Supplemental Instruction Study Sessions for Difficult Courses

What Is Supplemental Instruction?

Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a series of peer-facilitated, collaborative study sessions intended to improve student success and retention in historically difficult courses. It is different from traditional tutoring because the peer leader is a facilitator of carefully-planned collaborative activities meant to improve student understanding of course material. The focus is not remediation of students but rather enhancing understanding of troublesome course material as well as improving study skills and learning strategies of students. Study sessions begin at the start of the semester, rather than waiting until students are having issues, to improve student outcomes from the very beginning.

How are SI Courses Identified?

SI courses are identified by researching institutional DFW lists for previous and current years. Preferred courses will have a high rate of DFWs (greater than 30%), and a large number of students that can be served under a single instructor. Traditionally, targeted courses are those that occur within the first two years of study, when incidence of drop out and withdrawal is highest among new college students.

How Are SI Leaders Selected?

SI Leaders are students with demonstrated excellence in the course previously. They are selected by asking the instructor of the targeted course for recommendations and then conducting a series of interviews. Because being an SI Leader is a serious commitment, the selection process is key to the program's success. SI Leaders then undergo training in cooperative learning methodologies to build skills for conducting the study sessions.

Why Supplemental Instruction?

Supplemental Instruction is a research-based support methodology that has been historically shown to improve student grades, understanding and retention among students who attend support sessions regularly. Participating students typically receive 1/2 to 1 full letter grade higher, on exams, homework and end-of-course grades, than students who do not participate. They are also shown to graduate from higher education at higher rates than their non-SI-participating peers. Participating faculty also benefit; instructors participating in SI report better connections with students and they often receive better student survey feedback than non-participating faculty.

Questions About Supplemental Instruction?

Do you have questions about Supplemental Instruction, or want to ask about having your course supported? Please contact our Supplemental Instruction Coordinator, Laura Wommack, in the Department of Tutoring and College Success at 51681 or Or, see some SI FAQs by clicking on the button below.

Created By
Laura Wommack


Laura Wommack

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.