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Definition, Purpose and Participants
Supplemental Instruction (SI) is an academic assistance program that utilizes peer-assisted study sessions. SI sessions are regularly scheduled, informal review sessions in which students compare notes, discuss readings, develop organizational tools, and predict test items. Students learn how to integrate course content and study skills while working together.
Because all students in a targeted course are urged to attend SI sessions, students with varying ability levels and ethnicities participate. There is no remedial stigma attached to SI since the program targets high-risk courses rather than high-risk students.
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A Brief History of Supplemental Instruction
SI was created by Deanna C. Martin, Ph.D., at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1973. Martin was assigned in the schools of medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry – and given a grant of $7,000 with which to do so. After initially offering SI at the health science professional schools, it was extended throughout the university.
After a rigorous review process in 1981, the SI Program became one of the few postsecondary programs to be designated by the U.S. Department of Education as an Exemplary Educational Program. The National Diffusion (NDN), the national dissemination agency for the U.S. Department of Education, provided federal funds for dissemination of SI. Although the NDN was discontinued by the U.S. government, national and international dissemination continues. Faculty and staff from hundreds of institutions across the nation have received training to implement their own SI programs. Outside the United States, SI operates in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mexico, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the West Indies.
For more complete history of the program, see:
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How Supplemental Instruction Works
The SI model involves key persons:
SI is attached to specific historically difficult courses. These courses frequently introductory or “gatekeeper courses” but also include upper level graduate courses and courses in professional schools. SI leaders attend course lectures, takes notes, read all assigned materials, and conduct two to three out-of-class SI sessions a week. The SI leader is the “model student”, a facilitator who helps students to integrate course content and learning/ study strategies.
For more information, visit the the International Center for Supplemental Instruction Web site.
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