Supplemental Instruction to Enhance Learning

INVITATION: The Faculty Development Office will host a viewing party for a webinar offered by the Chancellor’s Office on Supplemental Instruction (SI) on March 1 from 12-2 in Butte 309 (details attached). If you’re interested in attending all or part of this gathering, please RSVP here so we know how much coffee/snacks to bring.

What is SI?

SI has been shown to increase student engagement and help them perform better on assessments? It is a proven program that provides academic assistance to students via peer-assisted study sessions. Modeled after the International Program at the University of Missouri-KC, the SI Program at Chico State currently supports dozens of courses sections across multiple colleges on campus (mostly high enrollment, high DFW, bottleneck courses).

How does SI work?

SI study sessions are held three to four times per week by an SI leader, who is a student (recommended by you) who has already mastered the course material. SI leaders are trained and funded by the Student Learning Center (or your department’s budget) to facilitate group sessions where students can meet to compare notes, improve their understanding of course material, review and discuss difficult concepts, develop study strategies, and prepare for exams.

How can I get involved?

Requests for participating in the SI program should be made one semester in advance to allow time for hiring and training of the SI Leader. To start the SI request process, complete this SI Faculty Interest Form.

What do they need to know?

Welcome to the second week of the semester!

As students settle into the rhythm of their courses they will also be settling into old patterns. You have the opportunity to intervene and many of you do by highlighting the behavior of historically successful students. Maybe your course is supported by Supplemental Instruction through the Student Learning Center and you know if they go regularly, they will probably pass. Maybe your course uses online videos and you know students who watch in advance of the class always do better. Sharing this information with students is almost always appreciated and can lead to student success, but it is our responsibility to make sure we are sharing the right information. When I taught the public speaking course I assumed the students who failed were getting low speech grades. It was actually much more common that if they were failing they were missing the weekly quizzes. This information changed the advice I gave students and how I trained my Teaching Associates.

In light of that, I have homework for you. Go back through grades from one or two semesters to look at some landmark assignments like the first exam or project. Even if you are not fluent in statistics you can probably draw some conclusions about early success and overall performance in the course. You may find similar markers like attendance or one of the things mentioned earlier. You may be quite surprised. I am urging you to be intentional about it rather than relying on assumptions. This will start to give you markers for when students are headed for trouble. In some other Universities, like Georgia State, they have used information like this to radically improve student performance. In my conversations with colleagues around campus they are often surprised to learn the number of students who fail their courses or that there is an achievement gap between Under Represented Minority students and non-Under Represented Minority students. We can only unravel these dynamics when we pay attention to why students do well and why they don’t and then fashion solutions. Most of us share advice at the beginning of the semester about how to do well and when students are headed for trouble, let’s be sure we are giving the right advice.

Digging into these dynamics can require help from Institutional Research, your Assessment Coordinator, or a colleague, but it is almost always worth it.

Dr. Sara Cooper has provided additional Book in Common Material. Check out this section of the CELT page for regular synopsis updates, discussion questions, and other resources.

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