Supplemental instruction programs offer alternative learning opportunities

Sacramento State’s Peer and Academic Resource Center is expanding its supplemental instruction program by providing additional instruction in a variety of traditionally challenging general education courses that includes biology, chemistry, psychology, economics, history and government.

Supplemental instruction courses teach students study skills and information that promotes success in classes.

The Peer and Academic Resource Center, in accordance with the Graduation Initiative program and through many of their services, is committed to increase college graduation rates for all students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Tina Jordan, director of the Peer and Academic Resource Center, said due to student demand, sections were added to the program this semester.

Program statistics show students enrolled in social sciences courses who are participating in the supplemental instruction program, earn almost a letter grade higher than students who are not.

Jordan said she hopes the program will soon have the same positive outcomes for students taking science courses.

Olivia Singer, supplemental instruction facilitator and instructor for the Introductory Anatomy adjunct course, helps students in a variety of ways.

“My job as an adjunct facilitator is to lead a 50-minute supplemental course that helps students learn study skills, how to balance school and work, how to study for tests and quizzes and offer them homework help,” Singer said.

Singer said she believes the supplemental instruction program at the university benefits students. The program provides participants with individual and small group assistance, which helps with course success.

Students who receive supplemental instruction are not required to complete homework, quizzes or additional material to receive credit for their one-unit course. Instead, credit or no credit grades are determined by attendance.

By limiting class sizes to around 20 students, these courses facilitate social interaction and closer relationships among classmates, Singer said.

“We don’t just help students improve their grades, we also help them build a great sense of community,” Singer said.

Students who have difficulty fitting the courses into their schedule can participate in Supplemental Instruction Plus. Both programs are available through the Peer and Academic Resource Center and provide assistance in the same disciplines.

Supplemental Instruction Plus mainly focuses on review sessions for quizzes and exams.

Sarah Dalimonte, a senior speech pathology major, said she has not heard about the Peer and Academic Resource Center Supplemental Instruction program.

Dalimonte said she would have appreciated the additional support, especially in challenging general education courses, and the small class sizes could have also helped her feel more comfortable with the material and the instructor.

“Smaller classes would have been nice to have because I wouldn’t have felt overwhelmed or like I was just a number,” Dalimonte said. “Sometimes, if there is a class of about 60 students, the professor might not remember your name or your face.“

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