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Tutoring Services: Types of Tutoring: FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions: Supplemental Instruction

What is Supplemental Instruction (or Group Tutoring)?

Supplemental Instruction (or SI) is a nationwide, peer‐led, academic support program that serves classes in which a large percentage of students will experience academic difficulty — those classes that have a high rate of D or F grades and withdrawals. SI provides regularly scheduled, out‐of‐class, peer-facilitated study sessions. SI sessions are open to all students in the course. They attend on a voluntary basis.

Who leads SI sessions?

Each session is led by a competent student or graduate who has already taken the course and has thorough knowledge of the course’s structure and content. Usually instructors play a role in selecting and recommending highly motivated former students as leaders (or tutors). The leader usually will attend class, despite already having taken the course, and will hold study sessions before or after class. In short, the leader is a student with good study skills, and a well-run SI session looks very much like an organic student study group.

What happens during an SI session?

The primary function of the leader (tutor) is to integrate how to learn with what to learn and to facilitate discussion among participants. Collaborative learning strategies are used to create an active-learning environment for students. Leaders are a valuable help in breaking down and simplifying complex information presented in class. Sessions provide an opportunity for students to discuss important concepts, develop strategies for studying, and prepare for tests collaboratively. Students who regularly take advantage of SI typically earn final grades one letter grade higher than students who do not come to the sessions.

What are my responsibilities as the instructor?

SI leaders do not want to create additional work for instructors. However, you can help support your leader by granting him or her time to make occasional in‐class announcements about the tutoring sessions — and by encouraging students to take advantage of the free service.

Does the leader (tutor) receive training?

The SI leader receives 12 hours of training prior to each academic term. In‐service training continues throughout the semester. Leaders are encouraged to earn their nationally-recognized MATC College Reading & Learning Association certifications through this training.

What supervision does the leader (tutor) have?

The SI program is supervised by trained professional Educational Assistants and the Manager of Tutoring Services and Academic Support. Supervisors periodically attend SI sessions throughout the semester and provide helpful feedback to the leaders. The Educational Assistant also acts as a liaison between the leader and the instructor to answer any questions regarding involvement with the program.