Peer Assisted Study Sessions are an adaptation of a Supplemental Instruction (SI) model, initiated in 1973 at The University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC). It is an internationally renowned academic support and retention program which offers peer mentoring with recognised National and International networks.
PASS was first introduced to Ulster University by the Schools of Psychology, Law and Computing and Intelligent Systems in 2010. Since then other schools have offered PASS. During 2018-19, 14 programmes (5 new) are offering PASS.
The benefits for inclusivity at Ulster are recognised. In 2017 the Widening Access and Community Engagement Sub-Committee (WACESC) endorsed a 3-yr pilot (2017-2020) to embed PASS institutionally for widening access and inclusivity objectives.
Currently, over 1500 institutions (including Ulster) in 29 countries have had Supervisors trained to develop PASS at their institution. PASS has been highlighted externally as good practice by QAA and professional bodies.
A UK National Centre was established in 2009 at the University of Manchester. A European Centre was established in 2016 in Lund University. An Academic Peer Learning Leadership Forum has been created.
Trained student PASS leaders (mentors) usually work in pairs to facilitate weekly timetabled study sessions with students from earlier year groups (mentees).
Students (mentees) set the sessions agenda with their PASS leaders (mentors). PASS leaders share their experiences and facilitate discussions.
PASS is a quality assured peer mentoring programme which adheres to the following 21 principles.
From PASS / SI Supervisor Training, Cork, November 2017
Copyright University of Manchester
"I feel the experience was an extremely good one which I enjoyed and I can see it has boosted my confidence as I can talk to people more easily now than I could before. I also feel the experience will benefit me when it comes to future employability as it shows that I can work well with others as well as alone, that I am approachable and friendly. It also demonstrates that I have good time management skills as I achieved everything I planned."
"Not only does it aim to widen participation by providing a support mechanism aimed at helping students stay in Higher Education but the use of PASS has been shown to enhance academic performance and promote the development of skills and attributes to strengthen employability. This is particularly the case for PASS leaders who are often described as the ‘real winners’ in the process."
C. O'Donnell, (May 2017) PASS Poster Presentation at the Employability: Beyond the metrics Conference at Ulster University.