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Compton College / Library-Student Success Center / SSC / Writing Center

Supplemental Instruction FAQ


What is Supplemental Instruction?

Supplemental Instruction (SI) is an academic assistance program that utilizes peer-assisted, collaborated learning sessions to enhance student understanding of course concepts and material. SI sessions are regularly scheduled, informal review sessions in which students compare notes, discuss readings, develop organizational skills, and take mock exams. Students learn how to integrate course content and study skills while working in a small group environment.

SI is a popular source of academic support because the sessions provide a relaxed atmosphere in which to learn. Students can come and go anytime during the session, and the small group setting provides a more comfortable environment for taking risks when asking questions and working toward finding answers. 

Who is an SI Coach?

A Supplemental Instruction Coaches (SI Coach) serve as near-peers to the students in class. These are students who have successfully completed the course, with a B or better, prior to becoming and SI Coach. SI Coaches serve as a model of good student behavior by attending all classes, taking notes, and demonstrate organizational and study skills. 

SI Coaches conduct two out-of class sessions per week that grant students additional support when processing course content delivered in class. SI Coaches are trained in the beginning of and throughout the semester. SI training covers topics such as how students learn, instructional strategies aimed at strengthening student academic performance, group facilitation techniques, data collection, and management details.

What is in it for the student?

The SI model has proven that students, who attend SI sessions regularly, often earn a higher course grade than students who do not attend SI sessions. By attending SI sessions, students develop a better understanding of course content as well as more effective study habits. Once learned these skills can then be applied in other courses.

When do SI sessions start?

SI sessions normally begin during the second week of classes and are held throughout the semester. Each SI coach holds two to three sessions per week. It is recommended that students attend as many sessions as possible since each session will focus on new material. SI sessions are informal; students should bring their notes, textbooks, and questions when they come to an SI session.

What are the differences between SI and other forms of tutoring or academic support?

Tutoring sessions

SI Sessions

Tutor leads discussions/examples

Leader begins discussions or examples but hands over duties to students

Tutor writes on board and demonstrates examples

Student write on board and leader sits backs and checks for understanding

Tutor tends to do most of the work and students watch

Students do much of the work and Leader watches

Usually one group or one-on-one where tutor helps students

Usually many small groups (pairs) that collaborate and help each other

Students engage with tutor

Students engage with each other



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