Supplemental Instruction

Supplemental Instruction

Supplemental Instruction is a campus-wide initiative to support learning at Del Mar College. Spearheaded by the Curriculum Committee of the Developmental Education Council at DMC, SI is modeled after a successful national program.

What differentiates SI from existing structures/services at DMC is that it focuses on "at-risk courses," not "at-risk students." Thus, SI offers academic support to all students enrolled in historically difficult courses at the College. Specifically, SI provides regularly scheduled, out-of-class, peer-facilitated study sessions.

Key concepts:

  • Academic success and retention program
  • "At-risk" courses, not "at-risk" students
  • Supportive faculty
  • SI Coordinator supervises
  • SI Leaders are model students who demonstrate mastery of the subject
  • Voluntary
  • Students grasp course content, earn higher grades, remain enrolled

Ten Essential Elements

  • SI Sessions are Peer-Facilitated

    The SI Leader facilitates discussion among SI participants. SI Leaders help students formulate and answer their own questions. The SI Leader neither re-lectures nor introduces new material; instead, the SI Leader organizes and adds structure to the SI sessions.

  • SI Leader Serves as a Model

    Rather than an authority figure, the SI is a “model student” of the academic discipline. The ideal SI Leader is a student who has recently taken the class from the same instructor and received a high final course grade, thus exhibiting course competency.

  • SI Sessions Integrate Content and Learning Skills

    How-to-learn strategies are combined with what-to-learn review, so that students can adapt these strategies to other courses and content areas. Collaborative learning is used to create a more active learning environment.

  • SI Leader Attends Class Lectures

    The SI Leader attends all lecture sessions of the targeted class and, therefore, is knowledgeable about what is occurring in the classroom. As a result, the SI Leader can integrate review of lecture notes, textbook readings, and outside supplemental readings.

  • SI Leader Receives Training

    The SI Leader receives one or more days of training prior to the beginning of the semester. In-service training continues throughout the academic term. These training sessions include specific teaching/learning theory and strategies.

  • SI Coordinator Supervises Program

    The SI Coordinator supervises the SI Leader and the SI Program. Among other duties, the campus SI Coordinator periodically attends SI sessions and conducts evaluations to provide helpful feedback for the improvement and success of the program.

  • Faculty Support the SI Program

    The instructor of the targeted class should both understand the SI Program and support its attachment to his or her class. Faculty members are encouraged to find ways to integrate SI into the overall course, but may choose their level of involvement.

  • Sessions are Scheduled

    SI sessions start at the beginning of each semester. Generally, three or more sessions are scheduled each week. Attendance at SI sessions is voluntary, not mandatory.

  • The SI Program is Evaluated

    The SI Program is evaluated each semester. The purpose is two-fold: to improve the quality of the program and to inform College administrators about the overall impact of the program. Evaluation should include assessing outcome measures such as final course grades, course withdrawal rates, institutional drop out rates, and institutional graduation rates.

  • SI Targets Courses, Not Students

    Instead of individual students, SI targets classes in which many students experience academic difficulty. The SI Program provides a learning environment for students of varying ability who are enrolled in the targeted class.


"The old saying, 'He who teaches learns the most,' is certainly true of SI. As an SI Leader, I now have a better understanding of the course material, and getting to watch the students absorb the material is very rewarding. Plus, teaching looks great on the resume!"
Catherine Green, SI Leader

"My experience with the SI program has been very positive. I am fortunate to have an outstanding SI Leader, and feel that this is an outstanding program. I feel a lot better knowing that my students have an additional opportunity to seek help. I also believe the program will become more successful as more and more students realize that attending these sessions really make a difference."
Larry Kalich, Mathematics

"SI is challenging, rewarding, even thrilling. The challenge is mastering the material; the reward is seeing struggling students succeed; the thrill is witnessing the ah-ha moments when the new concepts gel into comprehension." 
Bibi Dalrymple, SI Leader

Mission Statement

The mission of the Supplemental Instruction program is to enhance student knowledge and comprehension of course content by providing peer facilitated study sessions designed to help students master course content while learning transferable long-term study and reasoning skills, thereby positively impacting the college’s retention and graduation rates.

Page last updated April 4, 2018.

Contact Information

Dr. Stephanie Ding
Faculty Coordinator
(361) 698-1625