When Academic Support is Not Enough: Who are the Students Left Behind?

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2022


While most students who seek academic support succeed in their courses, some still fail or withdraw. What can we learn about them? In this study, 6,299 undergraduates were enrolled in courses supported with Supplemental Instruction (SI), a form of peer-facilitated academic support open to students in challenging courses. Mean final course grades and success rates of students who attended SI with different levels of frequency were examined to determine the impact of SI by session attendance frequency. Mean final course grades and success rates of students with potential barriers to success defined in previous literature (underrepresented minority, first-generation, and remedial enrollment) were also examined to assess the influence of such potential barriers. One-way ANOVAs and chi-square analyses reveal that the more often students attended SI and the lower their barrier level, the higher their mean final course grades and likelihood of success in the course. A deeper analysis of the demographics of the 75 students who failed or withdrew despite attendance at 5 or more SI sessions is also conducted and confirms the significance of the barriers that traditionally interfere with student success. Implications are discussed along with suggestions pertaining to how to best support the students left behind.


Communication Studies

Publication Title

Research and Teaching in Developmental Education