South African Journal of Higher Education

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Supplemental instruction in law: a case study in peer tutoring

K B Smuts


Supplemental Instruction (SI) was implemented in three second-year courses in the Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Of the 898 registered students, 152 (17%) attended SI and this group achieved a significantly higher mean course mark than the non-SI group (59.48% and 53.74% respectively; p<0.01). Both groups had similar mean admission ratings and standard deviations (21.96;SD=8.84 and 22.00;SD=8.58 respectively). Analysis of results by educational background, home language and admission rating yielded significantly higher scores for SI groups in all but the ";disadvantaged"; and ";non-English"; groups, while scores in the bottom AR quartile approached significance. Quantitative data were validated by triangulation with student ratings, feedback from leaders and a lecturer interview. All revealed satisfaction with SI.
Results suggested that SI in Law was successful but tended to favour English-speakers and students from educationally advantaged backgrounds. Two areas for further study were identified.

(South African Journal of Higher Education: 2003 17 (1): 166-174)
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