Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Pamela Nickels

Second Advisor

Jesse B. Harris Jr.

Third Advisor

Terry Varney Freerks


Studies involving the use of small groups as an academic tool have indicated success in the student's academic and social advancement. It is a widely held belief that self-concept or self-esteem is involved centrally in the learning process either as a contributing cause or an important outcome (O'Dell, Rak, Chermont, & Hamlin; 1994). According to systems theorists the implementation of group intervention will allow an increase of self-concept which constitutes a first order change (Bateson, 1972; Watzlwick, Weakland & Fisch, 197 4; Beckvar & Beckvar, 1991). Students who participate in an academic support group which results in an increased grade point average will not change the system of calculating grades; they will, however, change their individual perception of the system and thus engage in behaviors which result in a higher grade point (Bateson, 1972; Beckvar & Beckvar, 1991; Maltz, 1969).

The goal of the following research was to indicate that at risk students who participate in an academic support group as well as individualized mentoring will achieve a statistical, positive difference in their current grade point average. Several participants achieved as much as an entire grade point difference to the positive. After a review of the literature a control group and a test group was selected from a group of at risk students. All of these students selected had a grade point average of below 2.00 on a 4.00 scale. The study was conducted over two consecutive semesters. After which a random sample of the grade point averages both the control group and the participant group was drawn and subjected to a t-test. The hypothesis that a significant positive change in the grade point averages of the participant group was supported.

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