The ACE Advantage

The Ace Advantage

During the 2017-2018 school year, ACE Tutoring and Quiet Study received over 35,000 visits to its location in the lower level of the West Dining Center. Meaning, ACE is an extremely popular academic resource for students who have questions about course material or who want the opportunity to review material with a tutor that has already successfully completed the class. Tutoring is peer-led, appointments are not necessary, and students can visit the center as often as they like. As instructors and staff at NDSU, you may want to note that students who used ACE services in fall 2017 had numerically higher term grade point averages (GPA) (3.10) than students who did not (2.97). If you haven’t already, encourage your students to visit ACE in order to get the extra edge in their courses.

students who used ACE services in fall 2017 had numerically higher term grade point averages than students who did not.

ACE-ing Classes

Faculty can lighten their student visit load, improve student learning, and improve pass rates in classes with help from the ACE Tutoring Center.

NDSU ACE tutor assisting a student at a drop-in tutoring session
An NDSU ACE tutor assisting a student at a drop-in tutoring session.

The most requested tutoring service at ACE is the drop-in service, which allows students to pop in for assistance whenever a tutor is available. Tutors are happy to review concepts and theories from the class, but are careful to keep the students accountable for their own work.

Students are charged a small one-time student fee that covers the cost of tutoring during their freshmen year, but they may use ACE for unlimited tutoring and quiet study throughout their time as an NDSU student. Students seem to value meeting with peer tutors who aced the class themselves and can provide personal insight into basic study techniques for all courses.

Small Groups Work

In the past few years, small group tutoring has become more popular. With small group tutoring, students request to be placed in a group of just five other students and a tutor based on their individual schedules. Each week, each group meets in a reserved space to review course material for 50 minutes.

Students in these small groups have indicated that these weekly groups motivate them to stay ahead in the course as well as give them the opportunity to meet new friends who help them stay accountable and on task.

 only 3.1% of students in the small groups received a grade of D or F or withdrew from the class … for students not attending small groups … 30.9%. 

Recently, the Office of Institutional Research reviewed small group data from Fall Semester 2016 and 2017, using a matched pair analysis, with students being matched on gender, ACT test scores, high school GPA, term, course, and level. This analysis included 324 students enrolled in a variety of classes, including accounting, chemistry, geology, math, engineering, and physics. Their analysis found only 3.1% of students in the small groups received a D, F, or withdrew from the class (DFW rate) if they regularly attended small groups (7 or more per semester). In contrast, the DFW rate for students not attending small groups sat at 30.9%.

This speaks to the impact of the small group environment in encouraging questions and constant review of material. With this in mind, you are encouraged to suggest the small group option to your students, especially if you feel like your student could be at risk of falling behind or need a little extra support outside of regular office hours.

Faculty Tutor Relationship

ACE is a certified tutoring center through the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA), which provides guidelines for tutor selection and standardization for training. Prospective tutors must have received at least a B in the course they tutor and their past professors are contacted in order to provide insight regarding the student’s maturity, dependability, communication skills, and professor’s assessment of the student’s knowledge of the course outside of the posted grade. Tutors must maintain a cumulative GPA above a 3.0 throughout their employment. The current staff of 40 tutors maintains an average GPA of 3.78. Emphasis is also placed on making sure tutors leave their positions with enhanced social skills, leadership development, and a sense of fulfillment due to giving back to others through academic support.

… it is important that members of the faculty are confident with tutors …

You are encouraged to nominate students to apply for these paid tutoring positions, as it is important that members of the faculty are confident with tutors who are assisting with their course. Additionally, meeting with tutors by subject or course to share resources, or guidance can be arranged. If you would like to request assistance with your particular section of the course, contact ACE Tutoring.

Quiet Study Space

Outside of tutoring, ACE has a number of quiet study areas for students looking to work on homework.

Low-Distraction room
An NDSU student taking advantage of a low stimulation study station.

Spaces include a low stimulation room (dark room with cubicles and desk lamps), 10 individual study rooms that can be used a first-come/first-served basis, and several large study rooms for group work. There is also a computer cluster and printer for students looking to write papers or complete online work.

Throughout the day, professional staff make sure that the students are staying on task and keeping the environment quiet and conducive to a low-distraction study space. There are other disability accommodations available to students through the Disability Services office.

Anyone with questions about ACE can contact Betsy Carter, assistant director for learning services, who can be reached at  or 701-231-5554.

Betsy Carter

Betsy Carter is the assistant director for learning services and has worked in Student Success Programs at NDSU since December 2014. She is an NDSU Bison through and through, obtaining all three degrees at NDSU, including a B.S. in psychology (2010), an M.S. in in clinical psychology (2012), and an M.Ed in school counseling (2014). She is a licensed and certified mental health counselor and enjoys volunteering as a counselor through the NDSU Counseling Center.

When not at work, Betsy enjoys cooking, traveling, and she’s always up for trying and learning new things. She lives in West Fargo with her husband and two spoiled cats.

KeywordsInstructional, OTL Blog   Doc ID130927
OwnerLinda C.GroupIT Knowledge Base
Created2023-09-07 10:30:39Updated2023-10-17 08:31:13
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