Meet our UCL Engineering Student Tutors: Dr Elpida Makrygianni MBE, initiative coordinator
10 February 2021
We finish our UCL Engineering Student Tutors series off with a special blog post from Dr Elpida Makrygianni MBE, Engineering Education Developer and Coordinator, who discusses how tutoring "can be one of the most effective methods of raising educational attainment."
24 January 2021 marked the celebration of UNESCO’s International Day of Education, a call to action on the role of education for peace, prosperity and development, with the theme ‘Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation.’
Education is a human right and a public good, and it is our collective responsibility to support initiatives and create opportunities that offer inclusive and equitable high-quality education for all. The COVID-19 pandemic and school closures provided a dramatic reminder of the accelerating education attainment gap between pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers, which has now increased even further. Pupils from underprivileged groups and disadvantaged backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is our collective duty to step up and increase efforts to support them. How we act now will define us in the future.
To address this disparity and education inequality, we at UCL Engineering in March 2020 made the decision to launch online our tutoring programme which had been running in schools and community centres for the past four years. Since then we have offered over 3,000 hours of one-to-one online tutoring on STEM subjects every week, with the same tutor throughout the year, to secondary school pupils from underrepresented communities and disadvantaged backgrounds. We have worked in partnership with teachers giving their direct input and guidance, based on their assessment of the areas where pupils need support. UCL Engineering Student Tutors support all aspects of the STEM curriculum, helping with homework, tasks and assignments.
The COVID-19 pandemic and school closures provided a dramatic reminder of the accelerating education attainment gap between pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers, which has now increased even further.“The COVID-19 pandemic and school closures provided a dramatic reminder of the accelerating education attainment gap between pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers, which has now increased even further.
Extensive evidence shows that tutoring can boost progress by up to five months, with evidence on the impact of one-to-one and small group tutoring to support pupils who have fallen behind. However, access to tutoring is often limited to schools and parents that can most afford it. It is estimated that around 80% of disadvantaged pupils do not have access to quality tuition (source: Education Endowment Foundation; Sutton Trust). Tuition can be one of the most effective methods of raising education attainment particularly amongst students from disadvantaged backgrounds, however only 1 in 12 Year 11s from disadvantaged backgrounds access tutoring compared to 1 in 3 Year 11s from more affluent backgrounds.
Tutoring is a powerful tool that has enabled us to provide personalised learning and tailored interventions to each pupil’s ability, learning style and pace. This one-to-one support over time has increased self-confidence, plus built up resilience, skills and subject understanding of the pupils involved. In September 2020, 78% of secondary school pupils who benefited from our tutoring programme improved their grades by an average of 1.5 – 2 progress points amongst participating pupils. Pupils with grades below the average have managed to double their grades across all STEM subjects. 83% made excellent progress in maths while 72% of pupils showed a big improvement in their science scores. 79% of pupils are from BAME backgrounds, while 60% of pupils on our tutoring programme are female, and 40% are male.
For our highly skilled and trained UCL Engineering Student Tutors – a cohort including both undergraduate and postgraduates - this initiative offers them a chance to make a difference and to change the world through education. Our students are motivated by a passion to give back, to make a difference and to act as role models, while also developing valuable skills and enhancing their student experience and wellbeing.
By Dr Elpida Makrygianni MBE.
UCL Engineering Student Tutor articles
- Aisha Aullybux, Engineering (Electronic & Electrical) MEng.
- Liz Bates, Engineering (Civil) MEng.
- Ben Bavington-Allen, Engineering (Civil) MEng.
- Alina Chirila, Security and Crime Science BSc.
- Joseph Eno, Engineering (Mechanical MEng.
- Zarin Haque, Engineering (Electronic & Electrical) BEng.
- Aditi Holey, Engineering (Biochemical) BEng.
- Sebastian Rudden - Engineering (Biochemical) BEng.
- Hemil Shah, Computer Science MEng.
- Arundathi Shanthini, Robotics and Computation MSc.
Please note, some links lead to external sites.
- UCL Engineering homepage.
- UCL Centre for Engineering Education website.
- UNESCO’s International Day of Education website.
- Education Endowment Foundation website.
- Sutton Trust website.
- Caption: Dr Elpida Makrygianni at the EU Commission.
- Credit: Dr Elpida Makrygianni MBE.