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UNT Learning Center given inaugural award in Supplemental Instruction

UNT Learning Center given inaugural award in Supplemental Instruction

University of Missouri-Kansas City: The International Center for Supplemental Instruction | Courtesy

UNT Learning Center given inaugural award in Supplemental Instruction
June 23
01:12 2016

Adalberto Toledo | Senior Staff Writer


UNT’s Learning Center received the first ever award for Outstanding Innovation in Supplemental Instruction at the International Conference for Supplemental Instruction at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The conference took place May 25-27.

Supplemental Instruction’s goal is to apply regular instruction outside the classroom to increase retention and student success. UMKC, the hosts of the conference, started SI in 1973, and UNT winning the award is tied largely to SI’s partnership with the Texas Success Initiative – a state program designed to improve college student success.

UNT’s SI program has followed UMKC’s lead for the past 18 years. Roxanne Davenport, director of the Learning Center, said the success rate in students rises if they utilize the resources at the learning center.

“Our success rate with our students who are in, [for example] developmental education is because they have used the collaboration between SI and TSI,” Davenport said. “We have a high rate of students being successful in their coursework if they participated in the course and the SI sessions.”

Davenport said the rate of student success with their coursework after participating in SI sessions was 98 percent among students deemed “TSI incomplete,” meaning they did not meet the requirements of college-level proficiency in a specific area.

“We’re always trying to figure out what’s successful, and if it’s not then we change it,” Davenport said. “It’s very important for those students who are struggling to come to us, because if you stay on top of everything from the beginning it’s going to be a lot easier for you not to fall behind when it gets tougher.”

The partnership between SI and TSI allows for the Learning Center to know where incoming students stand academically in various different academic aspects. The initiative, which was started in the fall of 2015, meant the supplemental instructors got a chance to work with students who were determined to not be college-ready in reading, writing or math. TSI specifies that a student be given an education plan to address their specific academic needs.

If a student is deemed to not perform at college level in math, for example, the student would be placed in a UNT mathematics course and would have to attend SI sessions on top of their regular coursework. Though that may seem overwhelming, former SI Kaitlyn Wernars said it makes things a lot easier.

“I think going to initial sessions helps way more than going to the test prep sessions, because you’re definitely cramming at that point,” Wernars said. “That being said, if you’re studying on your own and just need to reaffirm your knowledge, then going to a few sessions may or may not be beneficial.”

Wernars said it’s much more important to attend a lot of sessions for those that really struggle with conceptualization. The program is set up to act like a study session, so students are always encouraged to go because it can act as their study time for a particular class.

SI’s are trained for two days, must have received an A in the course corresponding with their SI enrollment, and must hold a GPA above a 3.0. Assistant director of the Learning Center Meena Naik said SI focuses on classes most people struggle in.

“We focus on classes that have high rates of D’s, F’s and WF’s, and so we try to implement supplemental instruction in those,” Naik said. “Our SI teachers are model students and they attend class just like a students. For every hour spent in class, there is also that time for supplemental instruction.”

Naik said SI is voluntary, although the Learning Center does see a higher success rate among students who go to SI sessions. Above all though, Naik wanted students to know their resources.

“We’re now piloting this partnership in other classes to see if we can expand it,” Naik said. “But what we know is that SI works and we really encourage students to participate in SI sessions from the beginning if they feel they’re going to struggle.”

Featured Image: University of Missouri-Kansas City: The International Center for Supplemental Instruction | Courtesy

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