Expansion of Learning Support Services

Learning Support Services (LSS) used student success funds to expand programming, including: Modified Supplemental (MSI) and Small Group Tutoring (SGT); extended the reach of the Early Alert program currently used in BIOL 20A; created a new SGT/MSI Hybrid model; implemented a mentoring program that focuses on 2nd year EOP students in academic difficulty; provided tutoring support for English Language Writing Requirement (ELWR) unsatisfied students (WRIT 20, 21, 23 (previously these courses were not supported by LSS); created an MSI model for Writing 2 that targets students who were ELWR unsatisfied; and offered drop-in services in collaboration with other offices including EOP, Ethnic Resource Centers, and Smith Renaissance students).

In total, with these funds, LSS was able to implement 11 programs in the 2016-2017 academic school year: BIOL 20A Early Alert Tutoring, ELWR Writing Tutoring Support, Writing Tutoring for Upper Division Courses, Bridge Drop-In Writing Tutoring, Good Writers Do Workshop for Writing 2 students, Algebra Skills Workshops, Peer Mentor Program, Hybrid Program, Modified Supplemental Instruction (MSI) and Small Group Tutoring (SGT) expansion, SSC (Slug Success) Implementation, and Professional Development for career staff.

The number of students affected by each program were as follows: MSI and SGT expansion (3,585); Expand the Early Alert program currently used in BIOL 20A (72); Tutor /MSI Hybrid model (303); 2nd year EOP Mentoring Program (88); tutoring ELWR unsatisfied students in Writ 20, 21, 23, (52); MSI model for Writing 2 (45); and expanded drop-in services (48). Students took advantage of the many support services provided by LSS throughout the academic year. With these funds a total of 22,263 students were served by all of the programs in 2016-17.

LSS collaborated with the Student Success Evaluation and Research Center to assess outcomes related to project implementation. Assessment was done through analysis of demographics and course performance (i.e., grade points). This analysis drew from official student records (as opposed to self-report). 

Demographics
Of the 4,417 unique students served, 32% were Latinx/Hispanic, 28% were Asian, 3% were African American/Black, 25% were Caucasian/White, 8% had multiple ethnic backgrounds, and 6% were unknown. Compared to UC Santa Cruz as a whole. Funds supported LSS attendees were more likely to be Latinx/Hispanic, Asian, and African American/Black, and they were less likely to be Caucasian/White. Attendees were also more likely to be the first-generation in their family to attend a four-year university: 44% of attendees were first generation, whereas 40% of UC Santa Cruz’s current undergraduate population is first generation. Likewise, 42% of LSS attendees were designated as EOP eligible, which is greater than the overall campus percentage (38%). Finally, 58% of attendees were women, and UC Santa Cruz’s overall percentage of women is 51%. Taken together, these data suggest that the funds were used to support large percentages of all demographic groups at UC Santa Cruz, but underrepresented minority and first-generation students were more likely to be served.

Course Performance
To assess the relationship between LSS attendance and performance in the corresponding course, we conducted a hierarchical linear regression. Hierarchical linear regression computes a slope coefficient for the relationship between variables, thus allowing us to predict the grade point increase associated with attending one or more LSS session. This technique also allows us to control for other variables, thereby removing their influence on the relationship of interest; this means we can remove the effect of demographic characteristics on LSS attendance and grade points. Hierarchical linear regression is broken into blocks, which allows one to see effects before and after controlling for different variables. Finally, this technique allows us to test for interactions between variables, essentially identifying whether LSS attendance yields larger gains for some demographic groups than others.

Looking at the direct relationship between LSS attendance and course performance (in grade points), each one-hour session attended was related to a .020 grade point increase, which suggests that attending one session per week would translate to a .20 (one fifth of a grade point) increase for the course. After controlling for race/ethnicity, gender, first-generation status, and EOP status in stage two of the model, the effect increased to a .025 grade point increase per session attended. This suggests that because LSS attendees are more likely to come from underserved demographic groups that perform more poorly than their more privileged peers, the gains yielded from attending LSS are partially hidden by the lower baseline performance of these students; controlling for these characteristics reveals the larger grade point gains associated with attending LSS.

Stage three tests for interactions between LSS attendance and demographic characteristics on course performance, or to put it another way, stage three assess whether some demographic groups (e.g., first versus returning generation students) get more out of LSS. All but one interaction term (non-resident by LSS attendance) was non-significant, which suggests that LSS has mostly achieved parity across demographic groups (e.g., all ethnic/racial groups get the same grade point gains from attending). Non-resident students appeared to get higher grade point gains from attending LSS than resident students. Taken together, hierarchical linear regression suggests that  attendees performed better in their classes, and this performance improvement was the same for all demographic groups of interest. 

Collaborators: Biology 20A instructor John Tamkun, writing instructor Sarah-Hope Parmeter, SSERC managing director Samara Foster, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Achievement and Equity Innovation Pablo Reguerín

Lead Contact Name: Charis Herzon
Lead Contact Email: charish@ucsc.edu
Theme: Promoting Academic Excellence