Copyrights by The Curators of the University of Missouri
Developed by Dr. Deanna Martin in 1973 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a peer-facilitated academic support program that increases student performance and retention. The Supplemental Instruction model has proven to be successful in institutions of varying size, location, and organizational structure. It can be adapted to reflect the individual needs and differences of each campus, but there are certain elements of the model which should be present to ensure the integrity of the program. They are as follows:
The ideal SI Leader is a student who has recently taken the
class from the same instructor and received a high final subject grade.
All SI Leaders should be approved by the
faculty member for content competency.
The SI Supervisor interviews and selects SI Leaders through a rigorous process
which helps determine if the candidate possesses qualities and characteristics
needed to be an effective SI Leader.
The SI Leader neither re-lectures nor introduces new
material; instead, the SI Leader’s responsibility is to organize and add structure
to the SI sessions. The final
responsibility for processing course material and answering questions generated
by the students remains with the students themselves. The primary function of the SI Leader is to
facilitate critical thinking and discussion among SI participants through the
use of learning strategy activities. The
Leader models appropriate learning strategies at key points in the SI sessions.
SI Leader serves as a “model student” by attending all lectures for the
When the SI Leader
attends the course lectures, the Leader becomes knowledgeable about what is
occurring in the class sessions and has an opportunity to model “good student”
behavior in the class.
The SI Leader’s
presence in the classroom also serves to market the SI program to
The Leader should regularly
meet with the supervisor or other staff to plan strategies to use in
Additionally, the SI Leader
functions as a “model student” of the discipline rather than an authority
SI Leaders help students
formulate and answer their own questions.
This process helps students develop a more sophisticated approach to
learning, while maintaining the focus on difficult course content mastery.
SI sessions integrate the review of lecture notes, textbook readings, problem
solving, outside readings along with appropriate use of learning
How to learn”
is embedded into SI sessions along with
“what to learn.”
Through practice and mastery of effective
learning strategies, students can adopt and transfer these strategies to other
subjects and content areas.
Collaborative learning strategies are used in SI sessions as a means of
creating a more active learning environment for student participants.
SI Leader receives training on how to plan for and lead dynamic SI sessions
prior to the beginning of the term.
Ongoing training continues throughout the academic term.
These training sessions include specific
learning theory and strategies.
trained professional staff supervisors the SI Leaders and the program.
Among other duties, the campus SI Supervisor
and staff regularly attend SI sessions throughout the academic term to observe
the sessions and provide helpful feedback to the Leaders for the improvement of
To ensure the success of
the program, the SI Supervisor should have attended the SI Supervisor workshop
conducted by a staff member from UMKC or another Certified Trainer.
should understand the SI program and support its attachment to his or her class
by actively encouraging all students to attend.
Faculty should also play a role in selecting and screening SI Leaders
for content competency.
starts the beginning of the academic term.
Generally three or more sessions are offered each week but the number of
weekly sessions will vary depending on the student demand or specific issues
related to the course.
attend SI sessions on a voluntary basis.
higher education has historically created academic improvement programs that
attempt to diagnose students who may have academic difficulty, the SI program
targets courses in which a number of students may experience academic
SI avoids a remedial stigma by
focusing on courses, rather than individual students.
The SI program provides changes in the
learning environment for students enrolled in the targeted class.
While all students may not take advantage of
this voluntary service, it often attracts an equal proportion of students from
differing ability and cultural groups.
does not segregate students based on prior academic performance or predictions
of academic success. SI sessions work
best with heterogeneous groupings of students.
Participating students receive higher measures of academic achievement
in comparison to their nonparticipating counterparts (according to research
from the US Department of Education 1981).
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