This semester I piloted supplemental instruction (SI) sessions for my 2 sections of statistics. If you’re not familiar with the idea of SI, it is essentially 1 free hour of free help for the students before every class. There was an SI leader assigned to each of my classes that sat in on the class and then assisted the students during the sessions. The leaders answered any questions that the students had and encouraged the students to work together to solve the problems.
The results of the sessions were staggering and I have summarized them in the infographic below. The most interesting to me was that 76% of the students who attended the sessions responded that the sessions helped them feel more connected to the college. Even on this basis alone, if you’re not using some form of SI at your college, you really need to consider using it. My college seems to agree with me, as I was recently green-lighted to extend the pilot into the fall semester and I was given assistance from the college’s grant office to help find long-term funding for the program.
By the way, I met a high school teacher last weekend whose school is doing something similar to SI without even realizing it. The high school is giving students the option to take a class in which they ‘pre-teach’ the material that the student is going to learn in the class later in the day. This gets at the essence of what SI does, it gives students that 1 extra hour of help that they need to be as successful as they possibly can. If high schools are doing this, when the students come to college, they are going to come to expect this extra help to be available with every class that they take at the college.