Support Our Students (SOS) Program


The SOS (Support our Students) Program, which is unique to FDU - Teaneck, was established in 1990, under the guidance of Dr. Richard Bronson of the School of Mathematics and Computer Science. The SOS program is designed to enhance the academic performance of all students - it is not a remedial program. Many disciplines within University College have courses that are taught using a SOS format. These notes will be confined to SOS courses within the School of Natural Sciences (SONS).

Features of the SOS Program

Two of the key characteristics of SOS  are "Structure" and "Support".

Structure 

Reinforcement of classroom material and very close monitoring of student performance are important features of SOS. The following items are generic descriptions of the various "structural" components of SOS.
  • Quizzes
    During the semester, students take a total of eight Quizzes. The best six of these quizzes are retained, and these constitute the student's "quiz evaluative measure. During weeks when students have an hourly exam in a SOS course no quiz is given in that course during that week. Graded quizzes are returned to the students very promptly.
  • Homework Assignments
    Fully graded homework assignments are given throughout the semester. Graded papers are returned very promptly to the students. Late assignments are not accepted.
  • Group Study
    Group study is approached differently for different courses. These sessions are held once each week at no additional cost to students. Working, in groups, students solve problem sets. Each student's problem set is fully graded, and the graded papers are returned promptly to the students. Late assignments are not accepted.
    • General Chemistry Group Study
      SOS group study activities are scheduled as a fifty minute addition to the day General Chemistry laboratory periods. Every student taking General Chemistry lecture during the day, is required to participate in a SOS study group. During group study sessions, students, working in small groups of 3 or 4 students, are given problem sets to solve. The group study sessions are designed to have students assist each other in solving problem sets. Efforts are made to integrate the problems appearing on quizzes, homework and group study. There is constant reinforcement of the lecture material. Each student must submit a separate answer sheet, and late assignments are not accepted. Faculty members monitoring the group study sessions can discuss general problem solving strategies or give generic guidance to the students, but this is the extent of a Faculty member's involvement. Faculty members may change the composition of the groups if a particular group is ineffective. It is important to emphasize that the grades received in the group study sessions are a component of each student's lecture grade.
    • Physics Group Study
      Physics also has a group study session, but the session is held early in the morning prior to the start of regularly scheduled classes.
  • Hourly Examinations
    Each SOS course has four hourly exams given during the semester. The exam period is from 8:00 am to 8:50 am. Students are permitted to start at 7:30 am so as to have additional time in which to complete the "hourly" exam. Each exam constitutes an "evaluative measure" towards a student's final grade.
  • Lecture Outlines
    SOS Instructors are required to distribute a lecture outline at the beginning of each lecture period. These outlines assist students in taking class notes.
  • Grading Policy
    The SOS grading policy may differ slightly for one SOS course to another. The grading scheme used in SOS General Chemistry is as follows:  
Evaluative Measure Points
Hourly Exam #1
Hourly Exam #2
Hourly Exam #3
Hourly Exam #4
Quizzes
Homework
Group Study
Final Exam
Final Exam
100 points
100 points
100 points
100 points
100 points
100 points
100 points
100 points
100 points
  • Note that there are nine evaluative measures and the Final Exam counts as two measures. In determining the final grade, one evaluative measure is dropped. If the Final exam is the lowest evaluative measure, it will count as 100 points rather than 200 points. Thus, the total number of points that a student can earn is eight hundred

Support

  • Early morning exam periods to provide additional time for exams. Free breakfasts, which may consist of coffee, juice, bagels, donuts, and muffins, are given to the students prior to the hourly exams.
  • Detailed Assessment Reports indicating grade averages, praise for doing well, and specific suggestions for improving performance, are distributed to each student after each hourly exam.
  • Recognition of Achievement
    • Mid-semester gift for those students doing "B" or better work.
    • Outing (e.g., trip to local restaurant) for students with an "A" average at the three- quarter point of the semester.

Although most SOS courses follow the same general framework, there are some variations regarding quizzes, homework, and group study. These variations are indicated in the following table.

SOS Course Quizzes Homework Group Study
General Biology I and II
General Chemistry I and II
Organic Chemistry I and II
General Physics I and II
Y
Y
Y
Y
N
Y
Y
Y
N
Y
N
Y

 

Results for the SOS program have been very encouraging. Student failure rates have decreased dramatically without any lowering of academic standards.