The University of Brighton first offered PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) to students back in 2009. Since then staff within the University’s Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT) are now recognised within the PASS-SI (Supplementary Instruction) community as leaders in PASS-related research, support and commentary. This page details some of the research carried out by University of Brighton’s CLT team as well as select PASS-SI research articles from colleagues around the world. It is hoped that by accessing and utilising these articles, staff and students who are part of the scheme, and those considering joining the scheme, will be enlightened as to the benefits of PASS-SI participation and the development of effective PASS-SI related practice.

University of Brighton

Chilvers, L. & Waghorne, J. (2018). Exploring PASS leadership beyond graduation. Journal of Peer Learning. 11, 5-26.

‘This research explores the impact of the PASS Leader role on graduates’ job application experiences, their employability and effectiveness in their current roles.’

Chilvers, L. (2016). Communities of practice for international students: an exploration of the role of PASS in supporting transition and learning in higher education. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education; Peer Learning Special Edition Part 2.

‘Findings illuminated the role of PASS in providing international students with an intermediary CoP [community of practice], providing transition support into the CoP on their course and university life.’

Gill, M. & McConnell, C. (2016). “What’s in it for me?” – an investigation into the motivations, challenges and benefits of peer leadership in a School of Education. Student Engagement and Experience Journal. 5(1): DOI 10.7190/seej.v4i1.117

‘The findings… reveal the leaders’ awareness of their growing confidence, communication and employability skills development.’

Chilvers, L. (2014). Communities of pr​actice for international students: The role of Peer Assisted Study Sessions in supporting transition and learning in higher education. Supplemental Instruction Journal, 1(1), 90-115.

‘PASS supports international students in their social integration into the course community, and their learning and development of the cultural and academic practices of their course, discipline and university life.’

Chilvers, L and McConnell, C. (2014). Developing and Implementing a Co-Curricular PASS Leadership Module at the University of Brighton. LifeWide Learning & Education in Universities and Colleges.

‘The PASS leadership module has been designed to enable student leaders to obtain additional academic credit for their commitment and contribution to the Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) scheme… Student leaders are introduced to the skills, knowledge and strategies necessary to facilitate group learning, and use reflection as a key approach to improving their PASS sessions and personal development. The module offers a range of workshops, online materials, group and individual activities for students to draw upon, to inform their PASS sessions, and enable the leaders and PASS students to get the most out of the scheme.’

Chilvers, L. (2013). Facilitators and barriers to the development of PASS at the University of Brighton. Journal of Pedagogic Development, 3(2), 27-29.

‘The PASS model aims to target high risk course material, as opposed to high risk students (Wallace 1995). However some students can still misunderstand this and perceive PASS to be a remedial intervention and thus avoid sessions (Blunt 2008). We are careful in how PASS is introduced to students and have found that PASS leaders explaining their own experiences of PASS from their first year is much more persuasive for enticing students to sessions. We have also found putting PASS on students’ timetables subtly communicates to students that PASS is part of the course culture and all students are expected to benefit from engaging with it.’

Chilvers, L. McConnell, C. & Carlton, S. (2012). Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS): the transition experience of student attendees and PASS leaders through Higher Education, In Annual Learning and Teaching Conference Post Conference Publication: Transitions: Quality, Adaptability and Sustainability in Times of Change, July 2011, University of Brighton, UK. 

‘PASS enables increased provision for student support with minimal demand on staff time, which is hugely beneficial for student learning. PASS enhances the quality of the student experience whilst promoting a deeper engagement with the university, and independent study.’


Cheng, D. & Walters, M. (2009). Peer-assisted learning in mathematics: An observational study of student success. Journal of Peer Learning, 2, 23-39.

‘Attending all PAL [PASS] sessions during the semester corresponded with ten times higher odds of success [e.g. a grade of C- or above] than attending none.’

Dawson, P., van der Meer, J., Skalicky, J. & Cowley, K. (2014). On the Effectiveness of Supplemental: A Systematic Review of Supplemental Instruction and Peer-Assisted Study Sessions Literature Between 2001 and 2010. Review of Educational Research, 84(4), 609–639. DOI: 10.3102/0034654314540007

‘Participation in SI is correlated with higher mean grades, lower failure and withdrawal rates, and higher retention and graduation rates.’

McIntosh, E. (2017). Working in partnership: The role of Peer Assisted Study Sessions in engaging the Citizen Scholar. Active Learning in Higher Education. 1–16. DOI: 10.1177/1469787417735608

‘PASS leaders often expressed this [the importance of social responsibility and citizenship] in terms of design thinking, specifically ethical leadership and people-centred thinking, with many expressing how they were working together to design sessions around the needs of the students.’

Miller, V., Oldfield, E., & Bulmer, M. (2012). Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) in first year chemistry and statistics courses: insights and evaluations. Paper presented at the Proceedings of The Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education (formerly UniServe Science Conference).

‘Specifically, students felt that PASS had a great positive impact on their belief that working as a chemist could be intellectually stimulating, on their ability to succeed in chemistry, on their sense of belonging as a chemistry student, and on the quality of their learning and understanding of chemistry.’

Ody, M. & Carey, W. (2009). Demystifying Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS): What? How? Who? Why? In: The challenge of learning development, 6th LDHEN symposium, Bournemouth. Available at: 

‘The impact of PASS on a student’s employability is also recognised by employers and professional accreditation bodies’.

Spedding, J., Hawkes, A. & Burgess, M. (2017). Peer assisted study sessions and student performance: the role of academic engagement, student identity, and statistics self-efficacy. Psychology Learning & Teaching. 16(1) 144–163. DOI: 10.1177/1475725716687166

‘PASS attendance led to heightened statistics self-efficacy over the semester compared to non-attendees.’

van der Meer, J. & Scott, C. (2009). Students’ experiences and perceptions of peer assisted study sessions: towards ongoing improvement. Journal of Peer Learning, 2, 2009, 3-22.

‘PASS can play an important role in both students’ integration into university life and overall satisfaction with their first-year experience…. strategically allocating resourcing in the first year (James, 2001) may benefit long term retention of students.’

White, K., Thomas, I., Johnston, K. & Hyde, M. (2008). Predicting attendance at peer-assisted study sessions for statistics: role identity and the theory of planned behavior, The Journal of Social Psychology, 148(4), 473-492, DOI: 10.3200/SOCP.148.4.473-492

‘Educators could advertise sessions to appeal to those students who are achievement oriented by focusing on the benefits of obtaining greater knowledge of statistics and getting better grades in statistics.’

Zaccagnini, M. & Verenikina, I. (2013). Peer Assisted Study Sessions for postgraduate international students in Australia, Journal of Peer Learning, 6.

‘The findings of our study indicate that participating in PASS was beneficial for the international postgraduate students. In spite of being enrolled in a postgraduate degree, they felt they needed assistance in their academic study.’

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