Deeper learning and academic success may be critical requisites to increasing

baccalaureate degree attainment among young, low-income, and disadvan-
taged students. U-Pace instruction produced deeper learning and academic
success regardless of family fnancial strength.
DIANE M. REDDY, PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY,
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN–MILWAUKEE
SOCIETY FOR THE TEACHING OF
PSYCHOLOGY AND THE UNIVERSITY
OF WISCONSIN–MILWAUKEE
U-PACE
The Society for the Teaching of Psy-
chology (STP), which functions as
Division 2 of the American Psycho-
logical Association, and the Univer-
sity of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UWM)
partnered to disseminate U-Pace,
a technology-enabled instructional
model that promotes student suc-
cess through deeper learning. Stu-
dents engage in deeper learning by
mastering core academic content
while learning how to think criti-
cally, collaborate, direct their own
learning, and—perhaps most impor-
tantly—believe in themselves. They
tend to be more motivated and take
ownership of their education, which
results in higher academic perfor-
mance, preparing them for career
and life success. UWM developed
U-Pace in 2006 for an Introduction to
Psychology course and, over time, ev-
idence indicates that U-Pace not only
produces greater academic success
but also reliably increases learning
and reduces the achievement gap for
disadvantaged students. In addition,
U-Pace can be implemented at any
institution because its only required
resource is a learning management
system.
DESIGN DETAILS
The U-Pace model organizes course
material into small, online segments
with assessments; each segment
covers about half a lesson’s worth of
material. Students take approximate-
ly two online multiple-choice quizzes
a week, with each 10-question quiz
taking about six minutes to complete.
The quizzes involve deeper thinking
and real-world applications of the ma-
terial. Students progress to new con-
tent only after demonstrating subject
mastery by scoring a grade of at least
90% on the quiz.
The LMS records information for
each student, including quiz scores,
number of quiz attempts, and time
elapsed since the last quiz attempt.
Instructors use this information to
customize weekly, personalized stu-
dent feedback and motivational sup-
port, known as amplifed assistance.
Typically, instructors create tailored
e-mail messages derived from over
50 templates found in the U-Pace In-
structional Manual, which address a
broad range of courses and student
profles. These templates powerfully
communicate to students that they
can ultimately succeed, even if they
are unsuccessful at the moment, and
let them know the instructor is with
them each step of the way.
Over time, a reinforcing success cy-
cle emerges. U-Pace students indicate
that the high performance standard
(i.e., scoring at least a 90%) required
of them, and the critical support and
encouragement they receive from the
U-Pace instructor to reach this stan-
dard, empowers them to succeed. As
they earn an A on each quiz, assess-
ing deep learning of the material, stu-
dents learn that they can thrive. Their
confdence and sense of control over
their learning deepens; they learn the
level of study necessary to succeed
in college and strengthen their study
skills and habits.
AT A GLANCE:
Long-Term Goal:
Broad-scale use of U-Pace in
college courses in psychology and
other subject areas
Grant Challenge Area:
Deeper learning
Resource:
Whole-course model
Participating Institutions:
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
University of North Florida
University of Puerto Rico at
Mayagüez
Partner:
Society for the Teaching of
Psychology (Division 2 of the
American Psychological Association)
“Students say that U-Pace
instruction enhanced
their learning and had a
profound impact on them
beyond the U-Pace course,
afecting their approach
to subsequent coursework
and their self-confdence.”
—Diane M. Reddy
GRANT AWARD:
Funding Period:
April 2011–December 2012
Follow-On Funding Period:
January 2013–December 2014
Total Award: $533,639
PROJECT ACTIVITIES
UWM and STP used NGLC funds to
disseminate the U-Pace model to
other institutions and subject areas:
• Proof of Concept: University of
North Florida and University of
Puerto Rico at Mayagüez imple-
mented the U-Pace Introduction
to Psychology course model in
spring 2012. Partner institutions’
students demonstrated academ-
ic achievement similar to UWM’s,
supporting U-Pace’s validity be-
yond UWM. A third institution that
participated in the project deviated
from the U-Pace model and expe-
rienced challenges with collecting
data, which invalidated their proj-
ect outcomes.
