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Textual: análisis del medio rural latinoamericano

versión On-line ISSN 2395-9177versión impresa ISSN 0185-9439

Textual anál. medio rural latinoam.  no.71 Chapingo ene./jun. 2018 


Academic tutoring at the universidad autónoma chapingo: input for a proposal from the students´ viewpoint

Artemio Rosas Meza1 

Liberio Victorino Ramírez2  * 

1Profesor-Investigador del Departamento de Parasitología Agrícola, UACh. Chapingo, México.

2Profesor-Investigador del Departamento de Sociología Rural, UACh. Chapingo, México.


A research was carried out in order to generate baseline information to guide the planning and design of a model of academic tutoring for the Chapingo Autonomous University (UACh). The information was obtained through responses to open and closed questions and Likert, contained in a self-administered questionnaire to a sample of 580 students enrolled in fourth and seventh year. The results indicate that has not yet been able to consolidate tutoring UACh. Students agree that their parents are informed about their education and personal status in the UACh; to decrease the academics lag, academic failure and low efficiency they suggest the counseling, mentoring and psychological treatment, among others. For the design, implementation and operation of tutoring in the UACh, should take into account the views of students as a reference guide of the most efficient actions.

Keywords: opinion of students; tutoring model; tutoring in higher education


Se realizó una investigación con el fin de generar información básica para orientar la planeación y el diseño de un modelo de tutoría académica para la Universidad Autónoma Chapingo (UACh). La información se obtuvo mediante las respuestas a preguntas cerradas y abiertas del tipo Likert, contenidas en un cuestionario autoadministrado a una muestra de 580 alumnos de cuarto y séptimo año. Los resultados indican que aún no se ha logrado consolidar la tutoría en la UACh. Los estudiantes aceptan que sus padres sean informados acerca de su proceso educativo y personal en la UACh; para disminuir el rezago, la reprobación y la baja eficiencia terminal sugieren apoyos de asesorías, tutorías y apoyo psicológico, entre otros. Para el diseño, implementación y operación de las tutorías en la UACh, se debe tomar en cuenta la opinión de los estudiantes como un referente orientador obligado de las acciones más eficientes.

Palabras clave: opinión de estudiantes; modelo de tutoría académica; tutoría en educación superior


Keeping in mind the problem of students lagging behind in their studies and quitting school, the social and economic pressure which questions the pertinence of many institutions of higher education (IHE), as well as the limited number of admissions for applicants, it is necessary to undertake educational practices so that students take advantage of the opportunity to study in a timely fashion and with a greater level of significant learning at the level of higher learning to contribute to the improvement of the evaluation parameters of said institutions and to have the possibility of furthering their studies, promoting their own employment, or having improved job expectations in the labor market (Nieto, 2006).

Tutoring programs are generally thought to counsel students towards resolving their psychological and educational conflicts through guidance and support so that the students might live their school community and study experience normally. It cannot be overlooked that the institutional authorities also worry about the high level of failure and desertion at the high school level. Statistically, this grade nationally, until recently when the national high school reform was put forward, had an average failure rate that fluctuated between 45 % and 50 %. That is, that out of every 100 incoming first-year high school students only between 45 and 50 graduated three years later (SEP, 2008). The situation of failing academically and desertion at the next level, that is at the university level, only worsened with only 10 % graduating, at least at our university (PDI-UACh, 2010). Given the stated research problem about all these conflicts that students experience, at the high school as well as the university level, a theoretical-methodological examination that leads to a discussion towards contributing to the resolution of the problems, especially at our Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, is sought.

The principal objective was to generate first-hand basic information in order to formulate an alternative proposal to better this situation within an institutional framework of development through the design of a proposal which includes institutional planning where the participation of the students and professors of UACh takes place.

Our work is presented as a pioneering study that deals with student conflict situations. As can be seen in this article, this research was made possible due to the increased interest in Mexican public universities during the second PAN government of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, from 2006 to 2012, when alternative projects to reinforce the efficiency of the graduation rate at the high school and university level were proposed. Educational symposia, sem inars and forums were generated to design an educational reform that would also have an impact on the public autonomous universities of Mexico (Victorino, 2008). However, this policy was applied more in non-autonomous than autonomous public universities, thereby having little impact on the latter. Precisely in the case of UACh, as a public autonomous university, the reform could not transcend the university’s high school as was officially promised.

