Supplemental Instruction (SI) involves utilizing a model student/near peer who has recently and successfully completed a course to attend the course a second time and lead peer-facilitated study sessions over the course content. Since 1973, the data supporting the effectiveness of this model have remained consistent; on average, students who regularly attend SI sessions earn a half to a full letter grade higher and earn D’s, F’s, and withdraw from courses less frequently than students who do not attend SI sessions.
The accreditation initiative sets out key components of SI that programs across the United States must be doing in order to qualify to be an accredited SI program. While SI is by nature flexible, there has been a growing demand in the last decade to provide a way to showcase SI programs to distinguish those programs that are adhering to core principles of the model and receive development and coaching from the staff at the International Center for SI. These criteria are called the Core Four. Click each drop down list below to read an explanation of each requirement and how the documents submitted in the accreditation application should demonstrate a program’s adoption of the Core Four.
One – Trained by the International Center
For initial accreditation only: The program coordinator must be trained by a Certified SI Trainer from the International Center for SI at UMKC.
This requirement ensures that there is a current staff member at the institution who has received training from the International Center (either on-site, in Kansas City, or online via SI Supervisor Training Online) in the last five years. Applications should include their SI Training certificate of completion or the staff person’s name and dates of the training attended so that attendance can be verified.
Two – SI Leader Training and Support
The program must require and provide intensive training both at the beginning of the semester and throughout the semester for SI Leaders, as well as a robust observation schedule.
SI Leader training is a critical component of any SI program. To qualify for accreditation, a pre-semester SI Leader training should include a focus on collaborative learning techniques, facilitation strategies, and learning strategies. The pre-semester training should also include an opportunity for Leaders to observe an ideal SI session and to practice running their own mock SI session. Programs must also hold ongoing SI Leader meetings throughout the semester to offer Leaders opportunities for professional development and to troubleshoot session concerns. Accreditation applications should include agendas for pre-semester training and ongoing meetings that demonstrate these items are included.
Accredited SI programs will demonstrate their commitment to a robust observation schedule by submitting their observation schedule from the most recent semester that shows Leaders are observed at various times throughout the semester. Observation sheets will also be submitted, and these will demonstrate the observer’s focus on facilitation strategies, the beginning/middle/closing structure, and use of collaborative learning techniques.
Three – Strong Focus on Planning
The program must include an intensive focus on SI Leaders planning sessions and those sessions being regularly observed by program staff or anyone associated with the program whose knowledge of SI is strong enough for them to provide constructive feedback for SI Leaders.
SI session planning is a key component of the SI model. The SI Leader must prepare for the session by organizing activities and anticipating student needs. This is one of the unique features of SI, and thus is an important part of the accreditation application. All planning sheets submitted as part of the application for accreditation must show use of opening, middle, and closing activities, as well as collaborative learning techniques. All supplemental materials to SI Leader plans should also be included in the accreditation application.
Four – Class Attendance & Program Evaluation
The program must require that SI Leaders attend class sessions; the program must also demonstrate robust student attendance, GPA, and DFW data.
SI Leaders must attend a minimum of 60% of regularly scheduled class sessions throughout the semester. The SI program itself must average at least 15% attendance at all SI sessions and show a data trend consistent with SI’s research claim; namely, students must earn, on average, half to a full letter grade higher and there must be a DFW rate difference between the SI group and the non-SI group. Each application for accreditation must include three letters from faculty who have SI attached to their class, and these letters must verify the minimum 60% attendance and speak to the grade and DFW differences their students have experienced.