Overview of Supplemental Instruction (SI)
SI is a program of free, peer-led study sessions that supportsall students enrolled in historically difficult courses. These sessions are led by students who have previously passed the course with a letter grade of A or B and have now become SI Leaders. SI Leaders are high-performing students who attend the course again and reinforce course content through these SI sessions. SI Leaders work closely with faculty to produce quality group study sessions for students.
Decades of data at an international level and six years of data at the institutional level have proven that SI works. At Fresno State, students who attend SI once a week perform almost a full letter grade higher than students who do not attend SI. SI also works to close achievement gaps that persist in the education of disadvantaged groups. Our data shows that SI at Fresno State has closed the achievement gap for low-income Pell-eligible students, and narrowed the gaps for underrepresented minorities, first-generation students, and students needing remediation.
How it works
In order to be eligible for SI, a course must meet at least three of the following criteria:
- Gateway courses
- 30% or higher repeat
- 40% or higher D,F,W
- More than 100+ enrollment
- General Education (GE) course
- First in a sequence (bottleneck courses)
Faculty who participate in SI have found the time commitment modest compared to the benefits of student success and the satisfaction of mentoring motivated SI leaders in the faculty’s field of interest. To ensure cohesiveness between class lectures and SI sessions, faculty meets with SI Leaders on a weekly basis, no more than 30 minutes. With respect to best practices, SI is most effective when faculty: 1) allow SI Leaders to communicate directly with students through in-class and Blackboard announcements, 2) understand what SI is and what SI is not, and 3) collaborate with SI Leaders and SI staff to identify issues and seek solutions.
Helpful Resources and Links
SI provides the kind of environment that really fosters growth. As a leader, I had come in only experiencing one session, never had a role before in assisting students, and was only in my second semester at Fresno State. I had a streak of being timid before coming into SI and was very secluded. I had the misconception coming into college thinking that I just needed to focus on school and not “waste time” on relationships. SI gave me a place that was so encouraging that when I felt completely lost, whether it was work-related or not, I had a community to support me. When I made a mistake, they not only were ready to help me get back up, but also reminded me of all the progress I already made. I gained a lot of practical experience, but the major skills I have taken away from SI are in the areas I struggled in the most. This work experience will take the areas you are weak in and make them some of your greatest strengths.
How to get involved
Mai Kou Vang, Learning Center Interim Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ko Yang, Supplemental Instruction Interim Coordinator, email@example.com