With a growing freshman class size, LSU welcomes more students — and more students who struggle with the learning gap between high school and college.
Many struggle with the higher demand for work at the college level. Supplemental Instruction sessions are offered for students enrolled in difficult courses. The Center for Academic Success reports that students who attend three or more SI sessions earn a 0.5 letter grade higher than students who do not attend. SI sessions are free, voluntary and open to all students.
An SI leader is an undergraduate student who has taken the course and leads the session sharing what they learned and how to study. To apply, a student needs a 3.0 or above overall GPA, and 3.0 or above in the selected course. The leader attends the regularly scheduled class and works with the instructor to ensure sessions are relevant to the material covered.
Mass communication senior and third semester History 2057 SI Anna Coleman* said she enjoys helping students gain understanding of the material because she was able to rely on supplemental instructors in the past.
“Being an SI, you don’t necessarily stay with the same professor every semester, so I like to hear the different professors’ interpretation of the class,” Coleman said. “It is similar, but every professor teaches it sort of differently.”
Coleman said attendance of SI sessions varies between classes and between weeks.
“On weeks there is an exam, there will be up to 80 people there,” Coleman said. “On weeks before Mardi Gras, there will be like two people there. I do know that a lot of the STEM classes have really high attendance compared to Humanities and Social Sciences classes, but I’m guessing that is due to much more dense content.”
Professor of sociology Tasia Kazi had an SI last semester for her Sociology 2001 class, but not this semester due to low attendance rates. Kazi said she liked how the students had the opportunity to brainstorm with the SI leader, but did not feel supplemental instructors were necessary for the course.
“Since I teach a sociological course, I have heard from my colleagues in the STEM field that they actually require more SIs because they can practice the math,” Kazi said. “However, in my case, I found that my students had a lower response rate. The attendance was really low.”
Kazi received feedback from the Center of Academic Success that only about 3 percent of her students attended the SI sessions.While some SI sessions havelow attendance, many students rely on SI sessions to help them prepare for exams. English sophomore Desiree Perkins said her biology SI sessions have benefited her.
“For the first test, I didn’t study the way I should have,” Perkins said. “[The SI leader] broke it down more than the professor did, so she made it easier to understand. It was definitely worth it.”
*Editor’s note: Anna Coleman is a former employee of The Reveille.