Stating the problem

In the new outlook for education, a significant change is required in the handling of the teaching and learning processes. The principal change requires that the educational systems abandon the education model paradigm centered on the teaching staff, and rather adopt another where the center of attention is the student who learns. In other words, one focused on the student’s learning. In this new dimension of the educational model, the professor must develop his/her function in the context of the integrated formation of the student. The professor must undergo a training process because this change implies new methods, techniques, and abilities in which the teacher must be competent. A pedagogical strategy that has been suggested to address the new professor-student relationship is tutoring, to which broad expectations to improve academic success and thereby elevate the quality of education are conferred (Romo, 2011, García, Trejo, Flores, & Rabadán 2010).

There is much agreement that tutoring in educational institutions is a viable alternative, with the condition that pertinent adjustments in the educational structures and models be made so that the outcome be a successful means of addressing and contributing to solving the issue in the Mexican educational system and thereby leading to a significant contribution to social progress (Narro & Arredondo, 2013).

In the global context, UACh is also affected by the momentum in national and world changes which represent a challenge to the continuation of its university project and its educational model. Our university has, among other characteristics, the following: it is an IHE of a national nature; it is an educational system at the high school level which is represented by an Agricultural High School and Propaedeutic level whose graduates have an automatic pass to whichever major they choose (of 23 undergraduate programs reported in September 2009); there is a policy of social commitment that involves giving a special opportunity for admission to students from rural areas (with an emphasis on students that come from any of the 62 ethnic groups of the country) and low-income backgrounds; there is a support system with scholarships to students distributed among boarding students (who have room and board and other personal services) and day students with scholarships (who are given a monthly stipend and live outside the university); (PDI-UACh, 2010). In view of that, UACh itself should make use of the best strategies to successfully adapt to the new reality and assure its existence in benefit of society, especially for the most vulnerable sector. Given the unique conditions of its university educational model, a specific diagnosis and analysis of the factors involved are needed, specifically with regards to students in the sense that the study that is of concern seeks to generate basic information for a possible design of a Tutorial Model for our institution.

With regards to the characteristics of the students who come from low-income backgrounds, Manzano (2005) , notes that many children and youths from disadvantaged social classes find themselves at a disadvantage with regards to some behavioral habits when they enroll in school that are needed to get along and in relation to knowledge systems needed to be able to succeed in academic purposes. Faced with this situation, we ask ourselves the following research questions: How can a diagnostic tool be designed that would permit us to find the principal variables to generate information and to analyze the possibilities of a study about the lack of academic tutoring for university youths? Therefore, how and when should actions to improve students’ promise through academic tutoring at UACh be implemented?

In the context of these brief considerations of the study of the problem and the tutoring process, the general aim of the present article is to generate basic information that would serve as a reference for the design of an academic tutoring model appropriate for the conditions at UACh. Furthermore, our specific objectives are, firstly, to analyze the information given by the students in order to identify elements that would provide a basis for its design, and, secondly, to provide basic information for the same end.

Theoretical framework of tutoring

In the conceptual context, ANUIES says that tutoring is “an accompanying process during the formation of the students which is achieved through personalized attention to a student or a small group of students by competent academics with specialized training in that regard based more conceptually on learning theory than in teaching theory,’ establishing the following definition of tutoring as: “ The supportive, personalized, academic process to improve academic performance, solve school problems, develop habits for study, work, thinking, and social harmony” (ANUIES, 2000).

The purpose of tutoring at UACh in terms of a specific, formal program has as precedence the implementation of a project by ANUIES and the Ford Foundation for the support of students from ethnic groups. Beginning in 2001, the Support Program for Indigenous Students in Institutions of Higher Education-PAEIIES (Programa de Apoyo a Estudiantes Indígenas en Instituciones de Educación Superior-PAEIIES), coordinated by ANUIES and with economic support provided by the Ford Foundation, began (ANUIES, 2009).1

Within the framework of the vision of a system of “Flexibility in Curricular and Academic Credits in Educational Programs,” the General Academic Directorate (GAD) of UACh promoted the development of an “Institutional Tutoring Program Project” (PPIT), presented to the University Council in June, 2008 for its possible approval. Said document contains the opinions of professors who have in the majority been of the opinion that a tutoring program is needed at UACh and that this program should also include activities that would have an impact on the comprehensive development of the student (PPIT, 2008).

