Hundreds of Rend Lake College students each year take advantage of the college’s extensive tutoring program, helping themselves reach their goals of graduation or transfer to a university.
According to information supplied by RLC’s Student Transfer and Retention Support Director Julie Mumbower, 361 students were tutored during the 2002-2003 fiscal year. There were 2,088 contact hours recorded in a total of 97 courses tutored.
On average last year, 63 percent of tutored students improved their grades and 16 percent maintained the grades they had.
Of the 361 students tutored, 90 graduated and 193 returned to Rend Lake College to continue their educations.
Approximately 47 percent of these students maintained a grade-point average between 2.0 and 2.9, 37 percent had GPAs between 3.0 and 3.9 and 2.5 percent received perfect 4.0 averages. Overall, 86 percent of the students maintained a 2.0 GPA or better.
Rend Lake College initiated campus-wide tutoring in 1997, although tutoring in some programs had been available prior to that time, according to Vice President of Student Services Mary Roe. Limited tutoring for career-technical students started in Fall 1991.
In the 2001 fiscal year, 439 students took advantage of tutoring; 386 students used the service in 2002. In reality, the 2003 numbers likely are closer to the 2001 total because some tutored students may not have been recorded during this year’s implementation of a new system to track tutored students.
"I think it has been a great program and it will continue," said Mumbower. She said one of the duties of her department is to inform students in the classrooms about the availability of tutoring, but she is delighted to see that the class instructors are not only informing their students about tutoring, but encouraging them to take advantage of it.
"Students know about it earlier and they are hearing it more often," Mumbower said of the tutoring assistance. She said program officials are continuing to fight the "stigma" that students sometimes feel when they ask for help. "We’re showing them they are not the only ones who need help," she said.
Another program the college continues to encourage and promote is study groups, Mumbower said. These monthly study gatherings, open to all RLC students, continue to grow. They are held in the North Oasis at the Ina campus and college faculty often come to help.
Several people also have volunteered their time to take on specific tutoring sessions, such as faculty members Steve Holman in Biology and Debbie Benns in Nursing, student tutor Diane Corbitt in Criminal Justice and staff member Rhonda Carlton in Mathematics, among others. Mumbower said she believes other volunteer tutoring occurred that was not documented.
In evaluations by the tutored students, 85 percent of the tutors were rated "excellent" and 12 percent were rated "good." Comments from students on the evaluations included:
**"I probably wouldn’t have finished with a transferable grade without tutoring."
**"I’ve never gotten anything better than a C my whole school life and now I have an A."
**"Thoroughly helped me understand this subject. Without her, I would have been at a loss."
**"I really appreciate his help and attitude toward me."
Tutoring is a free service available to all Rend Lake College students and is designed to help them in their class work and to prepare for tests. For more information, contact the STARS Office at (618) 437-5321, Ext. 1236, or toll-free (in-district only) at 1-800-369-5321.