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Theme: Support Systems and Programs

An evaluation of students' perceptions of a multi faceted support programme in a large, diverse first year class

Cyril Adonis
Department of Psychology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2001, RSA

Student numbers in Psychology One at the University of the Witwatersrand totaled roughly 600 in the past few years. Many of the problems attendant on large class teaching and heterogeneity or diversity of the student population characterize teaching in this class. The adverse effects of these on the academic performance of students are well documented. In order to counter these adverse effects, the Psychology Department at the university has instituted a multi-faceted support programme. This article evaluates the perceptions of first year students regarding the benefits and shortcomings of the programme. Questionnaires were administered to the Psychology One students of 1999. In addition to this, focus group discussions were conducted with five tutorial groups. Results indicated that students perceive the support programme as extremely beneficial. In addition to this, major shortcomings were also reported and suggestions were made with regards to the improvement of the programme

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