PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions)* is a scheme, whereby second year students facilitate (not teach) study sessions for first year students. They may go over problems or lecture notes in these sessions. Following a three day course in Plymouth this week I am now a recognised trainer for PASS leaders. The training was run by colleagues from the national PASS centre at the University of Manchester.
PASS is well-established at the University of Brighton where I work, but I am personally new to the scheme. There is strong evidence that students who attend PASS sessions perform better in their assessment than students who do not attend. The PASS scheme has 21 principles in total, but the following points are particularly worthy of note.
- PASS sessions are voluntary. First year students do not have to attend the sessions.
- PASS sessions are student-led, not by university staff.
- PASS sessions are, the words of the scheme’s developers “non-remedial”. These are not sessions for students who are struggling, behind or do not have the necessary skills to succeed otherwise. PASS sessions are for everyone.
- PASS sessions are facilitated, not taught. Second year students are not being used to teach content, give answers or assess students.
- PASS leaders meet regularly with the course leader or module leader to feedback from the PASS sessions.
*Some institutions call the scheme Peer-assisted learning or PAL. The founders of the scheme at the University of Missouri-Kansas City call it Supplemental Instruction or SI.