Using Supplemental Instruction to Bridge the Transition from Secondary to Tertiary Education
Supplemental Instruction (SI) is today a well known academic assistance program, providing help for students in “difficult” courses at colleges and universities. Little attention has been paid however to the possibility of also implementing the SI program in upper secondary school. In this study we present qualitative results from such an SI program in a Swedish setting. Here, students from the faculty of engineering at Lund University, act as SI leaders at eleven upper secondary schools in the local region, in subjects such as math, physics and chemistry. The main conclusion is that the SI methodology also seems to work in an upper secondary school environment. The students who attend SI regularly appear to obtain new study strategies to increase their understanding of the subject, besides improving on general skills such as teamwork, communicating on a subject, and making presentations in front of others. There are several advantages for the schools and university involved. For example they gain a formal and an informal link, which can prove useful in many circumstances when an exchange of information is needed, and both can use SI as a means to boost recruitment. For the upper secondary school, the students can get an alternative view on subjects, which hopefully stimulates interest and understanding. The students also get a more mature role model to turn to. For the university an additional advantage is that a more informal view of what it is like to study at university can be provided to upper secondary school students.
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