INTEGRAL TUTORIALS: CONSTRUCTING A DEVELOPMENT TOOL FOR IMPROVING LEARNING EFFICIENCY FOR FIRST YEAR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
Student tutorials have long played an important role through encouraging scholars’ engagement in the students learning process. The creation of a new University often follows the acceptance of new ideas as viable educational solutions. Bearing in mind that the European Space for Higher Education present major educational challenges, the University Rey Juan Carlos, one of the newest public Universities in Spain, has designed and implemented a Program of Integral Tutorials focused on raising first year students learning performance. The project has been implemented since 2005 and stresses practical interventions including training teachers and encouraging students to join the Program.
The aim of this paper is to examine the introduction of this Program as an innovative practice regarding student tutorials. Drawing from recent studies and literature on tutorial issues, we identify the strategies used by the University in its efforts to introduce this practice through redefining problems, reframing issues, and securing its implementation with the collaboration of volunteer scholars sympathetic with the Program and the involvement and leadership of Faculty authorities. It argues that the tutorials can take on different dimensions depending on each specific student group and it highlights the importance of cooperation in the outcome in order to achieve institutional quality improvement. This study also identifies specific challenges the Program has faced up until now and by using merged administrative data we estimate its effects at raising educational achievement for students. It also encourages the comparison of tutorial arrangements to respond to new educational challenges.