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CFAA - Tutoring

Supplemental Instruction (SI)

SI is a structured study group designed to help students achieve success in "historically difficult" courses: those courses with consistently high rates of D's, F's, and W's (Withdrawals). The SI sessions are open to, and designed to serve, students enrolled in specific course sections. Typically, a trained SI leader -- a student who has successfully completed the course -- will facilitate two hour-long sessions per week. Sections enrolling more than 50 students may have multiple SI leaders, and thus offer more sessions at different times each week.  Weekly SI sessions serve to reinforce course material, clarify confusing concepts, and approach course material from a fun and engaging perspective.

Who are SI Leaders?

SI leadership candidates are identified by instructors or through a review of course grades; once identified, they are asked to submit an application, which must include recommendations from two full-time faculty members. Candidates are also interviewed by the Coordinator of Learning Services, and their applications are reviewed by the instructor of the SI-associated course section. If selected by the Coordinator and the course instructor to be an SI leader, they must commit to attending every class meeting, participating in pre-semester and ongoing training, preparing materials and study plans, and meeting with students twice weekly throughout the term of their selection. SI leaders are tasked with helping students think more deeply about the instructor's lectures and the readings covered in the course, and using innovative cognitive learning strategies to improve students' understanding of complex and challenging concepts.

Who can participate?

Students enrolled in a course that offers SI can attend all of the weekly sessions. Students may arrive and leave at any time during a given session. The SI Leader will make an announcement at the beginning of class regarding the location and time of each session. Students who are not enrolled in a supported section will be referred to the other free services offered by the CFAA.

Why SI?

Empirical studies have shown consistently that students who regularly participate in SI earn from 1/3 to one whole letter grade higher in the course than those who do not.  Participants in ETSU's  SI program earned almost a full letter grade higher than those who did not attend, and participants reported the following to be their favorite parts of SI:

  • SI helps students gain a better understanding of course material.
  • The sessions serve as an excellent opportunity to review and study.
  • Students enjoy the different instructional styles used by SI leaders.
  • The smaller group size of the sessions allowed for more interaction.
  • Students had more opportunities to ask questions and were more comfortable doing so.
  • Participants found SI to be more "on their level" and pace. 
  • The opportunity to prepare for tests and practice potential test questions was valued.

For Faculty

If you are interested in having an SI leader for your class ...

1) Contact CFAA Director Rob Russell (439-7115, to confirm your interest in the program.

2) Start looking for an SI leader.

We will ask for faculty recommendations for possible leaders. Leaders must have earned a B+ or higher in the supported course, have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher, be a sophomore or above, and receive at least two faculty recommendations (at least one of those must be from an instructor who teaches or who has taught the supported course).



SI is currently available for:

  • Biology I for Majors
  • Biology II for Majors
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