The Use of Undergraduates to Support Instruction

With proper supervision, undergraduates may be employed to assist the instructor of a Yale College course in photocopying course materials, preparing laboratory materials, gathering information for recommended reading lists, giving technical assistance at computer terminals, mounting materials on websites, and similar tasks. In these instances, the undergraduates should be employed by arrangement between the department or program office and the Office of Student Employment. Instructors should closely monitor student workers to be sure that appropriate precautions are taken to safeguard the integrity of course materials and the safety of the students.

On rare occasions, and only when there is no graduate student in the department or in any related program available for this duty, an instructor may, with the support of the director of undergraduate studies, request permission from the Yale College Dean’s Office to hire an Undergraduate Course Grader to assist in the scoring of objective course assignments. This excludes any participation in the grading of final examinations, but may include scoring objective tests and problem sets that might contribute toward a student’s overall course grade. It is not appropriate under any circumstances for an Undergraduate Course Grader to evaluate essays, essay questions on examinations, or any other work that calls for subjective or individual judgment. Undergraduate Course Graders should be selected with special care. Only those undergraduates who have demonstrated sufficient expertise and complete trustworthiness should be considered for this important responsibility.

In making a request for permission to hire an Undergraduate Course Grader, the instructor and the director of undergraduate studies must attest to all of the following stipulations: that no graduate student is available for these responsibilities; that no graduate student will be performing the exact same set of tasks for this course as an undergraduate grader; that the instructor—not a teaching fellow, a Part-Time Acting Instructor, or other graduate or professional school student—will be training and supervising the undergraduate grader; and that the instructor has put in place a system to preserve the anonymity of the students whose work is being scored by the undergraduate grader and to ensure the integrity of the grading. See Yale College Guidelines for Teaching with ULAs for help with blind grading approaches. 

Instructors in science and quantitative reasoning courses may find it helpful to have available Course-Based Peer Tutors in addition to the other resources (such as faculty and teaching fellows) associated with the course. Course-Based Peer Tutors are undergraduates who in most cases have previously taken the course in which they will be tutoring. They attend lectures or laboratories and are available to students in the course for one-on-one and small-group tutoring, closely overseen by the course instructor. For additional information please visit the Center for Teaching and Learning Tutoring Website. Requests for authorization to appoint a Course-Based Peer Tutor should be addressed to Kailas Purushothaman.

Types of student course-support: roles defined

Course-Based Peer Tutors are undergraduates assigned to a specific course who may hold office hours or work one-on-one with students. CBPTs are not authorized to grade assignments or exams. CBPTs are allocated based on requests to the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Graders may be graduate or undergraduate students assigned to review and grade problem sets and exams for a course. They do not normally interact directly with the undergraduates enrolled in the course. To date, graders have been more commonly used to evaluate quantitative assignments or other work where grading criteria are more objective (e.g., problem sets, coding assignments, and lab reports rather than essays).

Undergraduate Learning Assistants (ULAs) are undergraduates who assist in a variety of ways but no department may use ULAs without the prior approval of the Yale College Faculty.

Teaching Fellows, Undergraduate Learning Assistants and graders are allocated to departments and programs by the Teaching Fellow Program. CBPTs are allocated by the Center for Teaching and Learning. (See comparison table via the downloadable PDF.)