Remediation Part 2: The Student Success Coaching Model

Apr 20, 2023 | PA Admissions Corner

By Jim Pearson and Dr. Scott Massey

Welcome back to PA Admissions Corner. We’re right in the middle of our three-part series on remediation. In our last Issue, we discussed the value of early intervention in preventing student performance challenges. Many of those challenges can see significant improvement by implementing pre-matriculation classes or modules a Study Skills Seminar at orientation or during the first few weeks of classes. The next phase is the Student Success Coaching Model, which promotes active involvement of advisors and students when problems arise.


All PA programs have an advising structure that provides support for students, the Student Success Coaching Model leads advisors to immediately refer students when academic difficulty is detected. A careful documentation process must exist on the academic counseling sheets. An Academic Success Coach (Check back next time for more details on this important role!) then creates a brief summary of the interaction with the advisor.

Key elements of incorporating a Student Success Coaching Model include:

  • Facilitating the pre-matriculation program. Identify students who need to complete this program before the first day of classes. The success coach will help identify these students in collaboration with the admissions process.
  • Facilitating and overseeing the test self-analysis process. All students who score less than 75% on an exam will be required to self-analyze their test. After analyzing the incorrect responses, students will meet with a specific faculty member to process the results (Further details below).
  • Providing training for new faculty. They will need to be familiar with student success remediation skills.
  • Reviewing the program’s remediation process for effectiveness. This data point can change each year based on analyzing student performance longitudinally.
  • Annually providing a series of sessions on student study skills. Helpful sessions like these are especially important in a student’s first semester. These sessions will cover learning styles, organizational skills, time management, metacognitive skills, high-impact study skills, and test-taking skills.
  • Providing skills sessions about formative independent study skills and test-taking techniques. Before the clinical year, these sessions are intended to facilitate students transitioning to clinical year testing for nationally standardized examinations like EORE, PACKRAT, and the PANCE.
  • Meeting with each student categorized as “at risk,” “critical risk,” or “fail.” PACKRAT I categories will require developing an academic improvement plan as a student begins the clinical year.
  • Meeting with each student not achieving the minimum score on EORE. Sessions after each rotation provide test-taking remediation and focused study methods to enhance success rates.
  • Developing and implementing academic improvement plans. Students on academic probation must meet with the success coach at least three times per semester to monitor their progress toward achieving compliance.
  • Facilitating study plans during the second year. Prepare students to immediately take the PANCE after graduation.
  • Reviewing the parametric analysis of nationally standardized examinations to develop a risk modeling process. Allow the program to identify students who require intensive tutoring before graduation. This proven system can result in 100% pass rates if properly implemented.

These services are not intended to replicate specialized institutional services for students needing accommodation, counseling, or other professional services beyond the scope of an academic program.


The Test Self-Analysis Process

When we encounter a student struggling with coursework, it is usually because they have recently failed a test or are currently failing a class, and the student has already been referred for remediation.

We have a chance to make a difference at this juncture. We can bring them into a system of supportive (not punitive) assistance. One particularly helpful method we have found for identifying and solving problems is having these students participate in assessing their own situation.

A highly effective method of self-assessment is the Exam Review, particularly useful in cases where a student receives a poor grade on a test (lower than 75%). The evaluation form asks the student to honestly describe the amount of time studied for the examination and the techniques used to study. It then requires that the student take a careful inventory of the questions missed on the test and why they may have been missed.

The student is asked to list each question missed on the test, and if applicable, how many points were taken from the total question points. The student then delineates the question’s place in Bloom’s taxonomy (knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis) and selects the reason(s) why the question was missed, including options like:

a) I ran out of time.
b) I’m unfamiliar with material.
c) I didn’t understand question.
d) I changed my answer.
e) I misread or misinterpreted the question.
f) I made a careless mistake.
g) I didn’t know the material because I didn’t study it, or I’m not sure we ever talked about it in class.

Using this form and these instructions can help students identify the types of questions that challenge them the most, which can direct future study habits.


Exam Self Reflection

To further promote understanding of testing difficulties, students may also answer the following questions to increase the mindfulness of their note-taking, studying, and test-taking habits. The answers to these questions should be discussed and reviewed with the student’s Academic Success Coach or advisor.


  1. Do you read the textbook before going to class and attempting assignments?
  2. How much time do you estimate you spend reading and completing assignments?
  3. Do you think you are preparing well for class overall?


During Class

  1. Where do you sit in class, and do you think where you sit impacts your attention or performance?
    (Distance-learning alternative: Where do you set up to attend class, and do you think this impacts your attention or performance?)
  2. Do you attempt all activities in class even if you are unsure?
  3. Do you leave class with questions that you write down for yourself?
  4. Are you taking the most complete and effective notes you can be?


Post Class

  1. Are you asking yourself about the “why” of the “what” that you are doing?
  2. Do you review the PowerPoints and class notes routinely after each class?
  3. Do you revisit or reread challenging material to answer the questions you have from class?
  4. Are you completing assignments as effective practice or only for the score?
  5. Are you taking advantage of all the help and resources offered to you?
  6. Do you have study partners to review class notes with? Are these study sessions active and effective?



  1. When did you start studying for the exam? (Hint: Two days before the exam is not enough time)
  2. Did you finish with time to check over questions?
  3. Could you teach someone else how to approach and answer each question?
  4. Did you practice answering all questions again from PowerPoints and online homework assignments without help or notes?
  5. Explain what your studying “looks like” as if we could watch a video of your study methods.
  6. Are your study habits active and engaging or passive and automated?
  7. Have you reviewed each question of the exam to see why you got each one right or wrong?


Moving Forward

  1. What do you think you could do to improve your success in this course?
  2. How can you learn from this exam?
  3. What active study strategies do you want to start incorporating?
  4. How do you learn best? What study methods are working well for you?
  5. Are you using all your resources?
  6. Are you learning the material thoroughly or just “studying”?
  7. How will you know when you’ve mastered the information?



In this Issue, we introduced some ways to facilitate the remediation process with active participation from the faculty and the students of your program. These methods work best as a combined effort between the two parties, and when it is not seen as a punitive measure but as an opportunity to create success. Your program has made an investment in this student, and vice versa – there is no reason to allow solvable problems to interfere with that relationship.


In our next Issue, we’ll conclude our series on effective remediation methods by discussing the implementation of an Academic Success Coach and the need for a general paradigm shift for all faculty members when it comes to remediation for struggling students.


To your admissions and program success,

Jim Pearson, CEO
Exam Master

Dr. Scott Massey Ph.D., PA-C
Scott Massey LLC

If you are in need of admissions support and services for your PA program, we can help.

Jim Pearson and Dr. Scott Massey have helped hundreds of educational institutions and programs improve their admissions outcomes.

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