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Supplemental Instruction Information for Educators

SI Information for Educators

Offered through the Academic Achievement Hub, Supplemental Instruction (SI) provides academic support to students enrolled in courses that are historically challenging. This evidence-based program, developed by Deanna Martin at the University of Missouri--Kansas City in 1973, utilizes SI Leaders (undergraduate students who have successfully completed the course) to facilitate active group learning sessions focused on demanding content. SI Leaders attend all course lectures, so they always know what is happening in the class. SI Leaders do not re-lecture or introduce new material. Rather, they are trained to maximize active student involvement with the course material and to integrate how-to-learn with what-to-learn; as a result, students who attend SI sessions understand the material better. 

In the 1990s the U.S. Department of Education validated the effectiveness of SI. They found:

  1. Students participating regularly in SI sessions earn higher mean final course grades than students who do not participate in SI. This finding is still true when analyses control for ethnicity and prior academic achievement.

  2. Students regularly participating in SI succeed at a higher rate (fewer withdraw from the course or receive failing course grades) than those who do not participate in SI.

  3. Students participating in SI show higher graduation rates than students who do not participate in SI.

A more recent review of all published SI research between 2001 and 2010 found studies in support of all three of these claims, and no studies contradicting them.[1]

Interested in Bringing SI to Your Courses?

Contact Susan Rinaldi, Director of the Academic Achievement Hub, at or (858) 822-3618.  

1. Dawson, Phillip; van der Meer, Jacques; Skalicky, Jane; Cowley, Kym (2014). "On the Effectiveness of Supplemental Instruction A Systematic Review of Supplemental Instruction and Peer-Assisted Study Sessions Literature Between 2001 and 2010". Review of Educational Research. 84 (4): 609–639.