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About SI

Supplemental Instruction Program

VISION: The Supplemental Instruction Program proudly delivers a model of academic assistance to all students enrolled in historically challenging courses at CSUSM.  We foster active, friendly, and diverse learning environments by harnessing the power of peer-to-peer collaboration.  We strengthen student understanding of course concepts and build their academic capacities.  The Program promotes learning as a process and increases student motivation to learn and fulfill their goals.

Mission Statement: To increase student academic success in challenging courses in a collaborative and active peer learning environment.

The Supplemental Instruction (SI) model of student academic assistance helps students in historically difficult classes master course content while they develop and integrate learning and study strategies. The goals of SI are to improve student grades, reduce the attrition rate within those courses, and increase the graduation rates of students. Supplemental Instruction (SI) focuses on tough courses, not struggling students; thus, there is no remedial stigma attached to SI participants. SI serves students throughout the semester rather than when they run into difficulties. SI was developed in 1973 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) by Deanna C. Martin, Ph.D., in an effort to reduce attrition of minority students in the health science schools. In 1981, the SI Program became one of the few post-secondary programs to be designated by the U.S. Department of Education as an Exemplary Educational Program. SI is active at 500 institutions in the US and at over 100 other institutions in 12 other countries. Currently, the Center for Supplemental Instruction at UMKC conducts intensive workshops on how to implement SI on local campuses.

A key element of SI is the SI leader. These are students who have excelled in a targeted class in the past. These paid students are trained in proactive learning and study strategies, then attend lectures, take notes, and do the assigned reading. Each week, SI leaders conduct review sessions that help students integrate course content and learning/study strategies. The SI leader is trained to share his/her learning strategies with the other students in the SI sessions, facilitating this process through a variety of techniques geared toward improving student thinking, reasoning, analyzing, organizing, and problem solving skills. Research shows that students who attend SI sessions regularly average one-half to one full letter grade higher than their classmates who choose not to attend. SI participants also have significantly higher graduation rates.

Generally, we offer SI support for the following courses:

  • Biology 210, 215 and 351
  • Chemistry 160, 201 and 202
  • Math 350
  • Physics 205 and 206
  • Psychology 360

SI works! Data from fall 2010 through spring 2014 on select science courses demonstrates that when students participate in SI they receive higher final course grades and lower failure rates!

graph showing higher course grades and lower failure rates for SI participants