Peer Assisted Study Scheme (PASS)
PASS started at the University of Brighton in 2009 and we currently train approximately 130 students annually in peer leadership, providing support to around 1,400 first-years across 48 modules.

For more information, contact Catherine McConnell - Senior Lecturer in Learning Development

Video: Ask Brighton - PASS Scheme

What does the scheme entail?

There are several peer learning schemes at Brighton: PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) is a student-led initiative where issues relating to course material and student life can be discussed in a friendly, informal environment with peers and trained volunteer student facilitators.

PASS provides an opportunity for students to make new friends whilst studying in small group sessions with approximately 10-15 students and 2 student leaders.

It’s a safe place to ask questions and improve confidence.

Currently there are approximately 130 PASS Leaders trained annually, across 9 Schools.

The Assignment Support Team (AST) in the School of Education involves a minimum of four final year, or Masters, students employed as trained mentors.

The mentors provide 30 minutes of academic writing support to first and second year students.

The writing skills include: assignment structure, writing style, referencing, and engaging with literature.

Mentoring sessions are provided either face to face, via email, FaceTime, or Skype, as we have many distance learners who need to access the scheme.

What support do you get from the University?

The PASS scheme is financially supported through OFFA funding, and in some schools is match-funded through staff time, and student ambassador roles that help coordinate the schemes locally.

The Assignment Support Team was initially funded by the University of Brighton Learning and Teaching Scholarship Fund. It is now funded by the School of Education.

What are the motivations behind the scheme?

The PASS scheme was introduced in 2009/10, as a pilot. The need for the Assignment Support Team (AST) was identified by the Student Support and Guidance Tutor, to meet the needs of all students and to complement the PASS group sessions.

The School of Education staff were mindful that the proposed changes to the Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA) funding, would mean that even students with dyslexia would no longer be able to have funded one-to- one support.

The AST is seen as an inclusive practice model, that helps a significant number of students on a range of education courses.

Key benefits to the student

Since starting PASS here at Brighton in 2009/10, we have been told by hundreds of students how rewarding an experience being a PASS Leader has been to them.

Students report on the satisfaction gained from helping others, revising course material from their first year, making friends across year groups and working in partnership with their peers and staff.

Students have also said that being a PASS Leader has improved their personal and professional development, enhancing their self-confidence and a wide range of employability skills.

The Assignment Support Team organisers collected feedback from the mentees who had access the scheme.

It was established that this support has positively impacted on their confidence levels and assignment grades.

As a group, the AST mentors said that being members of the AST has been beneficial to their own academic work, and their confidence in writing.

Key benefits to the University

Both PASS, and AST, have seen positive impacts to the student experience and sense of belonging to their learning community.

The University of Brighton has recognised the importance of student engagement as a top-level priority, through the University’s Strategy ‘Practical Wisdom’.

In addition, the development of a ‘Student Engagement Plan’ is seen as a commitment to investing in schemes such as peer learning.

The University of Brighton was awarded Silver in the recent Teaching Excellence Framework, and the feedback given by the TEF assessing panel made reference to evidence of personalised learning and support' with students from diverse backgrounds, particularly supported pre- entry and throughout the first year of study, which secures high levels of engagement and commitment to learning and study from students.