Skip to Main Content

Peer Assisted Learning Program (PAL) Center for Science & Math Success

Support Page Content

Take a PAL

Students should take a PAL to optimize their performance in their course, enhance their confidence with the material, and engage with other students.

Why take a PAL?

Our recent statistical analysis indicates that students opting into PAL earn a 23% “bump” in their course grade. This study considered data from over 25,000 Sac State students over 7 years. Since PAL is an optional program, this analysis used propensity score matching to compare students with comparable academic and social backgrounds, ensuring that the grade boost is actually due to the students' participation in PAL. The chart below shows the PAL bump in all classes with sufficient data after accounting for covariates. Read more about our study here, or view the data for each class here.

gpa chart

In addition to having an impact on student performance, PAL also improves problem-solving skills, boosts student confidence, creates a sense of community and support among students, and promotes effective study techniques. That is, PAL encourages students to build the foundation for future success.


How to enroll

To find PAL courses, students can search the MySacState Student Center or the public schedule under Natural Sciences & Math. To enroll in PAL courses, students can enroll in the MySacState Student Center or show up to the first day of class with student ID.

The following table gives the relationships between lecture courses and PAL courses.

Lecture course PAL course
Bio 22 NSM 12I
Bio 25 NSM 12V
Bio 26 NSM 12W
Bio 121 NSM 12H
Bio 131 BIO 131A
Bio 184 NSM 12L
Chem 1A NSM 12C
Chem 1B NSM 12D
Chem 4 NSM 12A
Chem 24 NSM 12N
Chem 124 NSM 12S
Math 12 NSM 12R
Math 29 NSM 12B
Math 30 NSM 12E
Math 31 NSM 12F
Math 32 NSM 12J
Phys 5A NSM 12T

What students say

  • “…the PAL was probably the major reason why I am doing well in Calculus, because we practice what we learn instead of just taking notes. This class was very beneficial to me.”
  • “Sometimes you learn more from your peers than a professor trying to assist 80 students at once…PAL was really, really helpful for my chemistry class.”
  • “PAL shows you different perspectives and allows you to question freely without judgment.”
  • “Being able to speak out my thoughts on concepts allowed me to better understand how the processes actually occur”
  • “More brains is better than one – sometimes I wouldn’t see/understand a concept someone else did and vice versa. This helped a lot in class”
  • “It helped me see different ways other students learn and remember information, which helped my study habits”
  • “Discussing out loud and sharing ideas helps cement my understanding of concepts”
  • “PAL helped, because each student had a slightly different approach on solving problems, making it easier to learn the concepts.”
  • “The PAL Program was very helpful to me because it forced me into a new type of learning environment. Working with other students helped me become more comfortable working with my peers which immensely helped when it came time for studying for the final. Being a more solitary person, this was a challenge which ended up with positive results for me.”

wss chart1