Crimson Poll Shows Majority of Students Uphold Bureau of Supervisors' Tutoring
Scarcity of Returns Prevents True Study
Judging from the results of a poll conducted last week by the CRIMSON, only a small amount of dissatisfaction exists among students who have used the University-run Bureau of Supervisors this year.
The Bureau, which has become the most important source of special help for undergraduates since the Faculty imposed its ban on commercial tutoring schools last spring, has grown into a large scale organization in the past year; it was felt that the time had come to find out what students think of its services.
A mimeographed questionnaire, prepared by the CRIMSON, was sent to the more than 500 men who have used the Bureau, asking them how much help they had received, how good the teaching had been, and whether or not the Supervisors had lived up to their aim of teaching methods of work rather than cramming examination facts.
Poll Returns Not Complete
Considering the fact that stamped envelopes were included with the questionnaire, the percentage of returns was not large. Almost three quarters of the poll sheets were not mailed back. Of the 127 answers received, 19 could not be counted in the tabulations usually because the student felt that he had not had enough help from the Bureau to be a fair judge.
Seventeen undergraduates were more or less dissatisfied with the tutoring given by the Supervisors. The remaining 91 were either whole-heartedly in favor, or at least disinclined to criticize. Seventeen men attributed their improvement entirely to the Bureau, ten others felt that it was due to increased work on their part, while an overwhelming 45 thought that both had helped.
In 54 cases, the student's tutor had checked up to see whether he had made an attempt to do the work in the course before he asked for aid, and in 24 cases the tutor has not checked up. On many sheets there was no answer to this question.
All in all, though first-sight results might show that the Bureau has been eminently successful, it is difficult to make an accurate judgment. For one thing, the questionnaires were to be signed and often a student (especially when he is doing poorly) is afraid to criticize freely and put his name to it.
Furthermore, in view of the small percentage of answers, it is doubtful whether the CRIMSON reached a sufficient cross-section. Since only a quarter of the poll was returned, it would be rash to make definite assumptions on such little evidence.
Judging, however, by the large proportion of satisfied to dissatisfied students, the Bureau, to a large extent, at least, fulfills its purpose. How much of a success it is cannot yet be discovered.
Apparently the weakest point of the Bureau is the inferior quality of some of their instructors. Their combined ability to help the student in his methods of organizing and studying his material is only "fair." Other questions, such as ability of the tutor to clarify the undergraduate's understanding of the work, and his knowledge of the arrangement of the course, received more favorable answers.
But several men have commented verbally on the poor instructing of some of the supervisors. In many cases, tutors are the best available. Yet because of these conflicting reports, no accurate appraisal can yet be made of the Bureau of Supervisors.
Since the names of the students who have used the Board are not made public, the actual ballots were sent out by Stanley C. Salmen '36, secretary of the Bureau, but the questionnaires were returned directly to the CRIMSON and the individual answers returned have been kept strictly confidential.