As an advance in the PPIT development process, the GAD, through the Subdirectorate of Study Plans and Programs, drew up the “Regulations of the Institutional Tutoring Program (RPIT) at UACh,” which was approved by the Honorable University Council 2(RPIT, 2010).

Moreover, in the UACh 2006-2016 Institutional Development Plan Project (PPID): progress, possibilities and what remains to be done, it sets out, among other actions, Program 18 “The development of a didactic model with a focus on bolstering the active role of the student” for which Strategy Four “Strengthening the tutorial approach” (PPID, 2006) was proposed.

In the “2009-2025 Institutional Development Plan” (PDI), the proposed actions included, among others, the redefining and institutionalization of the tutorial program so that a follow up of the students’ performance with a view to the humanistic dimension could be made (PDI-UACh, 2009)3.

The implementation process of tutorial programs in IHEs is slow and adjustments are commonly made even though it has been in operation for years. Thus, for example, Fragoso and Hernández (2012) , in their work “Progress and challenges in the institutional tutorial project of the Colegio de Ciencias y Humanidades of UNAM,” mention that the Institutional Tutorial Program established there 12 years ago has undergone changes, and, nevertheless, it still has various urgent outstanding matters that need attention to develop the program qualitatively and clearly, among which are noteworthy: student coverage, improvement of the quality of learning, collateral services for tutoring, greater participation by professors, and the problems of places and time for tutoring.

Cárdenas, Galván, Galvez, & Leiva (2012) undertook a study entitled “Perception of tutoring in an institution of higher education” (Instituto Tecnológico de Sonora-ITSON). Among their most notable findings, they concluded that the tutoring program must be improved, especially with regards to student satisfaction with it. They also say that “one of the biggest challenges is the diagnosis of the need for tutoring whose results contribute to a restructuring of the education programs in general, as well as a means to understanding the circumstances and the expectations of the students who enroll at ITSON.”

Martínez (2013) indicates that an important aspect to consider for the design and operation of a tutoring model is to identify the specific needs of the actors. It must be noted that the basis for the design of a tutoring model must consider the recipients of tutoring, students and professors.

Another very important aspect is the one addressed by De la Cruz, Chehaybar, Kurry, & Abreu (2011) . In summarizing their findings, they state that part of the agenda of pending tasks is the development of a theoretical corpus which would give support to tutoring and to methodological issues, as well as the fact that clarification of the continuum between curriculum and tutoring, ways of organizing tutoring different from the one on one, and best practices and ethics in tutoring are still lacking. Tutoring cannot be done in isolation, nor apart from the educational and curricular models of the educational institutions.

At the Universidad Autonoma Chapingo, within the framework of the accreditation and certification processes, tutoring plans are now being implemented in the majority of the degree-issuing departments, known as DEIS. Nevertheless, for various reasons (characteristics of the teaching staff, the educational model, institutional policies, accreditation and certification processes, a lack of specific information on the conditions under which the tutoring is intended to operate, among others) it has not been possible to consolidate the workings of tutoring in an adequate way.4 In the Agricultural High School, (Preparatoria Agrícola), beginning in 2012, reforms made to the Propaedeutic Study Plan have begun to operate and a Departmental Tutoring Program (PDT) has been implemented to better serve this pro cess. It has been pointed out in said program that it is necessary to differentiate between the needs of the high school students and those in the propaedeutic program due to the differences in age, psychological and emotional maturity, and the academic information and training (PDT, 2012).

In order to have a contrasting reference framework, the following is formulated in general terms as the central research hy pothesis: the responses and opinions of the students participating in the study (the concept of ‘study’ is used as a synonym for research) show a favorable tendency towards a consensus that academic tutoring should be implemented at UACh since it entails academic benefits and comprehen sive development.

Research methodology

In accordance with its characteristics, the features of the research method of this article are exploratory, descriptive, and explanatory, and said research is developed under a quantitative approach. The research design is not experimental, nor transversal. The information was obtained through an analysis of the answers to closed and open questions and of the Likert 5type, found in a self-administered questionnaire given to the students (Briones, 2011, Hernández, Fernández, & Baptista, 2006, Babbie, 1988).

