Skip to Main Content
Undergraduate Studies

SI vs. PASS - What's the Difference?

SI and PASS are very similar. In fact, the PASS program was built off of the existing SI structure. Below are some of the key similarities and differences between the two. To sum up, however, think of PASS as "required SI", with a few minor changes.


Weekly Organized Sessions

Both programs feature organized sessions. By organized, we mean there will be weekly sessions with planned activities, designed to best help you with the lecture material.


SI and PASS "Leaders", as they are called, are trained peers who are taught how to design activities, help you with various levels of material, and equip you with the skills and knowledge to be successful. 

Positive impact

SI and PASS both have very positive influences on student performance. Previous UNF data shows that students who regularly attend either SI or PASS experience large increases in their course GPA and likelihood to pass. 

Targets Historically Challenging Courses

SI and PASS are different from services like Academic Coaching, another SASS service, in that they target courses rather than students. There's no "kind" of student SI and PASS are built around it's for everyone!

The courses SASS targets are "historically-challenging", which means that over the past few years, students have experienced lower pass rates in these versus their other courses. For the most part, SASS starts by looking at courses with at least a 20% fail-rate, meaning 1 in 5 students do not finish the semester with at least a C.


Attendance Policy

SI is and always will be optional. Faculty cannot make SI attendance mandatory or count as part of the normal course grade (extra credit can be offered only in circumstances where every student has an option to earn said credit). 

PASS, on the other hand, is typically required to some degree. This varies by course, so always consult your syllabi to see how it works for your course! There may be instances where only students scoring a certain percentage in the course are required to attend while remaining optional for those who are scoring well.

Part of the Course Grade

Given the attendance policy, SI will not count as part of the standard course grade, but courses with PASS typically do. For example, a class may require students to attend a PASS session once a week, with 15% of their overall grade coming from attending. This number varies, so like we said, check your syllabi to see more information!


Another key feature of SI is that it's anonymous in that the professor will not know who goes and who doesn't. SASS staff and the SI Leaders will never pulge to the professor if you are attending sessions or not. Attendance is still tracked in SI so that SASS can see what courses students are attending sessions for and the final grade performance. We want to make sure it's working for you!

PASS attendance, since it is typically required, is shared with the professors so that they can give you the credit for attending.

Review vs. Practice

SI is built around reviewing lecture material and getting students prepared for upcoming assignments, quizzes, exams, and lectures. SI Leaders will impose a variety of activities focused on reviewing concepts.

PASS is centered on practicing problems, which is why its often seen in subjects such as math, physics, and computer science. 

This isn't to say that in SI there's never practice, or that in PASS there's never review, but it's a good guideline to start understanding the difference between them and why one is required.

Weekly Availability

In a course that has SI, sessions are offered three times a week for an hour each. Given our budget, Leader availability, and student availability, SASS has found this to be the best distribution of time to ensure as many people as possible are able to go, while also offering sessions long enough to get a full-review of critical topics.

PASS has variability, again. In some instances, students may be required to go once a week to an hour and fifteen-minute session. Sometimes a PASS course has several 55-minute sessions scheduled back-to-back, and you can choose to go to the one that works best in your schedule. The syllabus, professor, and SASS staff can provide you with more information and clarification if you need it.