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Tutoring program receives certification

By Matthew Winston

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 18 - January 30, 1997

Virginia Tech's Office of Academic Enrichment Tutoring Program, under the auspices of the Center for Academic Enrichment and Excellence (CAEE), was recently certified by the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) for its efforts to training students in effective tutoring technique.

The Office of Academic Enrichment Programs (OAEP) provides free tutoring in selected subjects for all undergraduates attending the university. Students interested in becoming a tutor for the CAEE are required to participate in the training. Certification is offered at three levels as defined by CRLA: level one (regular), level two (advanced), and level three(masters).

Each level of certification requires an understanding of specific tutoring topics, an accumulation of actual tutoring hours, and a pre-determined cumulative peer evaluation. Tutors interested in level-one certification must be familiar with eight training topics, accumulate 25 hours of actual tutoring, and have a cumulative peer rating of 3.4. For level-two certification, they must be familiar with four additional training topics, accumulate 50 hours of actual tutoring, and have a cumulative peer rating of 3.7. The master tutor must be familiar with 16 topics, accumulate 75 hours of actual tutoring, and have a cumulative peer rating of 3.8 or better.

"The training program in which our tutors participate not only is essential for providing effective tutoring to students seeking academic assistance," said Ronald Giddings, coordinator of the tutoring program, "The training benefits the tutors as well.

"The information and interaction that occurs during the training, when combined with students' specific knowledge in various subject areas, makes those who participate in the training more attractive as employees." Giddings said. "Tutors who participate in the training essentially come away equipped with additional management and interpersonal skills which are attractive qualities to potential employers."

The training curriculum which includes collaboration with other campus units provides information and discussions on effective tutoring, understanding and working with diverse populations, interpersonal skills, learning styles, group-management skills, study skills, and critical-thinking skills.

Giddings said that students who use CAEE tutors consistently report they are satisfied with the service. "Maybe that says something about what we think is essential for tutors to know about peer tutoring. In looking ahead to the new eligibility policy, academic departments are beginning to participate in the training we provide to prepare tutors."

Other university tutoring programs interested in learning more about the Office of Academic Enrichment Tutoring Program or certification requirements should contact Giddings at 1-4133.