Instructional Science

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 159-173

First online:

Peer Support: Relations between the context, process and outcomes for the students who are supported

  • Paul AshwinAffiliated withInstitute for the Advancement of University Learning, University of Oxford

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In this paper an investigation of the outcomesof a Peer Support scheme for the students whoare supported is reported. It was found thatattendance at Peer Support sessions waspositively and significantly correlated toacademic performance. This relationship wasfound even when prior levels of academicperformance were controlled for. However, itwas also found that students who attended PeerSupport sessions adopted less meaningorientated approaches to studying over thecourse of the academic year. It is argued thatthis is an indication that the quality of thelearning of these students fell. Qualitativeevidence suggests that this change in approachwas in response to an increased awareness ofthe assessment demands of the course and thatthese students had become more strategicallyorientated in their approach to studying as aresult of their attendance at Peer Supportsessions. It is argued that these resultssuggest that the outcomes and operation of thisPeer Support scheme were influenced by thecontext in which it operated. Two implicationsof these findings are discussed.

approaches to studying further education Peer Learning peer support Supplemental Instruction (SI)