• Implementation Support: The
project team created resources
to help other institutions adopt
U-Pace and to maintain quality
and consistency as use of U-Pace
expands. The team also expanded
U-Pace implementation to Desire-
2Learn, Moodle, and Blackboard
learning management systems.
° U-Pace website, the central infor-
mation and resource repository
° Instructional Manual, an imple-
mentation handbook
° Training Module, a guide for in-
structors
° Syllabus, a sample and adapt-
able Word-based course sylla-
bus
° LMS Checklist, a list of LMS set-
tings for implementation
• Awareness: With additional fol-
low-on funding from NGLC, project
leaders continue to raise aware-
ness of U-Pace within higher edu-
cation through a national training
workshop for instructors at STP’s
Best Practices in the Teaching of
Psychology Conference, through
conference presentations, and in
academic publications.
RESULTS TO DATE
The U-Pace team and SRI Internation-
al, an external evaluator of projects
in the NGLC grant program, reported
these project results:
• With 181 students in the U-Pace
project, the project team’s goal of
180 participants was met.
• During the grant period, U-Pace
students were signifcantly more
likely to complete the course suc-
cessfully than students who took
the course without U-Pace. The
positive average efect size found
through SRI’s evaluation, .621, is
equivalent to raising the average
student’s score on a 100-point
exam from 50 to about 73. The
positive efect of U-Pace was
found both for low-income stu-
dents and for their more advan-
taged peers.
• The U-Pace team reported that
in the beginning of the semes-
ter, low-income U-Pace students
required a greater number of at-
tempts to achieve mastery on quiz-
zes than higher-income U-Pace
students. By the end of the semes-
ter, this gap closed.
• At the end of the course,
U-Pace students at both partner
institutions reported a greater
sense of achievement than con-
ventionally taught students and
perceived greater instructor sup-
port and willingness to help, as
well as increased knowledge of
psychology. At one partner institu-
tion and at UWM, U-Pace students
also demonstrated better time
management skills and a greater
sense of control over learning.
• Six months after taking Intro-
duction to Psychology, U-Pace
students performed signifcant-
ly better (16% higher than con-
ventionally taught students) on a
proctored cumulative exam mea-
suring core concepts. This result
held even after controlling for ACT
scores and cumulative college
GPAs that might have explained
the performance diference.
PARTICIPANT IMPRESSIONS
Faculty: Instructors commented on
U-Pace’s academic and personal im-
pacts on students. “I think they devel-
oped skills not only for studying, but
skills for retaining information, and
could apply what they learn to vari-
ous examples and to integrate the
material,” stated Lori Lange, associ-
ate professor of psychology at the
University of North Florida. “I think
that U-Pace was really critical to their
development.” Han-Joo Lee, assistant
professor of psychology at University
of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, agreed: “I
have seen so many students show-
ing great confdence in themselves.
It seems like U-Pace changed the way
U-Pace Core
Components
Mediating
Process
Observable
Student Outcomes
Amplified
Assistance
Mastery-Based
Learning
Students’
Perceived
Control over
Learning
Greater
Learning
Academic
Success
HOW U-PACE’S CORE COMPONENTS
SUPPORT STUDENT SUCCESS
Over time, through self-paced
mastery learning combined
with amplifed assistance
(personalized student feedback
and motivational support),
students gain confdence in
their academic abilities, which
motivates them to manage their
learning process and positions
them for academic success.
Source: U-Pace: Facilitating
Academic Success for All
Students.
nextgenlearning.org
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%
Conventonally Taught
Low-Income Students
U-Pace Taught
Low-Income Students
they view themselves, the way they
view their capabilities and their po-
tential. That kind of personal growth
is really unique and so invaluable,
which is so hard to fnd in traditional
face-to-face classes.”
Students: U-Pace courses helped
students develop their full potential.