Population, sample, and sampling procedure: The population under study was made up of all the 4th and 7th year students of UACh. Based on a probability sample with a 95 % confidence level and 5 % error, the sample was made up of 363 4th year students (22.6 % of a population of 1,317), and 217 7th year students (27.9 % of a population of 991); that is, a total of 580 students.

Variables evaluated: The variables included in the study were conventionally established, taking into account the cultural diversity of the students, and considering that they are the key elements to obtain an impression about the importance given to tutoring by UACh students.

Data analyzed: According to the characteristics of the items included in the question naire, a nominal scale was used to register the participants’ answers. The analysis made was descriptive since frequencies, percentages, and averages, the range of some variables, and data derived from an analysis of the content were evaluated. The answers to three items were expressed on a nominal scale and for their analysis SAS (Statistical Analysis System) statistical computer software was used. The answers to an open question were analyzed using the content analysis technique.

Statistical hypothesis: Given the study’s nonparametric and nonexperimental charact-eristics, the hypothesis test was carried out using the Chi-Square Test of Independence. The formulation of the hypothesis in general terms, which includes all of the variables evaluated to determine if a relationship exists or not between each evaluated variable and the answer to each question, is represented in the following model:

With α = 0.05:

Ho: there is no relationship between the evaluated variable Vx and the answer to the question Pn

Ha: there is a relationship between the evaluated variable Vx and the answer to the question Qn

Where Vx = sex, ethnic group, origin

Where Qn = Question 1, Question 2, Question 3

The deciding rule is: If Q < α Ho is rejected

If Q ≥ α Ho is not rejected

Results and discussion

The basic data of the population of the 4th year students (fourth year, first year of undergraduate studies) and 7th year (seventh year, last school cycle of undergraduate studies) were obtained from the UACh Sub-directorate of School Administration database, consulted on April 28, 2013.6The total student population of the 4th year registered in said data base is 1,317 and 7th year is 991. Three hundred and sixty-three 4th year students (27.56 %) and 991 7th year students (21.89 %) participated, giving a total of 580 students sampled, in which 4th year students represent 62.56 % of the total, while 7th year students represent the remaining 37 %. In the sample considered, 63 % of the participants were male and 36.9 % were female. Regarding the Ethnicity variable, the proportional percentage was higher in 4th year (14.5 %) than in 7th year (7.6 %), which is influenced by the larger population of 4th year students. The rural population (68 %) is a little more than double that of the urban one (31.9 %), which reflects the institutional policy of encouraging the admission of students from rural areas.

In the answers to Question 1 (Q1): Are you familiar with the information in the document “Regulations of the Institutional Tutoring Program” (RPIT) of UACh?, the answer options were: a) Yes, I am, b) I am familiar with the document, though not with the information, and c) I am not familiar with the document. The analysis of the data includes: calculation of frequencies, calculation of percentages, and the test of independence using the chi-squared (x 2 ) statistic.

According to Graph 1, it is evident that the majority chose option c) “I am not fa miliar with the document.” The second most chosen option was b) “I am familiar with the document, though not with the information” and those who chose it represent 23 % of the students; in a sense, the fact that they are familiar with the document, though not with the information in it, implies disinterest in tutoring, differently than those choosing the answer “I am not familiar with the document’ who more than showing a disinterest, might not have had access to the information about tutoring. On the other hand, it is very significant that only 6 % of students choose the answer a) “Yes, I am” (familiar with the information about tutoring), which is directly related to the fact that the vast majority are not familiar with the document about tutoring.

Graph 1 Results of the answers to question 1 and test of independence. 

The behavior of the answers in other variables such as Ethnicity and Origin maintain the same tendency, that is to say, the majority of the percentages are associated with the answer “I am not familiar with the document,” which reflects the fact that the majority of the students are in the same condition with regards to the information about the regulations in question.

With regards to the test of the independence of variables, in all the other cases Ho is not rejected since chi-square is higher than 0.05, that is, there is no relationship between the variables evaluated and the answers to P1. What is interpreted in a more general way are the variables that do not influence the answers in P1 and that said answers are reliable.

In papers presented in forums and meetings about tutoring nationally and regionally, the processes of review and redefinition of tutoring programs are noticeable as a part of the consolidation process. For example, Fragoso and Hernández (2012) mentioned that the Institutional Tutoring Program of UNAM’s Colegio de Ciencias y Humanidades was established 12 years ago and during that time it has made important progress, though it has also had some shortcomings such as: student coverage, the impact tutoring has had on the quality of learning, the incorporation of professors to tutoring, coverage of services accompa nying tutoring, and the times and space for tutoring, among others.

