Supplemental Instruction


Developed by Deanna Martin, Ph.D., in 1973 at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, Supplemental Instruction (SI) is an academic assistance program that increases student performance and retention. As a nationally disseminated program, SI data collected from other institutions of higher education purports that students participating in the SI program earn higher grades and withdraw less often than students not participating in the SI program. An SI leader is a student who has completed and demonstrated proficiency in a targeted course. The SI leader undergoes 2 days of intensive training and then attends each class session to model effective student practices and attitudes. The SI leader schedules and conducts from three to five group meetings per week at times convenient to members of the class. During these sessions, the SI leader will use interactive learning strategies which encourage involvement, comprehension, and synthesis of course content. In addition, the SI leader will incorporate demonstrations of effective study techniques.

Supplemental Instruction (SI) sessions help students in difficult classes master course content while developing and integrating effective learning and study strategies. SI leaders attend course lectures, take notes, read all assigned materials, and conduct three to five out-of-class study sessions per week. Selected classes designated for SI support are announced in class at the beginning of each semester.

APU offers the following SI courses:

  • Fundamentals of Biology
  • General Biology
  • Human Physiology
  • Cellular Biology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Introduction to Neurobiology

Criteria for SI Course Selection

The SI model can be adapted to reflect the individual differences of each campus. Some examples are:

  • Required or “gatekeeper” courses
  • Entry level courses that are prerequisites to required or “gatekeeper” courses.
  • Faculty members who are eager to participate and request an SI
  • Number of repeat course enrollment
  • Large class sizes

Elements of the SI Program that Must be Present to Ensure Integrity

  • The SI leader regularly attends the targeted class
  • The SI leader is trained prior to the beginning of the term
  • The SI leader and the SI program is supervised by a trained professional staff or faculty member
  • The SI program is offered only in classes where the faculty member understands and supports SI
  • The SI sessions are conducted regularly and integrate course content with learning strategies
  • The program is evaluated appropriately following the guidelines set by the Center of Academic Development at the University of Missouri, Kansas City

Additional information about SI sessions scheduled for the semester may be obtained by contacting the LEC at (626) 815-3849.