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What is A_STEP?

Academic Student Tutorial and Excellence Programme (A_STEP) was first established in 2007 and was known as the New Academic Tutorial Programme (NATP). The programme is tasked to provide academic support to the students of the University of the Free State. Tutorials are available in all faculties, excluding the Faculty of Theology. A_STEP has a different approach to tutorials which can be summarised in the following:

  • Providing support to ‘high risk’ modules, that is modules which have a history of high withdrawal rates and low success rates, an average success rate of 50% or less (this also varies according to every faculty’s respective performance targets), and modules with a high academic pitch.
  • Ensuring that the tutors who are employed are trained and equipped with peer facilitation skills and other student engagement approaches.
  • Offering voluntary tutorials that accommodate all types of students.
  • Focusing on small group facilitation that promote learning communities among students

This programme has grown from two faculties to all faculties, except Theology, across the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses; it further branched out to a residence tutorial programme as well as providing one-on-one tutorial support to students with disabilities in partnership with the Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS). The programme (A_STEP) provides those who frequently attended tutorials a better chance of improving their final marks and cope well with the rigor of mainstream courses. Moreover, A_STEP aims to produce quality graduates and develop a new generation of academics who are skilled in teaching and learning.

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