SI was developed in 1973 by Dr. Deanna Martin at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, as an academic assistance program whose purpose was to increase the performance and retention of medical school students at UMKC. The program targeted academic courses with a high rate of resulting "D" or "E" grades and/or withdrawals, and provided regularly-scheduled, out-of-class sessions that were led by students' peers.
SI is now a highly-recognized program that has spread to over 1800 different universities and colleges in the United States and in 27 countries abroad. Specific details may vary from school to school, but the purpose of SI is still the same- to provide academic assistance to students who are enrolled in courses that have had a consistently high number of less-than-average grades (C- and lower, including failures and withdrawals) over the years.
In an ideal world, Supplemental Instruction programs would not be needed because the majority of college students would already have the study skills and knowledge necessary to obtain better-than-average grades in all of their classes. But until that day comes, Supplemental Instruction programs, and the people associated with them, will continue to assist students develop the study skills and knowledge that they need to survive and thrive in their academic environment.