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Peer Assisted Study Session Program Procedure

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This Procedure details the roles, responsibilities, and actions associated with the delivery of Peer Assisted Study Session (PASS) programs at the University.


(2) Macquarie University is committed to empowering students to achieve their potential for success. As required by the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021, this includes providing opportunities for academic interaction outside formal teaching (see HESF Section 2.1.3).

(3) The PASS program is an academic development program in which students who have successfully completed a coursework unit facilitate co-curricular study sessions for near-peers. Research shows that participation in PASS sessions improves academic performance(1), increases student retention and satisfaction(2), and supports employability(3).


(4) This Procedure applies to all staff and students involved in the delivery of PASS programs at Macquarie University.

(5) This Procedure does not apply to the Macquarie University College.

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Section 2 - Policy

(6) Nil.

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Section 3 - Procedures

(7) The PASS program is delivered at the University in alignment with practices and standards endorsed by the Australasian Centre for PASS.

Part A - Selection of units for inclusion in the PASS program

(8) PASS programs are delivered in units where peer-led support is determined to be the most appropriate response to student performance and success needs. Staff in the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education), Associate Deans (Curriculum and Learning), and Faculty Heads of Educational Services (or their nominees) are responsible for:

  1. defining inclusion criteria for the selection of PASS units each session;
  2. finalising the budget for the PASS program and the units that can be delivered within the budget envelope; and
  3. identifying, reviewing, and finalising units for PASS delivery each session in accordance with these criteria.

(9) In so far as it is practicable, units for inclusion in PASS delivery are finalised before mid-session break in the previous session:

  1. units for PASS delivery in Session 1 of an academic year will be finalised by mid-session break in Session 2 of the previous academic year;
  2. units for PASS delivery in Session 2 of an academic year will be finalised by mid-session break in Session 1 of that academic year; and
  3. units for PASS delivery in Session 3 will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis in Session 2 of that academic year.

(10) Interventions to complement or replace PASS may be appropriate in units with high failure plus repeat failure rates. Specialist staff in the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education) will collaborate with the faculties to consider appropriate interventions in these circumstances.

Part B - Recruitment and training of PASS leaders

(11) Student leaders in PASS programs (PASS leaders) are employed as casual professional staff at HEW level 3.1.

(12) Recruitment of PASS leaders is managed on a sessional basis by staff in the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education).

(13) The Hiring Manager of PASS leaders is the Director, Academic Literacies Unit, or an appropriate nominee.

(14) Recruitment criteria are reviewed annually by staff in the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education) and Faculty Heads of Educational Services (or their nominees).

(15) PASS leaders are selected by a committee comprising staff from the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education), faculty nominees, and experienced PASS leader(s).

(16) Incoming PASS leaders are required to complete compulsory training conducted by accredited trainers in the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education).

Part C - Program administration

(17) Staff in the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education) are responsible for:

  1. confirming PASS leader appointments with Faculty Heads of Educational Services (or their nominees);
  2. drafting sessional PASS timetables for faculty approval and making required room booking;
  3. co-ordinating the promotion of the PASS program to students; and
  4. administrating all aspects of PASS leaders’ employment.

(18) Specific arrangements for PASS delivery within a unit of study are negotiated between Unit Convenors and PASS leaders.

Part D - Payment of PASS leaders

(19) The available budget for payment of the PASS leaders will be finalised on an annual basis.

(20) During the PASS program, PASS leaders will be paid for:

  1. attending all lectures—either in person or online—for the unit in which they are facilitating PASS sessions;
  2. completing a minimum of one (1) hour and a maximum of two (2) hours of session preparation each week. These hour(s) must be calculated separately from lecture attendance; and
  3. facilitating a minimum of two (2) one-hour PASS sessions per unit each week.

Part E - Quality Assurance

(21) Staff in the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education) are responsible for:

  1. developing instruments to evaluate the PASS program with respect to process, outcomes, and impact;
  2. ensuring that sessional evaluation results inform improvements to PASS leader training and sessional delivery;
  3. reviewing the performance of new PASS leaders and providing mentoring and/or additional development opportunities where appropriate;
  4. auditing learning activities prepared by PASS leaders for quality assurance; and
  5. preparing reports for faculties and University committees as required.
(1) A. Strømmen-Bakhtiar, R. Helde,  E. Suzen (Hrsg.) (2021) Supplemental Instruction, Volume 3: Organisation and Leadership 
(2) P.J. Allen, S. de Freitas, R.J. Marriott, R.M. Pereira, C.Williams, C.J. Cunningham, D. Fletcher (2021) Evaluating the effectiveness of supplemental instruction using a multivariable analytic approach, Learning and Instruction 75 (2021) 101481
(3) R.A. Carr, K. Evans-Locke, H. Abu-Saif, R. Boucher, K. Douglas (2018) Peer-learning to employable: learnings from an evaluation of PASS attendee and facilitator perceptions of employability at Western Sydney University, Journal of Peer Learning, Volume 11 Article 4
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Section 4 - Guidelines

(22) Nil.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(23) Nil.