Online tutoring resource aids equity

Initiative grants one-time funding to improve campus-wide assistance

By Asma Alkrizy, Opinion Editor

While Contra Costa College’s Equity Plan attempts to increase the overall course completion rate for students, the Campus-Wide-Tutoring program continues helping students improve their academic performances.

“We have provided additional support and increased the number of students accessing CWT for the last two years,” assistant tutoring Coordinator Brandy Gibson said. “We have also broken down our tutoring services  by Peer-Led Team-Learning program (PLTL) and drop in tutoring so we can see which one of our initiatives is more successful.”

CCC’s Equity Plan took steps and extensive measures to sustain and focus on activities leading to student success for fall 2015, providing tutoring services with campus-wide supports to help students reach high academic standards.

In fall 2015, the Equity Plan provided support to activities promoting educational equity with a major focus on raising the student’s course completion rate.

However, the support programs that provided equity funding  from the state went to tutoring services, the main base on campus for student success.

The Equity Plan paved the way for more advancements in tutoring resources, launching the creation of more helpful tutoring services, such as online tutoring, walking tutoring and PLTL.

The substantial support allowed the College Skills Center to hire a minority retention specialist as part of the completion and success plan.

The minority retention specialist keeps track of student retention rate and how tutoring services is reflected in student’s  academic performances.

In supporting equity, with an emphasis on campuswide tutoring, the number of students accessing tutoring services has increased over the last two years with visible results in their cademic performances. 

“Last semester I almost thought of dropping Math 120 because it was very difficult and confusing,” business and administration major Emilio Perez said. “However, I reconsidered my decision when I spent most of my time in the skills center. I ended up passing the class.”

CCC’s Equity Plan data shows students performances from 2013-14 who use CWT with 6.5 percent of the student population accessing tutoring services. However, in 2014-15 the percentage of students receiving tutoring help increased by 13 percent and by 16 percent in the 2015 fall semester.

Gibson, as part of the Equity Plan Task Force, is responsible for comparing data from spring and fall semesters.

“We had about 200 student accessing both math and English (tutoring services),” she said. “As of fall 2015, we had a total of 890 students accessing tutoring. We increased quite a bit from 200 to nearly 1,000.”

The Equity Plan data also showed the percentage of students using the free tutoring opportunity are more likely to successfully complete their courses.

Last year’s PLTL program showed outstanding outcome gearing toward a successful course completion, with 73 percent of students showing up to PLTL sessions completing their courses.  In contrast, 66.7 percent of students who took advantage of drop-in tutoring hours completed their courses while 53 percent students who did not receive tutoring completed their courses.

These results show a difference of student success between students who receive tutoring and those who don’t.

Because of the successful performances of students attending PLTL, the student Equity Plan preferably endorses PLTL program as the most effective tutoring service for students.

However, the Equity Plan recorded data of underrepresented groups from fall 2015 indicate compared to the average group of the student population, the academic performance of several minority groups at the college fall below average.

CCC’s Equity Plan listed the targeted populations, which include Latino, English as a second language, male, and veteran students, indicating  pre-orientation programs and education planning courses need to be met to guarantee their success.

Gibson said the  goal of CWT is to focus on providing outreach effort for these target population to ensure that everyone campus benefit from the tutoring service and “free tutoring” opportunity.

She said aside from student success varying within differing demographic groups, there are many factors that hinder students from successfully completing their courses.

One of the leading factors, Gibson said, is feeling overwhelmed by their part-time course load and work. She said students who are working part time encounter different struggles than full time students who may drop because of having insufficient time to study.

Engineering major Claudia Palacios said she is struggling to balance her chemistry studies with English.

Palacios said she didn’t know how to manage her time properly. “I was working part time when I took (those courses),” she said. “And my grandma also died, so I was emotionally stressed to pick up my grades.”