Community Colleges' Program Helps Students Help Each Other

Article excerpt

Officials at two area junior colleges are crediting an innovative approach with helping beginning students master college courses.

The program, called supplemental instruction, allows students in some classes to attend additional sessions taught by students who have successfully completed those courses. The Meramec and Florissant Valley campuses of the St. Louis Community College have supplemental instruction programs this semester.

Richard Black, president of the Meramec campus, said the program "is helping students succeed and stay in and successfully pass courses that previously had very high dropout rates."

Gwen Nixon, who administers tutorial services at Florissant Valley, said success rates rose by 10 percent last semester in classes where supplemental instruction was offered.

Supplemental instruction is targeted at courses in which 30 percent or more of the students withdraw or get grades of D or F. These courses include American history, economics, accounting, college algebra, chemistry and biology.

Nixon said the volunteer program was open to all students beginning in the first week of classes. Students who have completed the classes with a grade of B or better are employed to lead the sessions. …