SkillsTutor Boosts Upward Bound Program

For an hour and a half, twice a week, seniors attending the residential Upward Bound program at the University of South Carolina rise and make their way to the computer labs on campus.  SkillsTutor TM , an online instructional program, is the only web-based academic program currently used by students who participate in Upward Bound.

Paul Beasley, Director of Trio, says, "SkillsTutor provides support for our teachers. It diagnoses a students basic skills knowledge and prepares them for taking tests in core subject areas.  Students feel more comfortable with test comprehension and learn new strategies for responding to test questions."

Mr. Beasley continues, "Students have reacted favorably to the program.  I see them focused on completing assignments in the prescribed Math and English areas.  From our experience, some students need the structure of a teacher.  Using SkillsTutor, we can provide both structure and a certain amount of freedom for students to learn in ways that are best for them."

Mr. Beasley plans to continue to integrate SkillsTutor into the coming year's academic schedule and design a supplemental learning program with guidance from the instructors.  "We expect each student to grow to their highest potential," said the Director.

Each class, Beasley generates student progress reports from the SkillsTutor management system.  He says, "This is one of the greatest features of the management system.  I can get a sense of how well each student performs independently by monitoring their time-on-task and completed assignments.  I can sit at my desk and see what activities students are taking and communicate directly with them.  I can see how students are performing at any point of the day during scheduled or non-scheduled hours in our computer labs."

"Our Upward Bound program has ended for the summer," said Beasley.  "I'd like to monitor our students' initiative to go to the public library and log on to SkillsTutor.  If they continue their work, it's a good indication that they will increase their independence and achieve their learning goals without having to be told what to do."

Mr. Beasley will extend SkillsTutor into his Talent Search Trio program to provide guidance to students who are completing tasks associated with college admission.  "We have 1200 students come through this program," said Mr. Beasley.  "Using SkillsTutor we can offer academic services without having to invest in an instructional staff.  If a student needs help in math, SkillsTutor is there to provide learning support and one of our instructors can monitor the student's progress.  SkillsTutor helps us offer a more targeted academic approach for students."

Special thanks to:
Mr. Paul Beasley
Director Trio Programs
University of South Carolina , Columbia , SC