uses senior students to support the learning of previous year students – in this case we use final year and first year PhD students to support the learning of second year students. The Mathematics module which was used to pilot PALM presents many challenges in terms of delivery, teaching and assessment. Weekly one hour sessions are student led and agenda based but are owned and controlled by the leaders. The use of peer tutoring and small groups to encourage student learning is consistent with the University’s revised teaching and learning strategy. PALM has provided the School of Computing and Intelligent Systems with a valuable approach to improve student pass rates in a difficult subject area. PALM could be readily extended to other analytical subjects across the university.",
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AB - This paper discusses key practice issues in the teaching of Mathematics in the School of Computing and Intelligent Systems. A pilot was undertaken in Ulster in Peer Assisted Learning (PALM – Peer Assisted Learning in Mathematics). The use of peer assisted learning in Mathematics at Ulster is a particular example of innovative practice. This type of Supplemental instruction (SI) uses senior students to support the learning of previous year students – in this case we use final year and first year PhD students to support the learning of second year students. The Mathematics module which was used to pilot PALM presents many challenges in terms of delivery, teaching and assessment. Weekly one hour sessions are student led and agenda based but are owned and controlled by the leaders. The use of peer tutoring and small groups to encourage student learning is consistent with the University’s revised teaching and learning strategy. PALM has provided the School of Computing and Intelligent Systems with a valuable approach to improve student pass rates in a difficult subject area. PALM could be readily extended to other analytical subjects across the university.

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