Academic Success Center

Supplemental Instruction

Supplemental Instruction (SI) sessions are peer-led review sessions provided for selected courses.  The sessions are organized to allow students the opportunity to interact as they construct knowledge.  Sessions are facilitated by a trained SI leader, a student who has completed the class and earned a high grade.  The leader shares what to learn and how to learn it effectively.  SI leaders attend class sessions and confer with their cooperating professors.  Their objective is to help students become independent learners by planning activities that encourage the students to work together and process material themselves. 

The SI Program began in 1973.  The founder, Dr. Deanna Martin, created the program to help students struggling in pre-med courses.  It is based on learning theory and was certified by the U.S. Department of Education in 1981. 

  • To date, there are more than 3500 institutions in the United States with Supplemental Instruction Programs.
  • An additional 165 institutions in 12 countries have attended SI Supervisor training workshops.
  • On average approximately fifty new institutions are trained each year to start their own SI program.
  • It is estimated that more than a quarter million students participate in SI during each academic term.
  • Approximately 450 professional articles, research studies, conference proceedings, and other forms of media have been written about SI by staff from the SI Center at UMKC and other SI administrators and scholars from around the world (Arendale, 1999).
  • Research studies have consistently replicated the findings that SI is a cost-effective program that contributes to increased academic achievement, persistence, and graduation rates (Martin & Arendale, 1993).

A wealth of information about SI is available at its website, 

Benefits of SI to Students and the SI-Leader

  • Acquire short-term and long-term study skills
  • Learn how to organize material
  • Spend more time on task with class materials
  • Prepare more thoroughly for exams, both in content and format
  • Receive higher mean course grades
  • Meet classmates and therefore feel more comfortable participating
  • Learn to collaborate with classmates
  • Become independent learners

Benefits of Receiving Supplemental Instruction for the SI- Leaders

  • Reiterate knowledge base
  • Prepare for standardized tests needed for post graduate work
  • Gain with collaborative learning techniques and with what it truly takes to learn (not taught to college professors in most degree programs but invaluable if you will be teaching)
  • Develop communication skills
  • Develop leadership skills
  • Network with students and faculty
  • Internship experience and academic references

Benefits of Receiving Supplemental Instruction to Faculty

  • Receive feedback before end of term student evaluations
  • Improve student interactions in class
  • See more students succeed and continue in course sequence
  • Improve student understanding of concepts
  • Work closely with and mentor top students

Benefits of Receiving Supplemental Instruction to the Institution

  • Report higher graduation rates
  • Lower rates of Ds, Fs, Withdrawals
  • Promote faculty-student mentorships
  • Provide a sense of academic community
  • Bridge the gap between student abilities
  • Provide cost effective academic support

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why was my course selected for SI?
A: SI targets historically difficult courses. In other words, this course contains content that students find challenging. SI is designed to support faculty teaching and is assigned to a course because of what is being taught, not because of the manner in which is is being taught or by whom it is being taught.

Q: What will I, as a faculty member, be required to do?
A: SI is not designed to add additional work on the faculty member. You can support SI by granting time for occasional in-class announcements and by encouraging students to take advantage of SI. SI is for ALL students and it is 100% voluntary. Faculty should avoid the notion that SI is for students who are doing poorly. Additionally, the Academic Success Center will contact you periodically about the following aspects of the program such as:

  1. Assisting us by selecting and approving candidates for SI leaders for your courses
  2. Assisting us by providing information for SI program evaluation: a copy of the class roster, grades after the first examination and at the conclusion of the course. FERPA does allow institutions to collect this data, but don’t worry, student privacy will be fully protected.

Q: What should I expect from the SI-Leader?
A: The SI Leader will:

  1. Attend all class lectures
  2. Maintain a professional attitude about matters such as class standards, grades, and student complaints.
  3. Discourage students from attending SI as a substitute for class
  4. Share SI materials with the cooperating faculty member before use.
  5. Provide feedback to the cooperating faculty member as requested by the faculty member.

The SI Leader will not:

  1. Re-lecture the material
  2. Answer faculty addressed emails
  3. Grade assignments and examinations
  4. Discourage students from going to class
  5. Teach the class in the instructor’s absence.

Q: What should I expect from the SI-Program?
A: SI Leaders will be selected only with the approval of the cooperating faculty member. The Assistant Director of Academic Success will:

  1. Train all SI leaders according to established guidelines and standards put forth by the International Center of Supplemental Instruction
  2. Monitor the activities and presentation of SI-Leaders for as long as necessary by occasionally attending class with them, helping plan sessions, and supervising their performance.
  3. Provide supplies, training, in-service experiences, and consultations when necessary for SI-Leaders
  4. Provide faculty with an end-of-term comparative analysis of student performance

Faculty Request Form for Supplemental Instruction

Please click the link and complete the Google Form if you wish to participate in the SI-Leader program.

SI-Session Evaluation Form

Please click the link and complete the Google Form to provide feedback with your SI-Session. Your input is extremely valuable!

This site provides information using PDF, visit this link to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC software.