Learning assistants (LAs) serve as peer educators by supporting instructor implementation of active learning during class sessions in high-enrollment courses and facilitating study sessions outside class time. In these roles, LAs engage students in high-impact practices (HIPs) such as collaborative work, problem-solving, and the development of study skills that promote mastery of content and skills knowledge.
In 2015, through The Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT), CSU initiated a program intended to pilot the use of LAs in an effort to create transformative learning environments that would promote improvements in academic achievement. TILT modeled CSU’s program after CU-Boulder’s LA program, which includes four key components. However, at CSU not all instructors implemented all four components. As a result, no statistically significant difference in course grade averages were found between students in CSU courses staffed with LAs and those in courses without LAs. Using all four components of the CU-Boulder LA model may be essential to achieving the improvements in academic performance.