The Effects of Supplemental Instruction on Student Grades in a Blended Learning Context

Richard J. Szal, Kyle R. Kennelly


Supplemental Instruction (SI) programs have been used in college and university programs since their inception in the 1970’s.  The programs are viewed as a cost-effective method of delivering peer-assisted instruction to students in courses deemed difficult by virtue of the fact that they suffer from high failure and drop rates.  There have been many analyses that attempt to determine the efficacy of these programs in improving student involvement and grades in the courses and in reducing drop rates and retention.  Virtually every analysis has arrived at the conclusion that the SI program is successful in these endeavors.  A state school is involved in the transformation of many lower-division classes to a blended learning format in an effort to increase efficiency for the use of teaching staff and classroom space.  In the view of the authors, the use of SI programs using student leaders takes on added importance.  The paper performs an analysis concerning the results for an introductory business statistics class.  The results indicate that SI sessions had a large positive effect on student grades in the class, and the effect of SI sessions is larger than either time spent on homework assignments or participation in lecture activities.  For every SI session attended a student’s grade improves by 0.73 points on a 100 point scale.  The paper concludes by indicating additional data requirements that could help future research clarify the effects of SI on different demographic groups.

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