In other experiences related to the implementation of a tutoring program in Escuelas Normales (teacher-training schools) in the state of Puebla, Jiménez and Montiel (2010) note that the training was not adequate; therefore, it was not possible to establish tutoring programs, nor was satisfactory attention to the students’ needs given. In light of their experience as external trainers addressing a solution to the formerly mentioned situation, they recommend various conditions to achieve success in the training of teachers involved in tutoring. The main conditions are: clearly defining the objectives, defining different levels of training, having an adequate identification of the needs for training, and having a follow-up of the activities to permit feedback.

In Question 2 (Q2): In order to do well academically, the only help you need is tutoring, the answer options were: a) Totally agree, b) Agree, c) Disagree, d) Totally disagree, e) Personal opinion.

According to the information shown in Graph 2, generally speaking, the majority of the answers are associated with option b) and, with small differences to this one, the second most selected option was c). Considering the variable Year, 37 % chose option b) “Agree”, and 33 % chose option c) “Disagree.” A third group of responses is associated with option a) ‘Totally agree” chosen by 11 % of the students, a result that gives more support to the response of option b) “Agree,” but likewise the fourth group of responses associated with option d) “Strongly disagree” reinforces the response of option c) “Disagree” although, even together, they are still slightly below the response trends of options a) and b). Generally speaking, the results are similar in the majority of the variables. That is, the largest tendencies of the options are dis tributed between options b) and c).

Graph 2 Results of the responses to Question 2 and the test of independence. 

With regards to the option e) “Personal opinion,” 11 % of the students (represented by 38 from 4th year and 29 from 7th year) expressed their opinion for that option only.

For the analysis of “Personal opinion,” the analysis of content technique was used, suggested for the analysis of information obtained for open questions, among other uses (Hernández et al., 2006).

Owing to the fact that few diverse categories were detected, the information analysis process was made directly without constructing a registration table or a data encoding one. The students recommend in the majority of the opinions that along with academic advisories, they be complemented with support to obtain good academic performance. In this case, it is viewed as an opportunity to place tutoring as an activity complementary to academic advisories.

With regards to the test of independence of variables, with the exception of the Gender variable, Ho is rejected since chi-squared is greater than 0.05 that is, there is no dependent relationship between the evaluated variable and the answers to Q2. This is interpreted in a simple way. The variable does not influence the answers to Q2 and, in this sense, has no depen dence effect. In relation to the Gender variable, the chi-squared test indicates that Ho should be rejected, which means that Gender does influence the choice in the options to the answers: it can be observed in the choice of the option that the Female Gender preferred option c), leading to the deduction that more than just academic advisories are needed in order to improve academic performance, while the Male Gender preferred b), leading to the deduction that they agree that the only requirement is academic advisories to improve their academic performance.

Various factors which are related to the student, the professor, the curricular model, and the physical context intervene in the teaching and learning processes. In the case at hand, as has been noted in the answers to the previous question, the students have their own belief about what the teaching and learning process should entail. Nonetheless, a few supporting ideas to achieve good academic performance are proposed. In general, these ideas have to do with motivation, improvement of the professor’s attitude and performance, didactic resources, competent adviso ries, and study strategies or techniques for self-directed learning. Various studies deal with the issue of these factors which are involved in the teaching and learning processes.

In a study carried out by Bojórquez, Sotelo, & Serrano (2011) with students, they identified the following as determinants of academic failure: irresponsibility, laziness, defeatism, non-compliance, defeat, and tardiness. These propositions support the statements of some students in that in order to achieve good academic performance, it is necessary to be interested in studying and applying oneself through self-directed learning.

In Question 3 (Q3): Proposal: “Parents should have information about the development of your academic and personal activities at UACh, the answer options were: a) Yes, because; b) No, because; c) I do not wish to give an opinion.

The results of the answers for Q3 are shown in Graph 3. It is notable that 69 % of the responses are associated with option a) “Yes”, that is, the students accept that their parents receive information regarding their education process at UACh. The second group, representing 14 %, were those who did not agree that their parents should receive information regarding their education process at UACh. A third group, making up 15 % of the students, chose option c) “I do not wish to give an opinion.” Independently of the variable, the affirmative preference predominated, that the parents should know about the education process at UACh.

