Supplemental Instruction (SI), created at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is a non-remedial approach to learning that supports students toward academic success by integrating “what to learn” with “how to learn.” SI consists of regularly scheduled, voluntary, out-of-class group study sessions driven by students’ needs. Sessions are facilitated by trained peer leaders who utilize collaborative activities to ensure peer-to-peer interaction in small groups. SI is implemented in high-risk courses in consultation with academic staff and is supported and evaluated by a trained supervisor.
SI Leaders are “near peers”. SI Leaders are students themselves who have taken the class before and earned a high grade in the course. Faculty typically recommends the Leaders who facilitate the SI sessions. SI Leaders undergo a vigorous training process. SI Leaders are prepared to share with students how to effectively study for the course. SI Leaders attend the same class sessions with the students, taking notes and listening closely to the professor. The SI Leader is supervised by the program coordinator.
At each SI session, the Leader will guide the students through the most difficult course concepts. SI Leaders will help students make good use of their time and share the strategies he or she used to be successful in the course. SI Leaders will not re-lecture, give out copies of his or her notes, help students with assigned homework, or encourage last minute test cramming. The overall goal of SI sessions it to incorporate a deeper understanding of course content with study skills that can be used with other coursework.
The SI program is beneficial to everyone. Students who attend SI sessions report higher course grades and learned study skills. SI Leaders report professional development in Leadership and facilitation; they also report better, more developed relationships with faculty and a deeper understanding of the content for which they serve. Faculty benefit from having SI support in their classes. Through interactions with the Leader, they have their finger on the pulse of the students in their class, they receive higher student evaluations, and they are more connected with the needs of their students. Finally, university administrators benefit because the data show that course sections with SI support have, on average, a 13% reduction in grades of D, F, and Withdrawals. This helps to raise the retention rate of students in the course. Also, SI is a less expensive program to run than traditional tutoring.
The SI Leader will make an announcement about sessions on the first day of class. Students will be asked to fill out a short survey regarding their class schedule and availability. Students are encouraged to bring their official class schedule with them on the first day.
SI sessions start the first or second week of class. SI Leaders will pass out a short survey and ask students to mark their available times on the first day class. At the International Center, we use Doodle polls to determine the best times for students; because of rooming issues, some schools must determine session times before the start of the semester. After reviewing the surveys, the SI Leader will announce times and locations for sessions during the next class period. Each SI Leader typically sets up three or more review sessions per week.
SI sessions are free to students. Students are encouraged to come as often as they like, however, the statistics show that the more students attend, the better their grades.
Questions regarding the International Center for Supplemental Instruction
The International Center has trained more than 1,500 representatives from 30 countries to start SI programs on their campuses.
SI National Centers are higher education institutions around the world who have Memorandums of Understanding with the International Center for Supplemental Instruction that enable them to provide SI Training for other institutions within their regions utilizing the materials and methods developed at the International Center. These SI National Centers employ Certified SI Trainers who are experts in SI best practices and are qualified to pass that expertise along to the SI institutions in their regions. For a list of our National Centers, please click here
SI Leader Appreciation Week is a week during which the International Center hopes programs will take a moment to recognize the contribution of their SI Leaders and the impacts they are making on students lives around the world. The suggested week for SI Leader Appreciation Week is the last full week in September.
*These questions and answers only apply when in-person trainings are offered. For information about our online trainings, please visit our Online Trainings page.
In short, no. Certified SI Trainers either work at the International Center for Supplemental Instruction or have a Memorandum of Understanding with us to be able to use our training materials and processes to train other institutions to implement SI programs for themselves. However, through completing the SI Supervisor Training, you do earn the right to utilize training materials and processes in your own SI program at your own institution.