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Supplemental Instruction increases student success and retention

Learn about the benefits of participating in SI and the ways it adapts to support students.

By Taylor Hase

July 15, 2020

Three students working in a biology lab.Did you know that students who participated in Supplemental Instruction group-study sessions during the spring semester earned half a letter grade higher than their peers enrolled in the same course? As the Metropolitan State University of Denver community prepares for the fall semester, the SI program continues to support student success.

Unfamiliar with SI?

The SI program supports students enrolled in traditionally difficult courses by offering free, regularly scheduled group-study sessions that integrate what to learn with how to learn. The backbone of the SI program is the SI leaders: high-performing students who have previously succeeded in the course they support. SI leaders are student employees who also support faculty by planning and facilitating collaborative group-study sessions for the students enrolled in their courses. Click here to read our updated “SI Faculty Partners Guide” for more info about the SI program.

SI program response to COVID-19

In response to the shift to online learning in the spring, about 35 SI leaders transferred their SI sessions online and continued to support their students for the remainder of the semester. As part of their mission to increase accessibility, a handful of SI leaders were already facilitating online SI sessions prior to COVID-19; those SI leaders led trainings for their fellow SI leaders on best practices for using technology to create collaborative and welcoming virtual learning environments. 

This fall, the SI program will offer all services completely online, supporting courses in biology, business, chemistry, mathematics and psychology. For a complete list of SI-supported courses and helpful instructions for students interested in participating in SI sessions, visit the SI Session Schedule page.

SI program data

See the breakdown of final course grades in the spring for SI participants compared with nonparticipants.

See the breakdown of final course grades in the spring by number of SI sessions attended.

  • 521 Roadrunners participated in SI sessions in the spring and earned half a letter grade higher than their peers enrolled in the same course/sections.
  • 11% higher passing rates for SI participants in the spring compared with nonparticipating students in the same course/sections.
    • Passing rates include A, B, C and P grades. Students who participated in more than five SI sessions did not opt for the P option.

The resiliency we’ve seen in the Roadrunner community is a testament to our incredible University leadership, faculty, staff and students. And the SI program is one of many academic-support programs at MSU Denver that have shifted to online supports, such as the Tutoring Center, the Learning Assistant program and the Writing Center.

Have questions about the SI program? Email or Taylor Hase, interim coordinator of SI.

Topics: Academics, Excellence, Student Success

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