Graph 3 Results of the answers to Question 3 and the test of independence. 

With regards to the results of the chi-square test of independence, Ho is not rejected in all cases due to the fact that the value of chi-squared is larger than 0.05. Therefore, there is no dependence relationship between the answers to Q3 and the assessed variables. In general terms, this means that the variables do not influence the answers in Q3, so there is no dependency effect.

Due to traditional reasons and without further theoretical justification, it is assumed that the family has a positive influence on the academic performance of the students. This influence is based more on the psychological impact (including the emotional aspect) that affective displays of acceptance and moral authority motivate, than on the possible academic or intellectual support that the family (mother, father, siblings, etc.) can provide. Zayas, Corral, & Lugo (2011) say that the parents’ involvement in the institutions, without the proper rationale and planning, can become a limiting factor in the development of autonomy in the students, damage the autonomy of the institution and lead to disappointment in the parents.

There are reports of some experiences related to informative meetings and workshops with parents in the Mexican IHE. The purpose of these activities is to foster thought about what having a child at the university means to them personally and to identify the parents’ strengths to bolster their university children (Sunza & Druet, 2010). At the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria (National High School), which belongs to the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, a Workshop for Parents7 is given to those parents whose children are admitted to the first year of undergraduate school in order to give them information and guidance for them to have more elements to be able to collaborate better to support their children to give them a better possibility to succeed.

On the other hand, it is also important to consider the possibility that the family figure does not have the supposed attributes. In addition to this, in many cases, if not in the majority, the parents do not have the necessary or sufficient capacity to be used as a trustworthy reference by the adolescents and, in that case, intervention by the family can be self-defeating (Castellano, 2005, Mendizábal & Anzures, 1999). In this context, the results of Question 3 (Q3) serve as a great opportunity to integrate a virtuous cycle into the educational process at UACh that would include students, parents, professors, and the institutional authorities that would have to precisely plan, program, regulate, and define the framework where this process would take place.

The analysis of the answers to Question 4 (Q4): Proposition: According to your experience as a student at the Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, cite types of support you think the students at UACh need to solve the problems of delays (failing, and dropping out temporarily), and quitting school completely, and not completing their studies in the normal established time.

Based on the analysis of the content of the answers to Q4, categories cited in Graphs 4a and 4b were generated which contain the analysis of solely the variables of 4th year and 7th year students, which is to say, the answers of 363 students of 4th year and 217 of 7th year.

It can be noted in Graph 4a that the categories most cited by the students generally speaking are Advisories (57.93 %), Tutoring (20.5 %), Psychological support (18.1 %), Professors (11.65 %), and Self-directed learning (10.17 %). In relation to their academic grade, it can be noted that the 4th and 7th year students gave more importance to advisories. Second in importance, the 4th year students stated the need for psychological support (20.6 %), tutoring (16.5 %), that the professors perform better (12.9 %), and 7.4% suggest the use of a self-directed learning method. In another result, the 7th year students recommend tutoring activities (27 %), studying with a self-directed learning method (14.7 %), some kind of psychological support (13.8 %), and improving the professors’ performance (9.2%). It is interesting to point out the fact that while the 7th year students place the suggestion for Tutoring after Advisories, the 4th year students suggest psychological support in second place; in the same vein, the 7th year students propose a self-directed learning method thirdly, while 4th year students place it in 5th spot. These results reflect to some extent the experiences that the 7th year students have acquired which permits them to view and think about their academic process, which is translatable into an approximation to partial conclusions about their academic career.

Graph 4a Frequencies and percentages obtained for the categories for Question 4 (Q4). 

The students participating in this study recommended psychological support to improve their academic performance, and they associate it with emotional and motivational support. With regards to the motivational aspect, Cardozo (2008) , notes that his cognition-motivation model is an exponent of an integration model in which, even while recognizing the existence of multiple factors that influence learning, cognitive and motivational factors, and their relationships, have a more direct influence on the students’ commitment to pursue their learning and academic performance since it is believed that they actively process the information and that their beliefs and awareness influence their performance.

In the research carried out by Cardozo (2008) , evidence that the students performed better using self-efficacy, time-use and processing strategies was found. The factors for academic success have to do with motivation, intellectual aptitude, previous knowledge, and the use of study tech niques. It is possible that the students who suggest self-directed learning use these strategies for studying. Nevertheless, not all might be in a position to use them and it would be necessary to train them to do so (Ramos , López, & Serrano, 2011, Raya, 2010, Aebli, 2001).

