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Student facilitated study sessions win international recognition

15 January 2020
PASS makes an impact at a time of shifting student needs
A program of Peer-Assisted Study Sessions at the University of Sydney has been recognised internationally for its "outstanding impact on student grades and student progression and retention."

The International Centre for Supplemental Instruction at the University of Missouri, in Kansas City, has chosen Sydney's Peer Assisted Student Sessions (PASS) as this year's Outstanding Supplemental Instruction Program.

The Outstanding Program award, which is restricted to universities outside of the United States, seeks to highlight the work of programs that remain impactful in a time of shifting student and institutional needs.

"This recognition is particularly gratifying in the light of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Education's Student Experience Program, which aims to put the student at the centre of all that we do," said PASS Coordinator, Jessica Morr.

"PASS develops the competencies of our facilitators, making them highly sought after candidates in the job market, and fosters a sense of belonging and improves academic outcomes for participating students," Ms Morr said.

PASS is a unique program developed in the United States over 40 years ago which complements traditional tutorials or tutors with sessions that are led by student facilitators and are highly interactive.

The PASS program was introduced to the University of Sydney by the Business School in 2005 and has since expanded to support units of study in the Law School and will extend this year to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

The students-as-partners PASS model at the University of Sydney has 55 student facilitators running more than 200 sessions per week. Ms Morr says the sessions are, "developing skills and understanding of content in subjects that students typically find challenging."

Around 4,000 students attended PASS sessions across the supported faculties in 2019, including a semester-long pilot in the School of Pharmacy.

More than 1,700 universities around the world now offer the PASS program.