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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

March 8, 2011

Supplemental Instruction helps students succeed in tough classes

MARYVILLE, Mo. - For 25 years the Talent Development Center at Northwest Missouri State University has helped students navigate the rigors of college courses, and the TDC's Supplemental Instruction program offers extra help with peer tutoring groups for traditionally tough classes.

Located in the TDC, on the third floor of the Administration Building, the SI program helps students better comprehend and retain classroom material. SI sessions integrate a "how-to-learn" approach with "what-to-learn," and are offered for classes that often are multi-section, general education courses with high enrollments.

SI leaders facilitate the sessions and integrate life-long learning skills into the sessions by using a variety of collaborative learning techniques. The sessions are scheduled three times a week outside of classes and are open to all Northwest students enrolled in the targeted courses. Attendance is voluntary, and the sessions are free.

"As a college student I'm also working a separate job, so it's easier for me to be able to tell somebody, ‘Hey, I have three times a week where I need to go study,'" Northwest student Diane Jurchen said. "And then I have those times set aside and I know that there's going to be other people studying the same thing."

SI leaders are model students who have completed the course with an A or B and have been recommended by the course instructor. By using a variety of techniques, they encourage "peer-facilitated" learning and continually receive excellent ratings on their session observations.

"I benefit from the SI program in a lot of different ways," Northwest student Bethany Honkomp said. "First and foremost, I probably get a lot of different repetition of the material. So I'm able to retain it longer, and I'm not memorizing the material so I'm actually learning it and knowing it for the test."

Almost 20 years of data indicates students who regularly participate in at least one SI session a week can expect to earn a half to a full letter grade better in the course than students who do not regularly attend SI sessions.

"They learn the material twice as fast and twice as efficient during the sessions because they're able to connect with other students and pick up things in their notes that they hadn't picked up before," said Kate Walter, an SI leader and Northwest student.

The program was developed by Dr. Deanna Martin in 1973 at the University of Missouri- Kansas City. At Northwest, SI is a program of the Talent Development Center, which was established in 1986.

For more information about the SI program or the Talent Development Center, call 660.562.1726 or visit

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468