Tutors are taking to Pierce’s classrooms in the form of Supplemental Instructors.
Supplemental Instructors are tutors who attend a specific class to offer educational assistance to students by organizing study groups and offering one-on-one help outside of class.
They’re paid through the Perkins Foundation, which makes their services free to students.
“Their role is to take notes, follow along in class and use their experience to coordinate study groups,” Tutoring Support Supervisor and SI Coordinator Sam Miller said. “They also help in part by modeling good study skills and practices that lead to student achievement.”
Each SI is qualified to be in the position they’re in. Since the SIs are Pierce students, they’re required to have at least a 3.8 cumulative GPA. They’re also expected to have previously taken and passed the class they’re tutoring in with a minimum grade of 3.25.
Pierce Puyallup currently has four Supplemental Instructors in classes that Miller and the SI program identified as difficult courses for students. The classes include Intermediate Algebra, Intro to Statistics, Economics, and Anatomy and Physiology. Next quarter SIs will likely continue their work in those four courses, although economics is in question.
Courses with an SI aren’t advertised, so there’s no way for students to know until they’re registered for and attending the class.
“We only have four SIs,” Intro to Statistics supplemental instructor Adam Brand said. “So if your class has an SI then you’re one of the lucky ones.”
Since SIs attend every class from the first day of the course, they’re a quarter long source of academic support. While SIs are there to help students improve their understanding of a subject, they are by no means a source of copying.
“We’re not here to do a student’s work,” Brand said. “We’re a resource that can guide study groups and make sure that all of the information being exchanged is correct.”
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