Students who attend SI regularly tend to earn higher grades on tests than those who do not attend SI.
University-level courses can be a tough adjustment for some students. That’s why the University of Mississippi’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, established in 2007, provides several services to help students succeed academically, including the Supplemental Instruction program, peer tutors, academic consultations and study-skills workshops.
Supplemental Instruction is a set of weekly review sessions for some traditionally difficult courses such as Biological Science 160 and Chemistry 105. SI sessions are run by students who have taken the courses and done well in them, and have been trained to lead SI groups.
“Students who attend SI regularly tend to earn higher grades on tests than those who do not attend SI,” said Nancy Wiggers, a learning specialist in CETL. “Moreover, these students have opportunities to become SI leaders themselves.”
In addition to the weekly sessions, test-review sessions are provided before tests. Students who are enrolled in the course receive emails from SI leaders reminding them of the weekly schedules and the test-review sessions.
One student, who attended the SI sessions and then became an SI leader, said she learned from personal experience that SI works.
“I came to Ole Miss as a transfer student,” biology major Kate Moore said. “I did very little studying at my junior college and still had a 4.0 GPA. When I took my first test at Ole Miss, I was shocked that my night-before-the-test method of cramming did not get me the A I was used to, but got me a D. I remembered at the beginning of the year hearing about SI, so I decided to give it a try. The second test time came around, and I was pleasantly surprised to have gotten the A I wanted. The only difference between the first test and second test is that I regularly attended SI.”
The peer tutor program focuses on providing students some additional help with study strategies. Peer tutors are students who have been successful academically and are trained to help guide fellow students to make better choices in their study habits. Students can set up an appointment with a peer tutor online or by phone.
“Though sometimes students and peer tutors establish weekly meetings for ongoing support, usually students meet with peer tutors one or two times to get specific assistance,” Wiggers said.
Students who wish to address broader issues associated with academic achievement (such as test anxiety or test performance, in addition to various academic strategies) can meet with one of the center’s learning specialists. Students can walk in and request help; however, Wiggers recommends calling or emailing the center to make an appointment.
Study-skills workshops are offered three times a week. Students do not need to make appointments; they can simply attend a workshop that is scheduled.
In addition to CETL’s services, tutors are available in many academic departments, and the Department of Mathematics offers lab hours for College Algebra, Elementary Statistics, Calculus 1 & 2, Business Calculus 1 & 2, Trigonometry and Pre-calculus.