A very important factor related to academic performance is stress, whose effect is reflected by low academic performance. In other research, however, the results have been contradictory in that, on the one hand, they state that the students under stress have had to study more, and therefore perform better, while in other cases, under the same condition, the students have had poor performance (Berrío & Mazo, 2011). Furthermore, the stress level of the student is a function of various factors, such as: health and nutrition, the socio-affective situation, the quality of the teaching practice, and the material conditions of the academic practice (García-Ros, Pérez, Pérez Blanco, & Natividad, 2012, Martín, 2007).

Graph 4bshows the complementary information about the analysis of the content of Question 4 (Q4). Although these suggestions receive less attention from the students, they are important because it is probable that some in the student community who did not take part in the survey would agree with them and, in addition, said suggestions could be considered in some strategy or activity implemented related to the issue of personal and academic problems of the students.

Graph 4b Frequencies and percentages obtained for the categories in Question 4 (Q4). 

In another result, 9 % of the 4th year students suggest the support of didactic material (Didactic mat.), while only 5 % of the 7th year students do so. In the case of incentives (academic, financial), 9 % of the 7th year students noted it as a suggestion for assistance and in the case of the suggestion of study circles 6 % of 4th year students gave it greater importance. Other suggestions made by the students are related to flexible schedules for advisories, tutoring and other non-academic activities such as cultural workshops, and in support of peer tutors.

In the development of the study, various opinions converge in the sense that the students want stimuli or incentives, mainly academic, which they think would motivate them to exert greater effort in their academic activities. Those who make that suggestion might not be scholarship students (since it seems illogical for those receiving scholarships to ask for this kind of incentive), but given that the survey did not include a question about whether or not they had a scholarship, the data should be viewed reservedly, although this does not make it less important since approximately 8 %8 of the students do not have a scholarship and it would be appropriate to check their situation. The possibility of other types of non-financial stimuli that the institution might give them should also be considered (Rinaudo, Chiechier, & Donolo, 2003).

A very important suggestion to improve tutoring, though not ranked highly by the students, involves the participation of students at the higher levels. Many studies note the benefits that support by peers afford, principally in academic advisories. Olvera, Rentería, & Camacho (2012) reported the results of the Peer Advisory Program, which forms part of the Institutional Tutoring Program at the Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa; they found that the academic advisory that the student peers undertake succeeded in significantly reducing the failure rate, significantly lowering the failure rate beginning in the period of 2008-2009 until the period 2009-2010 and, in the same way, the graduation rate was significantly increased from 34 % to 42.8 %. These results reinforce the idea that sometimes an extensive tutoring plan does not necessarily need to be developed in order to increase academic achievement, and besides, there is a more empathetic interaction between students that has an impact on other personal aspects by which favorable ambiences for learning is achieved in which the advisor and the advisee learn, entailing other benefits in their comprehensive development (Rubio, 2009).

For their part, Cruz, Olvera, & Valadés (2012) presented their experience in the Social Service program among scholarship students where they concluded that this tutoring process allowed the participating tutored student to acquire a high level of autonomy which aided the development of other activities. Peer tutoring can also yield benefits to tutors and those tutored. Morales & Argáez (2012) presented a paper where they proposed that the activity of student peer tutors be counted as part of an elective, as an internship, or that they be assigned a certain number of credits; they also noted that training should be an indispensable requirement for their participation as a peer tutor. With reference to the suggestions about stimuli that the students make, the compensation for peer tutoring could be a motivating mechanism for a greater commitment to their studies.

Lastly, Mejía & Trejoluna (2012) note that institutions should not only take for granted the type of students registered in their educational programs, but should also align as much as possible the knowledge about their study habits, their characteristics and needs in order to detect and re solve deficiencies.


Under the conditions in which this research was carried out at the Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, the conclusions listed below were obtained. From a total population of 1,317 4th year students, 363 students, representing 27.41 %, participated; furthermore, from a total of 991 7th year students, 217, equal to 21.79 % of said population, participated. In total, 580 students participated.

