Academic Support

About Supplemental Instruction

On this page:

What is Supplemental Instruction?

SI is:

  • A facilitated group review session offered in addition to and outside of the lecture or class
  • Active review sessions in which students compare notes, discuss readings, develop organizational tools, and predict test items
  • Peer-assisted
  • Led by SI leaders
  • Open to all students
  • Free of charge

SI is not:

  • A Q&A session
  • Extended review sessions for “last minute” help
  • A session to take the place of class
  • Tutoring
  • Re-lecturing


  • To increase retention within targeted historically difficult courses
  • To improve student grades in targeted historically difficult courses
  • To increase the graduation rates of students

Goals of SI

  • Improve learning
  • Improve student performance
  • Increase continued enrollment/retention

Benefits to Faculty Members

  • Feedback regarding class comprehension
  • More academically prepared students
  • Higher student satisfaction and faculty evaluation


Studies show that students who attend supplemental instruction sessions earn statistically significantly higher final course grades than those students who do not attend-even among students who have lower incoming SAT or ACT scores (Congos and Schoeps, 1993, Congos, Langsam, and Schoeps, 1997). 

History of SI

Supplemental instruction was developed at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) in 1973. It was developed to address high failure rates among minorities in medical school at UMKC. The program quickly spread to UMKC’s health and professional schools as a result of initial success. By 1981, the U.S. Department of Education had named SI an Exemplary Education Program. Very few post-secondary programs hold such a distinction. Today, more than 1,800 institutions in the U.S. and 27 countries have implemented SI on their campuses.

Who Leads Supplemental Instruction Sessions? 

SI Leaders


  • Demonstrated academic success
  • Received a recommendation or approval from the faculty member assigned to the corresponding course
  • Earned a grade of A or B in the corresponding course
  • Earned a 2.8 or higher cumulative GPA (GPA of 3.0 and above preferred)
  • The ability to communicate effectively
  • An interest in helping others


  • Attend training at beginning and mid-semester
  • Attend all lectures (possibly rotating classes that have multiple sections and professors)
  • Find two common times students can meet weekly for semester sessions during the first week of classes (Report the results to the SI Coordinator so they can request rooms, if necessary, for the sessions)
  • Hold SI sessions online the first week and hold sessions at the finalized session times week 2 and on (no sessions during finals week unless arranged ahead of time)
  • Obtain class email lists from corresponding course instructors so they can send out a welcome email to students and regularly remind them of SI sessions
  • Take attendance for every SI session
  • Complete a Planning the Session sheet for session guidance and preparation
  • Meet with the course instructor regularly and maintain communication with the SI Coordinator
  • Hold an hour of “SI Walk-in Hours” weekly to provide further assistance to students, if available

Pay Breakdown

SI leaders are paid $14.50 per hour for the following:

  • 2-3 hours per week sitting in on class
  • 2 hours per week for your SI sessions
  • 3 hours per week for session prep
  • 1 hour a week available for “SI Walk-in Hours”

Total hours per week = 9 hours with an additional hour 4 times a term during professional development team meeting weeks. Other additional hours must be approved by SI Coordinator.

Faculty with SI Leaders for their course…

  • Help Promote SI Sessions through
    • Class Announcements
      SI attendance is voluntary, which makes it important for the SI leader to speak for a few minutes at the beginning of the first or second lecture of the semester to promote the SI sessions.
    • Endorsements
      Include SI information in the syllabus and endorse the session at the beginning and throughout the semester by reminding students of session times. Provide the SI leader a few minutes at the beginning of class to make weekly announcements.
  • Meet With SI Leader
    Meeting with SI Leader once per week supports communication and well-informed session planning.