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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Student tutoring provides unique assistance, boosts math grades

Kevin Ham
From Left, Tiana Garcia helps Mia Roylance edit the rough draft of an essay she wrote for her English class on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in the Cartwright Learning Center at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif.

City College is on the cusp of the end of the semester, and finals are quickly approaching.

To ease the widespread stress of finals, City College offers many resources on and off-campus to help students get to the end of the semester.

Student tutoring is one of the most effective and popular resources. 

“We look at tutoring as a way to learn new disciplines and new skills,” said Vandana Gavaskar, director of Learning Support Services. “We are known all over the state for [tutoring] and people come to us for the kinds of things that we do.”

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City College’s Gateway Tutor program won an award in 2007 for Best Practices in Student Equity.

City College math tutors employ the embedded tutoring model, which means tutors have taken the class and are present both in class and in the math lab. 

The tutor translates the material so it becomes easier for the student to understand. 

In the 2017-2018 academic year, the Gateway to Success Program employed 324 tutors per semester and over 75% of the tutors were student tutors at City College. 

As a former Math 117 student and a current Gateway tutor, Katelin Gumenberg has recent experience of being in the class and understanding which areas students could have trouble with. 

“I think I can re-explain the material better suited to the individual because I get to work with each person one-on-one, better than the teacher since they are more focused on the entire class’s learning style,” Gumenberg said. 

The amount of tutors and students taking advantage of their services varies significantly across departments.

“Math and English have always been very big in tutoring, that’s true across the country and at every college and university,” said Gavaskar. “That’s where we have the most tutors and most students getting support.” 

One of the most popular tutoring resources City College offers is the Math Lab, located in the Interdisciplinary Center.

In Spring 2018, 75.2% of students who attended the math lab passed their math classes, while only 60.2% of non-math lab users passed their classes.

“We have a lot of students who really start working together and get sort of a study group in one class,” said Nina Grimison, a laboratory teaching assistant in the Math Lab. “They usually come in with their Gateway Tutor as well.”

According to sign-in data across campus tutoring centers, math tutoring accounted for over 50% of all tutoring for the semester, as of late October.

“A big moment of pride for me is that everybody knows, values and respects tutoring on this campus,” Gavaskar said. “We see it as a resource for all students.”

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