When a peer tutor has competed the above requirements and has tutored for at least 25 hours, he or she achieves certification in accordance with the College Reading and Language Association (CRLA) guidelines. Berkeley College applied for and received certifying status in 2017. In addition to recognizing and positively reinforcing the tutors’ successful work, this organization sets an internationally accepted standard of skills and training for tutors.

Supplemental training
Staff observe peer tutors twice each semester to ensure that they continue to follow best practices. A formal observation takes place after the second evaluation, in which the peer tutor and the director discuss the tutor’s progress and areas for possible improvement.

Peer tutors and staff from the CAS of all seven campuses meet once a semester to discuss best practices, share challenges and triumphs, learn tutoring tips, and participate in team-building workshops. The content of the workshops changes each semester, depending on the area of concern raised by the peer tutors. Past topics have included How to Open and Close a Session, Writing Effective Session Notes, and Dealing with Challenging Students.

Best practices for starting a peer-tutoring program

Advice for starting your own peer-tutoring program
Here are some tips for starting your own program:

  • Consider the academic institution’s goals.
  • Assess and evaluate your resources.
  • Identify the needs of your student population.
  • Include input from faculty and staff.
  • Create a plan to recruit, train, and deploy qualified peer tutors.
  • Include the institution’s plans to communicate the services available to students, faculty, and staff.
  • Build into the plan the ways you will re-evaluate and measure progress.

At Berkeley College, peer-tutor training provides a standard to ensure consistency in the quality and program outcomes. Our peer tutors model academic success and resourcefulness. They understand the diverse student populations they are tutoring and what their fellow students are experiencing, which we believe encourages students who need assistance to seek the services that improve their academic achievements and help them overcome the challenges they face to complete their courses. Our peer tutors are service-oriented. In addition to achieving excellent grades, they demonstrate professionalism, have good people skills, and want to help others.

About the Author:

Patianne Stabile, DA, is director of the Center for Academic Success at Berkeley College in Midtown Manhattan.

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