Date of Award

January 2018

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Shirley P. O'Brien

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Second Advisor

Melba G. Custer

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Third Advisor

Lara Vance

Department Affiliation



Current legislation offers K-12 students identified as having special needs support in school settings, resulting in increased opportunities including attending college. In college, these students become part of a population of high-risk students. In an effort to retain students, universities create assistive learning centers offering tutoring and mentoring programs. Best practices in these centers include implementation of metacognitive strategies which are proven to improve student outcomes, but not all students utilize them. This study implemented a tutor and mentor training program developed through Occupational Therapy consultation in a university assistive learning center. Tutors and mentors in the center were trained in the Model of Human Occupation (MoHO) theory and metacognitive strategies. An assessment derived from theoretical underpinnings of MoHO was completed by students and facilitated by tutors and mentors exploring self-perception of motivation, habituation and performance in academic-related occupations. Pre- and post-assessment data, grade point average, and demographic data were collected and analyzed. Tutors and mentors guided students in metacognitive processes, fostering self-reflection and addressing motivational aspects behind academic success. By systematically learning about the student as a complex individual through the theoretical lens of MoHO and using metacognitive learning strategies, tutors and mentors understand students better and enable students to better understand themselves, not only as students, but as holistic individuals. Findings of the study suggest modest changes in ways to address high-risk student needs for success. Implications for the role of the occupational therapist in assistive learning centers is suggested.