Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Supplemental Instruction?
- What can I expect at an SI session?
- What is expected of me during an SI session?
- What happens during a typical SI session?
- Is SI some sort of remedial program?
- Why do students attend SI sessions?
- How does SI work?
- When do SI sessions start?
- How will I know if SI is offered for my class?
- How much does SI cost?
- If I do not start attending SI sessions at the beginning of the term, can I still attend later?
What is Supplemental Instruction?
Supplemental Instruction (SI) is an academic assistance program that uses peer-led group study to help students succeed in traditionally difficult courses – those with high failure and/or withdrawal rates.
SI consists of regularly scheduled, out-of-class group study that gives students an opportunity to meet with classmates to compare notes, discuss readings and key course concepts, develop study skill strategies and prepare for exams. SI takes all the hassle out of managing a study schedule and agenda. Think of it as guaranteed study time.
The goal of SI is to help students be successful in college. The program aims to help students:
- Understand what to learn and how to learn
- Successfully complete the targeted course (earning an A, B or C)
- Develop transferable skills
- Become independent learners
What can I expect at an SI session?
The best way to answer this question is to first explain what not to expect: do not expect another lecture. The SI leaders are neither teaching assistants nor graduate assistants and are not employed by the professor. Do not expect to get “all the answers” or have the SI leaders do your thinking for you.
SI leaders will not give you their class notes, nor will they do your homework for you. Most importantly, SI leaders will not encourage last-minute cramming for a test or exam.
What you can expect is that your SI leader will facilitate group study (SI sessions) filled with activities and projects to get you actively involved with the course content outside of class. You can expect to work with course material and resources to help you study and learn.
Think of SI as guaranteed study time. Since each SI session is led by a peer student who has already taken the targeted course and knows what to expect, you can expect your SI leader to share the strategies he/she used to be successful in the course. Your SI leader will help you make effective use of your study time.
Look at it this way: you have to study anyway. You might as well do it with friends – your classmates – along with an SI leader who will guide your study efforts. You can expect a lot of personal interaction.
What is expected of me during an SI session?
Because of all the personal interaction during SI sessions, you are expected to come prepared to study. This means you should always bring your textbook, lecture notes and any questions or problems you may have. Doing so guarantees the best use of your time during SI.
Of course, you are expected to attend class meetings. SI is academic support for the course—it is not an opportunity for you to skip class. Lastly, you are expected to attend SI on a weekly basis. National SI research indicates that students who regularly attend SI perform better on exams and earn higher final course grades.
What happens during a typical SI session?
A typical SI session has several interactive activities and offers study skill strategies specific to the course, such as comparison/contrast charts, incomplete outlines, note-taking exercises, test-taking strategies, resource tips and mock exams. A typical SI session will always include a clarification of lecture notes, discussion of lectures and textbook readings, and a review of key course concepts as well as the development of problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Is SI some sort of remedial program?
No. SI is not remedial for three reasons:
- SI targets high-risk courses rather than high-risk students.
- All students enrolled in SI-supported courses are invited and encouraged to attend – not just those who are struggling.
- SI starts with the first day of classes and continues to the end of the term.
Why do students attend SI sessions?
Because it works. SI also offers many advantages, such as getting a better grade. National studies have shown that students who attend SI on a regular basis average one-half to one full letter grade higher than the rest of the class.
You will meet people in SI. Since the sessions are more interactive than most classes, you will get to know people in your class. If you are a first-year student, this can be especially valuable to you because your fellow classmates make great resources for help in forming study groups within future classes at ASU.
You will have more free time. Many people do not attend SI because they feel like they do not have time. Those who do attend SI tell us that they have more time than before because they grasp the course concepts faster and do not have to spend so much time studying.
How does SI work?
SI leaders are paid to attend targeted courses (i.e., BIO 1410: Human Biology). SI leaders have already taken the targeted courses and are chosen based on their demonstrated competency (earning an A or B in the course) as well as faculty recommendations.
Starting with the second week of classes, SI leaders offer three or more regularly scheduled SI sessions that are held in designated classrooms on campus. Every week you have access to group study – on the same day, at the same time and in the same location.
Each SI session combines key course content and study skill strategies specific to the course that highlight not only what to learn, but also how to learn. While we encourage students to supplement their independent study with a weekly hour of SI, you are free to attend as often as you wish. Because the SI sessions follow the lectures, each session covers different material.
When do SI sessions start?
SI sessions always start during the second week of classes. During the first week of classes, your SI leader will distribute a time survey, asking you to indicate one-hour blocks of available free time. Your SI leader will review all the time surveys and then arrange a session schedule that accommodates you and your classmates.
Remember: the secret of college success is to study proactively. Do not wait until the night before a test to study. Attend SI early and often throughout the term. Since you have to study anyway, why not come to SI and make effective, efficient use of your study time? Your SI leader will keep you informed about session times and locations.
How will I know if SI is offered for my class?
On the first or second day of class, your SI leader will introduce himself/herself and give a brief introductory announcement about SI. You will complete a time survey to let your SI leader know when you have available free time for study.
Throughout the course, your SI leader will distribute fliers and SI brochures with information about the SI program. Be sure to check the bulletin boards around campus for the master SI session schedule.
How much does SI cost?
Nada, nothing, zip, zero! SI sessions are free to all ASU students. The only thing we ask for in return is your time and effort. Come as often as you like, but keep in mind that SI statistics show the more you attend SI, the better your grade.
If I do not start attending SI sessions at the beginning of the term, can I still attend later?
Absolutely. Better late than never. But remember: SI is here to help you study proactively—on a regular basis. Each SI session follows the lecture content, so never assume you can cram weeks of study into one or two SI sessions. SI is here for you when you need it, but it works best when you use it as continual group review to maximize your study potential.