Supplemental Instruction (SI), created at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is a non-remedial approach to learning that supports students toward academic success by integrating “what to learn” with “how to learn.” SI consists of regularly scheduled, out-of-class group study sessions driven by students’ needs. Sessions are facilitated by trained peer leaders who utilize collaborative activities to ensure peer-to-peer interaction in small groups. SI is implemented in high-risk courses in consultation with academic staff and is supported and evaluated by a trained supervisor.

What will I be required to do?

SI is not intended to create additional work for faculty. 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. Faculty should avoid the notion that only those students who do poorly will benefit.

Faculty also:

  • Communicate with their SI Leader(s) before and throughout the term in a mutually agreed manner (face to face, email, during office hours, etc.).
  • Add SI session and leader information to course materials and learning management sites.
  • Encourage students to attend and avoid the notion that only those students who do poorly in their course will benefit.
  • Faculty can support SI by granting time for occasional in-class announcements and post information on the board/PowerPoint.
  • Assist us by providing information for SI program evaluation and to determine whether students coming to SI are performing at a higher level than those students not attending. To do this, we will need:
    • A copy of the official class roster
    • A copy of grades after the first exam (and ideally, a few other assessments)
    • Final course grades
  • Consider sharing reactions to the SI program – either written or in video – that we can use in promotional materials.

What should I expect from the SI Leader?

The SI Leader will:

  • Attend all class sessions.
  • Maintain a professional attitude about matters such as class standards, grades, and students complaints.
  • Discourage students from attending SI as a substitute for class.
  • Share SI materials with the cooperating faculty member before use, if possible.
  • Provide feedback to the cooperating faculty member if requested to do so.

The SI Leader will NOT:

  • Re-lecture
  • Answer faculty addressed e-mails
  • Grade assignments and exams
  • Discourage students from going to class
  • Teach the class in the instructor’s absence

What should I expect from the SI program?

SI Leaders will be selected only with the approval of the cooperating faculty member. The SI Supervisor will:

  • Provide ongoing training which covers such topics as how students learn, strategies aimed at strengthening student academic performance, data collection, and session management tips.
  • Monitor the activities and presentations of SI Leaders for as long as necessary by occasionally attending class with them, helping plan sessions, and supervising their performance.
  • Meet with SI Leaders weekly throughout the semester for follow-up, problem-solving, further development, and mastery of learning strategies.
  • Provide faculty with an end-of-term comparative analysis of student performance.

What information should faculty include on their syllabus and BrightSpace page?

The SI coordinator will send you the SI Leader's information (contact, session times, etc.) before the start of the term to be included with a sample statement like the ones below:

Shorter syllabus statement: Supplemental Instruction (SI) is offered for this course. SI sessions provide a fun, collaborative learning environment where you actively work with fellow classmates to assess your understanding, deepen your knowledge, and grow your skills in this course and beyond. SI is most effective for those who come regularly throughout the semester. For information about the dates, times, and locations for SI sessions, refer to the SI website: https://www.uvm.edu/academicsuccess/supplemental_instruction


Longer syllabus statement: Supplemental Instruction (SI) is offered for this course. SI sessions are group study opportunities, scheduled two times per week. These sessions are facilitated by your SI Leader, who is attending class and preparing SI sessions based on class content. Students should attend SI sessions to ask questions about course content and to develop learning/study strategies. Students who participate in SI sessions typically earn higher final course grades and exam grades than students who do not participate in SI. SI attendance is voluntary, and it is not a substitute for class attendance or individual studying. For information about the dates, times, and locations for SI sessions, refer to the SI website: https://www.uvm.edu/academicsuccess/supplemental_instruction and/or speak with your SI Leader.

Can students receive extra credit for attending SI sessions?

In general, the International Center for Supplemental Instruction (SI) discourages providing extra credit for attending SI sessions due to equity, anonymity, and data concerns.

However, the steps outlined below are an equitable option to providing extra credit for SI attendance, as not all students can attend SI sessions due to time conflicts.

Additionally, these steps allow the SI program to maintain anonymity and run our end-of-term comparison reports without the extra credit impacting or skewing results.

  1. Faculty let the SI coordinator know they are interested in pursuing the extra credit model.
  2. Faculty communicate to students that at the end of the term any student attending SI or UVM Tutoring will receive extra credit. The faculty can determine how much extra credit will be given for each visit and what the cap will be. Faculty will not be aware of who is using the services until the end of the semester and so the extra credit points will not be added onto the grade until the end of the semester.
  3. Faculty will send their cumulative letter grades for everyone in the course to the SI coordinator. Students who wish not to have their visits shared with their faculty can opt-out of the program by emailing the SI supervisor at eleanor.stephenson@uvm.edu.
  4. The SI supervisor will send back the cumulative list of all their students’ visits to any SI or Tutoring Center service with no indication of which service they attended, so the faculty can add the extra credit as appropriate.

Essential SI Program Components

The following are important program components unique to Supplemental Instruction. Please review and reach out to Eleanor Stephenson (eleanor.stephenson@uvm.edu) with any related questions.

  1. Anonymity: The faculty member will not be given the names of students who attend SI sessions. This is to preserve students’ anonymity, which is one of the cornerstones of the SI model.
  2. Not a TA: The responsibilities of an SI leader differ from those of a TA. Namely, SI leaders:
    • Do not re-lecture
    • Do not grade any course assignments or participate in creation of course assessments
    • Do not teach the class in the instructor’s absence
    • Answer faculty-addressed emails
  3. Academic ability: SI sessions are comprised of students of varying abilities, and no effort is made to separate students based on academic ability.
  4. Not remedial: Since SI is introduced on the first day of classes and is open to all students in the course, SI is not viewed as remedial.
    • SI does not identify high-risk students, but rather identifies historically difficult classes.
  5. Application of content: Students who attend SI sessions discover appropriate application of learning strategies, (e.g. note taking, graphic organization, questioning techniques, vocabulary acquisition, problem solving, and test preparation) as they review difficult course content.
  6. Peer-led: Learning is often a messy process, and SI sessions are a safe space for students to take risks, ask questions, and make mistakes. Students attend sessions without worrying about their grade or being evaluated. Additionally, their SI leader is a peer who has taken the class and done well, which means they have a unique perspective that the faculty member may not.