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Peer-Assisted Learning — PAL

Peer-Assisted Learning at the Academic Succes Center, Clemson Univeristy

Information for Students

Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL) is the new name for the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program. Only the name has changed. The role of the leaders and the sessions remain unchanged.

  • What is Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL)?

    Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL), formerly called Supplemental Instruction (SI), is a free, peer-led program for students in historically challenging undergraduate courses. The goals of PAL sessions are to give students strategies for mastering course content and to help them become more confident, independent learners. PAL leaders conduct active, collaborative sessions to help students master a variety of subjects.

  • What courses are supported by PAL sessions?

    We support courses with which significant numbers of students have experienced difficulty in the past. These courses typically include:

    • Accounting 2010, 2020
    • Biology 2220, 2230
    • Chemistry 1010, 1020, 2230, 2240
    • Chemical Engineering 2110
    • Civil Engineering 2010
    • Mechanical Engineering 2010
    • Mathematics 1020, 1040, 1060, 1070, 1080
  • When are PAL sessions held?

    We offer eighty-minute PAL sessions twice a week. Find the PAL schedule for your course here: https://sites.google.com/a/g.clemson.edu/si/. If you cannot attend the session for your particular section, you are welcome to attend a session for a different section. The leader for your section will also post worksheets here: https://sites.google.com/a/g.clemson.edu/si/ .

  • Who are the PAL leaders?

    PAL leaders are upper-class undergraduate students who have already earned an A or B in the course they are supporting. They have an average cumulative GPA of 3.7. PAL leaders attend class lectures with students to hear the material the instructor presents and the questions students ask. They then facilitate two study sessions each week on the course content.

    PAL leaders can assist you by:

    • using collaborative learning activities to review material, practice problem-solving skills, and helping you to assess what you’ve learned.
  • How can I benefit most from PAL?

    Schedule your time so that you attend at least one session each week. Students who attend six or more PAL sessions generally earn a higher percentage of As and a lower percentage of Ds or Fs than students who never attend a PAL session.

    Before you come, you can benefit by:

    • attempting your homework
    • completing reading assignments
    • bringing your textbook and class notes
    • preparing questions about course content you're having difficulty understanding


    While you’re at the session, you can benefit by:

    • staying for the entire session
    • actively participating in discussions and activities
    • communicating with your PAL leader about what you want to learn
  • Who attends PAL sessions?

    Students take advantage of PAL sessions to further their learning and understanding of the course concepts. Some students attend sessions because they have aspirations to enroll in professional or graduate school and are striving to make an A in the course. Other students who may be struggling in the course attend PAL to increase their understanding and mastery of the course content.

    • Total number of 2014-15 PAL session contacts: 36,843
    • Total number of 2014-15 courses supported: 35
    • Percentage of students enrolled in a PAL-supported course who attended at least one PAL session: 51.8%
  • What are students saying about PAL?

    According to students, PAL is:

    • Essential: “[PAL] for me is not optional, but a MUST!”
    • Productive: “[It involves] studying efficiently and not wasting time.”
    • Collaborative: “It is…helpful to see how other students approach problem solving.”
    • Self-empowering: “The leader really helped me understand problems by not just giving me the answer but letting me think about ways of solving the problems.”
  • Why should I take advantage of PAL?

    Data show that participation in PAL sessions can positively impact your grades. On average, students who attend six or more PAL sessions during a semester achieve a higher percentage of As and Bs than non-participants and a lower percentage of Cs, Ds, Fs, and Ws than non-participants:

    • DFW rate for students who attend six or more sessions: 14.9%
    • DFW rate for students who attend zero to five sessions: 28.9%