The Essential Elements of SI
The Supplemental Instruction (SI) model has proven to be successful with institutions of
varying size, location, and organizational structure. The SI model can be adapted to
reflect the individual needs and differences of each campus, but there are certain
elements of the model, which must be present to maintain the integrity and effectiveness of the program.
1. SI Sessions Are Peer Facilitated
The ideal SI Leader is a student who has recently taken the class and received an A as the final course grade. The SI Coordinator, Faculty member, and
Academic Department Head approve all SI Leaders. The SI Leader neither re-
lectures nor introduces new material. Instead, the SI Leader's primary
responsibilities are to organize and add structure to the SI study sessions. The
primary function of the SI Leader is to facilitate discussion among SI participants and model successful learning strategies at key moments in the SI sessions.
2.The SI Leader Serves as a Model Student
The SI Leader functions as a "model student" of the discipline rather than an authoritative figure. SI Leaders help students formulate and answer their own questions. This process helps students develop a more sophisticated wayof learning while maintaining the focus on content mastery.
3.SI Sessions Integrate Content and Learning Skills
The SI sessions integrate the review of lecture notes, textbook readings, and outside
supplemental readings with appropriate modeling of critical thinking and learning strategies. “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 courses and content areas. Collaborative learning strategies are used in SI sessions as a means of creating a more active learning environment for student participants.
4.The SI Leader Attends the Targeted Class Lectures
When the SI Leader attends all lectures, s/he is knowledgeable about what is occurring in the class lectures and has the opportunity to model “good student” behavior in the
course. The SI Leader's presence in the classroom also serves to market the SI program
5.The SI Leader Receives Training
The SI Leader receives one or more days of training prior to the beginning of the term,
and in-service training continues throughout the semester. These training sessions
include specific learning theories and strategies.
6. Regularly Scheduled Sessions
SI is in place from the beginning of the academic
term. There is a minimum of three sessions
offered each week, but the number may increase
depending on the student demand or specific
issues related to the course. Students attend SI
sessions on a voluntary basis.
7. Program Evaluation
There are two reasons to evaluate the SI program each academic term: (1) to continuously improve the overall quality of the program by gathering information concerning strengths and weaknesses and (2) to inform college administrators of the overall impact of the program. The SI program is evaluated by assessing final course grades, course withdrawal rates, institutional drop-out rates, and institutional graduation rates. Assessment is an increasingly important issue in academic life and may have a direct link to institutional funding.
8.SI Targets Courses Rather Than Students
The SI program targets courses where a large portion of the students will experience
academic difficulty. SI avoids the remedial stigma by focusing on course content rather
than students. Supplemental Instruction is available to all students enrolled in the SI
section and does not identify students based on prior academic performance.