The PASS Program uses the fundamentals of supplemental instruction to offer centrally organized and coordinated study sessions for students. PASS Leaders, as successful students in the course, are trained to help students with difficult course content through directed group discussion in a course-specific context.
The Peer Assisted Study Session(PASS) Program at the University of Calgary is modeled after the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s (UMKC) supplemental instruction program, which was developed by Dr. Deanna Martin in 1973. Students who attend PASS can build their understanding of course content by discussing it with other students in the class and can learn valuable study skills which will help them succeed in the course.
PASS is offered in a small selection of "high-risk" courses, which have been targeted for their tendency towards high D and F grades and withdrawals.
PASS Leaders are offered an opportunity to apply for the position if they receive a grade of B+ or above in the course. They are trained to help students study and guide them through the course material by offering helpful tips and alternative ways to tackle the material. Often, PASS Leaders create group activities or worksheets that provide extra practice for difficult concepts.
They don't teach material, and won't give students answers for tests, assignments, or other graded materials. This standard is achieved through observations by the PASS Coordinator and extensive training that PASS Leaders receive before they start running sessions. Please see the attached observation form for a look at how PASS Leaders are assessed.
We ask that faculty respond to PASS Leaders' questions, allow them about 5 minutes of class time for a brief introduction, and help them prepare exam reviews. Since the faculty member is the authority on the course and its material, we encourage you to help and guide the PASS Leaders. Our most successful courses, to date, are those where faculty members have taken a strong interest in promoting PASS to their students.
Yearly reports will be released to participating Faculty members and department heads, which include attendance, student feedback, and grade assessments.
If you would like to learn more, excellent research has been completed by various institutions about the effectiveness of the SI model. One article in particular, by Philip Dawson, provides a well-written meta-analysis on the effectiveness of Supplemental Instruction: