STEP into success

By: Kitiana Adams, Staff Writer

The STEP program has been promoted by word of mouth thus far, but soon will be included on the tutoring website.

It’s every college student’s goal to succeed through their academic career, and to achieve it, they’ll search for the resources that will assist them.

The STEP program, also referred to as embedded tutoring, offers supplemental assistance to students that will allow them to succeed in their coursework and college life at large. The program’s objective is to provide equal learning opportunities for students and to address retention and attrition rates. A tutor will spend time in class to become familiar with the course content in order to assist students, and develop a relationship with them–spending time with them outside of class, and hosting one-on-one tutoring and workshops.

“There is a lot of data which shows that embedded tutoring programs increase student success, retention, and persistence. We wanted to make sure that the students at Valley have this opportunity,” said Holly Batty, a full-time English faculty member and Coordinator of the STEP program.

Batty explained that the program came about because of the Student Equity grant that was given to the college by the state to close the achievement gap for disproportionately impacted  students. The coordinators of the Academic Resource Center wanted to bring back embedded tutoring at Valley, and the Equity Grant made it possible. Now the funding is coming from additional grants, such as the Basic Skills Student Outcome Transformation grant.

Although STEP has significantly grown since it started in Spring of 2015, this isn’t the first time Valley has had such a program. Years ago, Valley had a program that was similar to STEP- Supplemental Instruction, however the funding for it disappeared. Valley was then given an additional grant that helped start a new embedded tutoring program called TIP but funding for this program also dried up after a year.

Some of the tutors who participate in the STEP program are either referred by instructors or are found through other sources like The Office of Institutional Effectiveness, where a list of successful students can be found.

Teodor Balog, a full-time student, is one of the newest tutors in the STEP program, focusing on Biology and Anatomy courses. Balog joined the program in spring of 2016 but was a general tutor before. He explained that he’s present most of the time in students’ classes and assists the teachers by walking around to see if students need guidance in their work.

“You’re there, you’re acting as a teacher, but I really want to avoid that because some students build a wall up, so they’re more free if I’m more of a student just like them,” Balog said.

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