Senior Student Tutor (SST) workshops and their impacts upon first year examination performance

Martin Eaton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Undergraduate intake into the School of Environmental Sciences, Ulster comprises students studying honours degree programmes in environmental science, geography and marine science, and students following a two-year non-honours Associate Bachelors degree (ABD) in environmental studies. Longitudinal induction sees first year students interacting with studies advisers and senior student tutors in small group activities. The main aim of the SST workshops is to help level four students prepare for their end-of-semester, three hour long, modular examinations. This case study outlines the organisation and rationale for this peer-mentoring scheme and determines its impact (in quantitative and qualitative terms) upon first year examination performance. Results reveal a positive cause and effect relationship between workshop participation and subsequent success. It is argued that Higher Education faculty suffering from student progression problems traceable to weaknesses in examination performance could benefit from adopting this locally controlled, low cost, small-scale, peer-mentoring model.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)105-114
    JournalPerspectives on Practice and Pedagogy
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Sept 2011

    Bibliographical note

    Reference text: Ashwin, P. (2002) Implementing peer learning across organisations; the development of a model, Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 10, 3, 221-231.

    Boud, D., Cohen, R. and Sampson, J. (eds) (2001) Peer learning in higher education: learning from and with each other, Kogan Page Ltd, London.

    Capstick, S. (2004) Benefits and shortcomings of peer assisted learning (PAL) in higher education: an appraisal by students, Peer assisted learning conference. February.

    Chirnside, A. (2007) Promoting student mentoring, in UUC (University of Ulster at Coleraine). Student transition and retention conference. Coleraine, UK, 14-15 June.

    Condell, J. and Yogarajah, P. (2010) Evaluation of Peer Assisted Learning in Mathematics (PALM) for second year undergraduate mathematics, Perspectives on Pedagogy and Practice, 1, 71-83.

    Glynn, L.G., MacFarlane, A., Kelly, M., Cantillon, P. and Murphy, A.W. (2006) Helping each other to learn – a process evaluation of peer assisted learning, BMC Medical Education, 6, 18, 1-9.

    Hurley, M., Jacobs, G. and Gilbert, M. (2006) The basic SI model, New Directions in Teaching and Learning, 106, 11-22.

    Longfellow, E., May, S., Burke, L. and Marks-Maran, D. (2008) ‘They had a way of helping that actually helped’: a case study of a peer assisted learning scheme, Teaching in Higher Education, 13, 1, 93-105.

    Maguire, S., Eastwood, D., Wurthmann, S. and Burek, S. (2003) The vertical project, Planet, 14, 33-34.

    Ning, H.K. and Downing, K. (2010) The impact of supplemental instruction on learning competence and academic performance, Studies in Higher Educaton, 35, 8, 921-939.

    Ody, M. (2008) Demystifying Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS), in UUC (University of Ulster at Coleraine). Faculty of Life and Health Sciences workshop, 28 November.

    Packham, G. and Miller, C. (2000) Peer-assisted student support: a new approach to learning, Journal of Further and Higher Education, 24, 1, 55.
    Parkinson, M. (2009) The effect of peer assisted learning support (PALS) on performance in mathematics and chemistry, Innovations in Educational and Teaching International, 46, 4, 381-392.

    Smith, D. and Norton, B. (2007) Peer support by student learning and achievement mentors, Student transition and retention report, Coleraine: University of Ulster, 1-9. (accessed 05 April, 2011).

    Stout, L.M. and McDaniel, A.J. (2006) Benefits to supplemental instruction leaders’, New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 106, 55-62.

    Tashakkori, A. and Teddlie, C. (2003) Handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioural research. Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage.

    Topping, K.J. (2005) Trends in peer learning, Educational Psychology, 25, 6, 631-645.


    • Examination assessment
    • first-years
    • peer-mentoring
    • senior student tutors
    • studies advice


    Dive into the research topics of 'Senior Student Tutor (SST) workshops and their impacts upon first year examination performance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this