Month: March 2010

A Tutorial on Tutors

Submitted by Lori Chadwick

I’m a Tunxis Community College student who has difficulty with math, and when I took my algebra classes I visited the Academic Support Center regularly for tutoring. Once I was able to master a difficult, frustrating algebra concept after working with a math tutor, it was a huge relief and I was greatly appreciative. One of the reasons I’ve become an English reading/writing tutor is because I enjoy the opportunity to help students as I was helped. It’s great seeing them gain confidence in areas they were previously discouraged in. It’s even better hearing them express the gratitude and relief that I myself had known so well!

The mission of the Academic Support Center is to help students gain the academic skills they will need for college work, and one of the ways they accomplish this is through the tutoring services. The highest demand for tutoring is for developmental math and English courses, although tutoring is offered in other courses as well. Tutoring is free and readily available; tutoring hours are Monday through Thursday 9 AM – 7:45 PM and Fridays 9 AM – 1:45 PM. The number of hours that tutoring is offered necessitates numerous tutors. But who are these many tutors who assist so many Tunxis students?

The tutoring staff consists of peer tutors and professional tutors. Peer tutors are current students of Tunxis. In order to be considered for the position, peer tutors must have completed a minimum of 12 college credits, have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher, and have obtained a grade of at least a B in the courses they are tutoring. Students tutoring English must submit a writing sample for review, and those tutoring math must take an assessment before they are hired.

After an individual is selected to become a peer tutor, the budding new tutor begins a semester-long training program. He or she must observe a professional tutor for a number of tutoring sessions and complete a minimum of six hours of workshops before they can begin tutoring. Once the tutoring begins, peer tutors continue to attend training workshops. The Tunxis Tutoring Program is internationally certified through the College Reading and Learning Association, and peer tutors work hard to achieve 25 tutoring hours and 10 training workshops before they are presented with their certification. Even after they are certified, many ASC tutors are eager to learn more and continue to attend new and innovative workshops.

Professional tutors are more experienced tutors who mentor and lead workshops for peer tutors. Professional tutors are also usually available for help if a peer tutor needs it, whether it is in the middle of a tutoring session or at a less pressing time. They also model tutoring skills to peer tutors during tutoring session observations. Professional tutors hold degrees that range from a minimum of an Associate’s degree to a Master’s degree. They often specialize in tutoring subjects related to the degrees they hold.

After being at Tunxis for several semesters, I have discovered at least two things about the Academic Support Center: 1. getting tutored is incredibly rewarding, 2. so is being a tutor!

Disability Update

Submitted by Amanda Testo and Cathy Felice

Accommodation Extended Testing reached a record high during the Fall 2009 semester totaling 323 testing sessions.

Kudos to faculty and staff for collaborating with disability services in order to provide extended testing accommodations and also for support with alternative testing formats to meet the individual needs of students who are blind and /or physically impaired. Students tested in a variety of formats including online, Braille, with screen reader software technology, and with the assistance of traditional readers and scribes.

In addition, now that course outlines and assignments are more and more available electronically, students who rely on the use of adaptive technology can now receive and access information with greater ease and independence. For example, one of our students who is blind was so appreciative to receive an essay with the instructor’s comments (scanned and sent to her email) the same day as the other students. This connection and inclusion in the learning process is the Tunxis difference.

If you are working with a student who requires or would benefit from alternative testing formats, please contact Cathy Felice (cfelice@txcc.commnet.edu) or Amanda Testo (atesto@txcc.commnet.edu) to discuss accommodation recommendations and/or appropriate options.