Innovation in teaching and learning is a key component of Georgia Tech’s mission. In alignment with this mission, Georgia Tech provides supplemental instruction (called Peer-Led Undergraduate Study or PLUS) to students in traditionally challenging courses—primarily math and physics courses. The program is administered through the Center for Academic Success. Enrollment and the number of contact hours represent markers of success for PLUS. During fall 2015, 1,640 students participated in PLUS for total of 6,039 visits. During spring 2016, 1,204 students participated for a total of 4,155 visits. Also useful for gauging the impact of this strategy is the percentage of participation for courses in which PLUS was offered. In fall 2015, 33% of students in the courses for which PLUS was offered participated in the program; in spring 2016, 44% of registered students participated.
To measure whether or not PLUS is successful, we are comparing students’ final grades in courses for PLUS regulars vs. non-PLUS participants. Our goal is for regular participants in PLUS (>5 visits) to consistently outperform their peers who do not participate. In both fall 2015 and spring 2016, this goal was achieved. In the fall 2015, 92% of PLUS regular participants (>5 visits) earned a grade of A/B/C/S compared to 85% of their peers in the same classes who did not participate in PLUS. In spring 2015, 94% of PLUS regular participants earned a grade of A/B/C/S compared to 86% of their peers who did not participate. See Appendix H for PLUS grades comparisons.
PLUS is a high-impact strategy that has consistently demonstrated positive outcomes. PLUS has an added advantage of providing leadership opportunities for high-achieving undergraduates who provide instruction during the sessions. PLUS experienced two challenges of note during the 2015-16 academic year. First, due to funding, the number of allotted PLUS offerings was reduced compared to the previous year. Second, changes in the math curriculum at Georgia Tech impacted the hiring of peer leaders for the “new” courses. Regarding the new math curriculum, data collected during 2015-16 will inform the allocation of PLUS resources for 2016-17.