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Peer Support Community: Peer Assisted Study Sessions

Peer learning and mentoring schemes have been established in various departments across the University of Hull for a number of years. PASS is one formal scheme which has been in operation in some departments since 2012, and which is coordinated by the Library alongside the departments. Other schemes have been introduced, such as pastoral schemes and schemes to aid transition for foundation year students. Some examples are listed here and if you run your own scheme and would like to showcase it in this guide then simply contact us.

What is PASS?

PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) is an established initiative within the University, supported by the Skills Team. PASS involves higher year student volunteers working in pairs with small groups of first year students in weekly timetabled sessions.  PASS is derived from Supplemental Instruction (SI) which was developed in 1973 at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, US. PASS is an internationally recognised scheme and has been proven to be successful in many institutions and disciplines. The SI model was adapted for UK higher education institutions in the early 1990s. The European Centre for PASS Centre at Lund University supports a network of institutions that run PASS, including the University of Hull.

How PASS works

Students are recruited and trained as PASS Leaders to facilitate peer learning in timetabled sessions. PASS is discipline based and is usually attached to a challenging first year module. The leaders don’t re-teach material; they help first year students work together using facilitation strategies specifically designed for PASS.

PASS Leaders help scaffold student learning by helping facilitate their understanding of a topic. They are trained to ask probing questions to encourage students to build knowledge and understanding between them and to tease out areas where further help may be needed.

PASS Leaders hold weekly debrief meetings with the academic to feedback on any concepts students may have found difficult that week. This helps the academic to prepare tailored feedback for the students.

What PASS leaders do

PASS Leaders work in pairs to facilitate weekly study sessions for less experienced students.

  • Support less experienced students
  • Use PASS techniques to get students talking
  • Design learning activities to encourage student interaction
  • Use facilitation skills to help students find the answer themselves
  • Share their own study experiences
  • Do not teach – instead PASS Leaders use facilitation

What students say

What do students say about PASS?

Here is what our students say about our PASS programme:

"PASS has made me feel welcome in the University in the first three weeks"

"The PASS leaders were helpful and easy to approach"

"PASS is very helpful and removes a lot of anxiety about exams"

"The PASS leaders were a good influence to do well on the course"

"PASS helps you gain a better understanding of the subject"

"Brilliant for developing new skills that are great for a CV. Helped massively with building my confidence!”