“Not just a tutor”: Successful supplementary tuition for Australian Indigenous students in higher education

Cameron Lydster, Jason Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


It is consistently reported in the literature that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students have much lower rates of access, retention and completion in higher education compared to non-Indigenous students. Seemingly bucking this trend, Bond University has experienced retention and completion rates
above national averages amongst its Indigenous students. One of the identified factors contributing to the success of Indigenous students at the University has been the supplementary tuition in the form of Bond Indigenous Tutoring (BIT), formerly known as ITAS. This paper investigated the experiences of both Indigenous students and staff involved in the federally funded tuition scheme in order to identify the outcomes of the tuition, what is required
for successful tuition and whether the programme was considered part of a deficit model of support for Indigenous learners. Participants in the study indicated that the tutoring programme led to increased confidence amongst students, reduced stress and improved grades. Requirements for a successful programme
included rapport between student and tutor, tailoring instruction to students’ needs, covering content specific knowledge and academic skills development when necessary and matching students and tutors from similar fields and age groups. Finally, the majority of participants argued that BIT was not part of a deficit model. It is hoped this paper adds to the literature
providing evidence for the efficacy of supplementary tutoring for Indigenous students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A140- A160
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Academic Language and Learning
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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