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Academic Achievement

Supplemental Instruction (SI)

What is SI?

Supplemental Instruction (SI) provides free, out-of-class study sessions led by a CWU undergraduate student who has already taken and excelled in the course. SI sessions are open to all CWU students enrolled in the SI-targeted class, and attendance at SI sessions is voluntary and confidential.

Used throughout the U.S. and the world, SI programs have proven highly successful in increasing student achievement and retention. Students who regularly attend SI sessions increase their chance of understanding the course material and improving their grade. In fact, on average, these students will earn a grade one-half grade higher than classmates who never attend SI.

Objectives of SI:

  • Increase student skills in comprehension, analysis, critical thinking, and problem solving.
  • Integrate review of course content with study skills and learning strategies.
  • Model collaborative learning.
  • Reduce attrition rate in high-risk courses.
  • Increase re-enrollment and persistence by participating students.

What classes have SI?

Selected courses from the university's Breadth requirements that have high enrollments and high rates of poor performance or failure have SIs. In addition, upper division, major courses that are traditionally "bottlenecks" (courses with which students tend to have a high rate of difficulty) often have SIs.

How SI works:

SI sessions are generally held two or three times per week throughout the quarter. Many SI leaders also hold extra sessions before exams. Student attendance at all sessions is voluntary. The SI leader's primary purpose is to connect course content with study skills. In SI, students connect what-to-learn with how-to-learn.

Why SI works:

SI helps students learn how to study. In each session, the leader demonstrates a new study skill or reinforces a familiar one. Students use their study skills on relevant course content. Participants also learn to apply new skills during the session.

What students say about SI:

  • "SI sessions have helped me with tests, critical thinking, and note-taking."
  • "...helped me understand the material by discussing it which helped me gain confidence and understand book material"
  • "They have helped me to improve my study habits, and have made me more committed to my major."
  • " another perspective to the problems instead of just that of the professor"
  • "The SI leader explained things in a different way to help me understand the material better"
  • "helped by giving additional quality study time."
  • "...they helped me further understand the things covered in class. Different outlooks and approaches are better for some people, because there is more than one way to skin a cat. The extra practice and help was crucial to my understanding of the course."
  • "...helped me see some concepts I overlooked in the lecture/book"

SI Leaders:

  • SI leaders are selected and trained for SI by the program coordinator. These student leaders have already successfully completed the course.
  • Instructors work closely with the SI leader to assure that there is a direct connection between the course material and the SI sessions.
  • As model students, SI leaders attend class lectures, take notes, read assignments, and take exams.
  • As facilitators, they guide study sessions but expect students to be actively involved in the learning process. The leader's chief purpose is to promote independent learning.

What does an SI Leader do?

  • The SI leader is a guide who helps other students share and master information as a group.
  • The leader attends the course for which he/she is assigned and, during meeting times which are scheduled to coincide with students' schedules, works with students to review lecture notes, clarify text material, prepare for tests, and evaluate and improve learning strategies.

Contact Information:


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