“I am doing pretty well in all of my
classes because of U-Pace,” explained
one student. “It has helped me out
so much in boosting my confdence,
and saying you are just a step further
from graduation and you can succeed
because you have all these skills in
you that you might have never seen
before.” Another student stated, “I
learned the content as well, but it is
not even that. It is the fact that I am
learning to be myself more, and I am
opening up more doors to being mo-
tivated and having better time man-
agement skills and being more con-
fdent in myself. Outside of school,
people have noticed changes in me,
that I have more of a glow to me, that
I am more outgoing, almost because
I have that confdence that I can actu-
ally do things that I used to think I had
no business doing.”
NEXT STEPS
Since the NGLC grant period, U-Pace
has won the National University
Technology Network’s 2012 Distance
Education Innovation Award and the
2013 Desire2EXCEL Impact Award.
In addition, the Education Adviso-
ry Board has recognized U-Pace as
an efective model for instructional
practice.
Adoption has expanded to 15
courses in STEM, humanities, and so-
cial sciences and to eight universities
in seven states. UWM’s College of Let-
ters and Sciences added development
of more U-Pace courses to its strategic
plan. The team continues to facilitate
further adoption by building aware-
ness as well as working with learning
platform vendors to add features and
functionality that will further person-
alize student learning and create ef-
ciencies for instructors.
The U.S. Department of Education’s
Institute of Education Sciences is cur-
rently supporting a four-year random-
ized controlled study of U-Pace involv-
ing 1,920 undergraduates across three
disciplines (psychology, sociology, and
political science) to better understand
the increased learning and academic
success associated with U-Pace. This
research will also determine whether
all students beneft from U-Pace in-
struction and whether improvements
in U-Pace students’ perceptions of
control over their learning mediate
student outcomes.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
• Reddy, Diane M., Raymond Flem-
ing, and Laura Pedrick. Increasing
Student Success: Evaluating the Ef-
fectiveness of U-Pace Instruction at
UWM. SEI case study. Louisville, CO:
ELI, September 2012.
• Reddy, Diane M., Raymond Fleming,
Laura E. Pedrick, Danielle L. Jirovec,
Heidi M. Pfeifer, Katie A. Ports, Jes-
sica L. Barnack-Tavlaris, Alicia M. He-
lion, and Rodney A. Swain. “U-Pace
Instruction: Improving Student Suc-
cess by Integrating Content Mastery
and Amplifed Assistance.” Journal of
Asynchronous Learning Networks 17,
no. 1 (January 2013).
• Reddy, Diane M., Raymond Flem-
ing, Laura E. Pedrick, Katie A. Ports,
Jessica L. Barnack-Tavlaris, Alicia
M. Helion, and Rodney A. Swain.

“U-Pace: Facilitating Academic Suc-
cess for all Students.” EDUCAUSE Re-
view Online (December 15, 2011)
• University of Wisconsin–Milwau-
kee. U-Pace website.
Contact: Diane M. Reddy, reddy@uwm.edu
http://nextgenlearning.org/grantee/society-teaching-psychology-division-2-american-psychological-association
© 2014 EDUCAUSE. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
OUTCOMES:
A comparison of 4,500 Introduction to Psychology students showed a signifcantly
higher percentage of U-Pace students earned a fnal course grade of A or B compared
to conventionally taught students (χ 2(1) = 137.13, p < .001), and both academically
prepared and academically underprepared students performed better with U-Pace
instruction. “Academically underprepared students” included those who scored less
than 19 on the ACT exam and/or had cumulative college GPAs of <2.0. Source:
U-Pace: Facilitating Academic Success for all Students.
Underprepared Student
Performance Comparison
Low-Income Student Performance Comparison
UW-
Milwaukee
Partner
Campus 1
Partner
Campus 2
At all participating institutions, the U-Pace students (regardless of family income)
earned a signifcantly greater percentage of As and Bs than the conventionally
taught, face-to-face students. U-Pace instruction produced deeper learning and
academic success rates at partner institutions similar to the rates consistently found
at UWM. Source: © 2014 Diane M. Reddy. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
100
As
Bs
2.22
4.62
7.42
18.66
17.88
6.98
30.59
11.37
p > .05
Conventional
Underprepared
Conventional
Prepared
U-Pace
Underprepared
U-Pace
Prepared