Supplemental Instruction (SI)

CSU SI Symposium: Sharing and Adopting Proven Practices

CSU Academic Technology Services hosted a one-day Supplemental Instruction (SI) demonstration, workshop, and planning meeting on Friday, April 21 at the Chancellor’s Office. Based on a growing CSU SI Community, over 100 participants from 22 CSU campuses gathered to witness evidence of Supplemental Instruction as a high impact practice for increasing grades, persistence, and graduation rates while decreasing achievement gaps. Featured campuses included CSU Fullerton and Fresno, who have received national and international recognition for their implementation of specific methodologies of Supplemental Instruction (SI), administration of SI services, and evidence of significantly increased student success and closing achievement gaps. For further information and access to session recordings, see the SI Symposium agenda, as well as a folder of all slides and handouts from the day.

Supplemental Instruction (SI) is an academic support model that uses peer-assisted study sessions to improve student retention and success within historically difficult courses. These are courses with a significantly higher than average number of students receiving grades of D, F, or W (withdrawal). The SI program provides peer support by having students who succeeded in traditionally difficult academic courses (e.g., Organic Chemistry, Biology 101, Logic) help other students successfully complete these courses. SI is a non-remedial approach that provides regular review sessions outside of class in which students work collaboratively by discussing readings, comparing notes, working together to predict test items, and sharing ideas for improving course material. Courses selected for SI tend to be “gatekeeper” courses for first and second year students—generally those classes that have a 30% or higher proportion of students who receive a “D”, fail, or withdraw (the DFW rate) from the course. Out-of-class review sessions are led by “SI Leaders,” students who took the class already and did well. SI Leaders attend all class lectures, take notes, and act as models to those currently taking the course. The SI model is used for selected courses at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional school levels, and has been adopted by colleges and universities in the United States and internationally.

Resources Related to SI in the CSU

  • Further videos available through CSU SI Vimeo collection
  • KPBS video featuring San Diego State University SI Program
  • Fresno State receives 2016 Int’l Supplemental Instruction Awards (article)
  • San Diego State University 2016 video report on the impact of SI
  • Fullerton faculty co-author article as part of SI Journal (2016)
  • Poster presentation on SI by Martin Bonsangue, CSU Fullerton (ppt, jpg)
  • CSU webinar “Implementing Successful SI” (summary, slides, recording)
  • CSU Fullerton leaders receive 2014 awards from Int’l Center for SI (article1, article2)
  • CSU Fullerton lauded for efforts to close achievement gap (article)

History of Supplemental Instruction

In 1973, Supplemental Instruction was developed by Dr. Deanna Martin at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). After becoming a public institution in 1963, the changing demographics at UMKC led to a rise in student attrition. Dr. Martin was hired to develop a non-remedial and proactive approach to solving the attrition problem among minority and female professional school students in medicine, pharmacy, and dentristy. She proposed and then successfully piloted what would become Supplemental Instruction- a program that could yield measurable results, be cost effective, and help students work toward becoming independent learners without lowering academic standards. Since its inception at UMKC, the International Center for Supplemental Instruction has trained faculty and staff from over 3,500 institutions. Supplemental instruction has expanded into international programs in at least 30 countries worldwide.

See Volume 1, Issue 1 of The Official Journal of the International Center for Supplemental Instruction.