Hi Michael,

Our SI program at my previous institution tended to see low turnout for math SI, unless we adapted SI to deal with the homework problems. For many math classes, students felt that they should not have to do any extra practice beyond the homework problems, especially if the instructor assigned a lot of homework. Therefore, SI was poor match for students’ expectations about math classes. It might be worth it to try to change the culture around additional practice in math classes, but that is likely to be a long, slow, messy process. For that reason, I think SI in math is a tough sell, and those SI sections are likely to show lower attendance than your other SI sections. However, I would be more than happy to be proven wrong if other institutions have had better results incorporating SI in math classes!

Our most successful SI sections – attendance-wise anyway – were those whose faculty were extremely enthusiastic. Some of those faculty offered extra credit, but many did not. I think the higher attendance was just as much due to the cheerleading the instructors did on a regular basis. We’re talking at least once a week. Some of it, I think, was cheerleading about the program, and some was praising the SI leader to the students. Some was also “the more practice you get with this, the better you’ll do on exams” – basically instructors who preached and modeled growth mindset.

I think sometimes the best thing we can do to increase attendance at SI is make sure faculty understand the program well and know how much of an impact their words have on student attendance.

Hope this helps,

From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Michael Kassel
Sent: Tuesday, June 4, 2019 12:03 PM
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Subject: [External Sender] Increasing SI attendance

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What are the most effective strategies you've used to increase SI attendance? We find low attendance, especially for Math SI, and have attempted a few things:

  1.  Posters in class announcing days and times of SI sessions
  2.  Encouraging SI leaders to use Blackboard email to all students to discuss upcoming topics (not just a session reminder) for this week's session
  3.  Visits to classes by Tutorial/SI Coordinator
  4.  Faculty extra credit for session attendance (if they chose to do so, as well as optional extra credit for those who cannot attend)
  5.  SI Promo video (two minutes) played during the SI intro. Here is a link to the video I created: <>
For all our efforts, we still sometimes suffer from low attendance - what are you doing on your campus?

Just a note on the video - this was not scripted - I spent about a half hour interviewing each of the actual SI leaders (and one student) and just asked some basic questions and then edited this together selecting the best parts of what they had said)

Michael B. Kassel, Ph. D.
Tutorial Coordinator
Adjunct Lecturer in History and American Culture
285 University Pavilion
(810) 766-6773
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Emily Janssen
Academic Coach
Mid-State Technical College / Wisconsin Rapids Campus
500 32nd Street North
Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494
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