On the one hand, the results indicate that little progress has been made in the diffusion and consequently the application of the Tutoring Program. It will be necessary to address this situation in order to identify the possible causes for the delay in its application, and at the same time, the mechanisms used to disseminate the information and the policies for promoting its implementation should be reviewed so that the program can provide the ascribed benefits.

With respect to question #2 “In order to obtain good academic performance the only support you need is academic advisories,” the answers did not show a clear tendency favoring the suggestion. The majority of the answers were “Agree” and “Disagree,” with a slight tendency favoring the answer “Agree,” especially by the 4th year students, but, in general, it is not clearly defined. It is possible that the reason is due to, on the one hand, that the terms advisories and tutoring are unfamiliar, and on the other hand, that the way the question is posed was confusing.

In the answers to the question “Should parents have information about the development of your academic and personal activities at UACh?,” there was great agreement in accepting that the parents receive information about their process of education at the UACh and acknowledgement that they could assist them in situations when they had academic and personal problems. Nevertheless, it is also import-ant to take into account the other answers to define any action in this regard. Regard- less of this, the result can be considered a strength to be channeled in benefit of the students. The challenge for the university is to take advantage of this strength in the best way possible, beginning with designing the adequate mechanisms and regulations in this regard.

The reliability of the above-mentioned results is supported by the chi-square test of independence, since in the majority of the cases the Ho was not rejected given that chi-squared is greater than 0.05, which means that there is no dependent relationship between the answers to Q3 and the evaluated variable. In other words, it means that the variables have no influence on the decisions to choose the answers, so there is no dependency effect.

With regards to question 4 (Q4), the students recommended the support of academic advisories, tutoring, psychological support, better-trained professors, and a self-taught study strategy. However, in all the answers to questions 2, 3, and 4 the need for diverse support that could only be addressed by a tutorial program was detected.

This study permitted very valuable first-hand information to be obtained which can also be used to make a road map to begin a project with regards to immediate aspects such as the dissemination of the support that is available through tutoring, the revision and adjustments to the school regulations, an institutional program for academic attention to new students, the analysis of the policies and proposed mechanisms to promote the implementation of the Institutional Tutoring Program (academic, school, university, etc.), and, lastly, to design a made to measure evaluation system. Some actions are already developed and the information given can be useful to give them a better orientation.

A convergence of various elements and conditions are also required to design a tutoring model: the institution’s legal framework, the educational model and institutional curriculum, the conditions of the national and international context, and the diagnostic of the conditions and characteristics of the academic community in which the tutoring is implemented. The information obtained in this study is therefore considered to be of great relevance.

Most importantly, the students assume in their answers that the Institutional Tutoring Regulations should be applied, as doing so would reinforce the model proposed by the student body, which must also respond to the central academic authorities and to the professors themselves.

The professors in the different DEIS have almost unanimously commented that as long as this program does not have an ad- equate infrastructure, for example, that its implementation from the Departmental Councils becomes obligatory and includes a program of incentives for the professors, the good intentions of the said Tutoring Program will continue to have no impact at the university. It is doubtlessly necessary to find out more about the professors’ opinions, so that even with the implementation of the recommendations, future follow-up can be made towards a solution of the problem with tutoring. Nevertheless, this would be another study with new dimensions from the professors themselves.


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1With regards to this the various studies and information can be consulted on the program page: Consulted November 21, 2013.

2The event occurred in ordinary session No. 873 on May 17, 2010, based on resolution 873-2.

3The 2009-2015 Institutional Development Plan is a document agreed to by various UACh professors and bodies; it contains a programmed platform of actions viewed in the context of the current socioeconomic reality.

4This information has been shared in the meetings of the Tutoring Coordinators (Coordinadores de Tutorías) convened by the Subdirectorate of School Administration of the UACh (Subdirección de Administración Escolar de la UACh); on various occasions, the coordinator has been replaced or is in the election process. The author of this document participated in one of them as the Tutoring Coordinator of the Department of Agricultural Parasitology.

5 Hernández et al. (2006) describe an enjoyable and practical manner to use “a Likert type scale;” this information is found on pages 341 - 355.

6Data obtained from the webpage:

7The document used to give this workshop can be found at this site: retrieved on November 21, 2013.

8Information obtained from the Dirección General Académica, Subdirección de Administración Escolar, Departamento de Admisión, Promoción y Becas. Web site: Consulted April 28, 2013.

Received: November 08, 2017; Accepted: December 14, 2017

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