How can we evaluate the effectiveness of personal tutoring at a national cross-institutional level?

Peter Fitch (AC)
Kathryn Woods (UCL)
David Grey (UKAT)

Monday, April 3, 2023 2:30 PM - 3:15 PM

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Session Outline

Evaluation forms a cornerstone of professional practice and ongoing development of personal tutoring and advising (McGill et al., 2020; UKAT, 2022). However, there is not currently a clear indicator of personal tutoring student satisfaction at a national level for undergraduate or postgraduate taught programmes as provided by sector-wide student voice measures. National surveys (NSS; PTES) explore student perceptions and experiences of personal tutoring indirectly through questions linked to ‘Academic Support’. Individual institutions may include questions on student experience in end programme or module evaluation surveys, continuous module dialogue, bespoke focus groups, or student reviewer schemes (e.g., Stuart et al., 2021; Fitch et al., 2022; Parkin et al., 2022). It can be hard to understand how students interpret and respond to broad survey questions and if their responses are based on personal tutoring experiences or something else. At present, there is also not a clear model that sets out how we might evaluate the effectiveness of personal tutoring in relation to learning outcomes and other learning gain measures (e.g., Grey and Osbourne, 2020; Woods, 2020). These measures are also defined differently in varying institutional contexts.

This ‘Problem Solving Session’ will aim to develop a framework for the evaluation of personal tutoring and advising in the UK; can we (UKAT) define a set of principles and/or approaches to evaluating personal tutoring and advising?

It will draw on the range of experiences and roles of UKAT members across institutions to describe what we as a community are trying to evaluate in terms of personal tutoring and advising (e.g., student/staff satisfaction, engagement, experience, progression, employability, inclusion?). Once a framework of what we are trying to evaluate is established, we will consider the different mechanisms of evaluation and how these approaches might be applied to our framework. A final area to explore might be whether the community believe personal tutoring satisfaction and outcome data should be benchmarked across the sector and, if so, how might this be facilitated.

This session has the potential to support the development of UKAT’s institutional recognition scheme criteria and nucleate a new UKAT Evaluation SIG to continue the dialogue.

Facilitator: Dr Peter Fitch (UCL). Pete works in UCL’s Arena Centre for Research-based Education as an education developer. He is lead for staff development for those in personal tutoring and student support roles across the institution. Pete has extensive experience in using coaching skills, active listening, and educational enquiry to explore educational topics and problem-solving in a safe, inclusive, and engaging environment.

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
C4 - Expected outcomes of academic advising and tutoring
P3 - Commit to students, colleagues, and their institutions through engagement in continuing professional development, scholarly enquiry, and the evaluation of professional practices
P4 - Understand the implications of quality assurance and quality enhancement, and engage in on-going evaluation and development of advising and tutoring practice