Structured Learning Assistance (SLA) FAQs
What are "enhanced" courses?
Enhanced courses are designed to improve student success. These courses normally fall into one of two categories.
- Courses to help students remove academic deficiencies: Courses such as MATH 1010, MATH 1530, HIST 2010, and ENGL 1010 have been designed for those students who enter APSU with ACT/SAT scores, which formerly would have placed them in developmental courses that carried no university-level credit and, therefore, did not apply toward a degree. The lecture portion of the enhanced core courses are meant to be identical to the non-enhanced sections of the courses. Both meet 3 hours each week. In addition, students enrolled in enhanced courses must participate in a Structured Learning Assistance (SLA) lab two hours each week. This approach is approved under the TBR A-100 guidelines. By enrolling in enhanced sections of core courses, students complete their core requirements in Mathematics, History, or English while satisfying the TBR requirement to address academic deficiencies.
- Historically challenging courses: Some courses that have historically been challenging to students now offer enhanced sections of the course. These sections provide the same content, but they provide structured support to aid student success.
What is SLA?
SLA is an instructional model which links course content with structured support to facilitate student success in the classroom. SLA leaders, who conduct the SLA labs, attend class meetings. The SLA Leaders reinforce course content during the lab. They work regularly with the course instructor to tailor support to the needs of the students.
Who should enroll in SLA-supported Courses?
- Students with the following ACT, SAT, or ACCUPLACER scores in Mathematics, Reading, and English must enroll in enhanced sections of Mathematics, History, and/or.
Algebra: less than 97
MATH 1010E or 1530E
Writing: less than 92
Reading: less than 90
- Students who are enrolling in courses which offer enhanced sections should consult with their advisor to determine if the enhanced version of the course might be the best choice for them.
Do students have to pay extra for SLA?
Students pay the same tuition for enhanced courses as they would for non-enhanced courses. They also pay a small fee to cover the cost of the labs.
What benefits do enhanced courses offer the students?
- For students with academic deficiencies: Enhanced courses reduce the time spent in earning a degree. Students remove deficiencies and complete core course requirements at the same time by participating in 3 hours of lecture and in 2 hours of SLA workshop, each week, for one semester. Previously, students were required to take at least 3-6 hours of non-university level course work before enrolling in core Mathematics, History and English courses.
- Reduces the tuition cost to students: Students no longer pay tuition for courses that do not apply toward graduation. They pay only the tuition for the core class.
- Increases opportunities for success: SLA supports course instruction with individualized instruction and group activities led by an SLA leader, which maximizes the opportunities for students to understand all course concepts and to achieve course objectives.
What happens in SLA labs?
- Student engagement with course concepts.
- Instruction on learning styles and study skills that apply to the course.
- Instructor-led and computer-based instruction on prerequisite competencies.
- Additional writing activities accompanied by peer review.
- Instruction on test-taking strategies.
- Test reviews.
Who is the SLA Leader?
- The SLA Leader is the person responsible for conducting the labs that are linked to enhanced courses.
- The SLA Leader has demonstrated academic success in the supported course and has been recommended by departmental faculty for this role.
- The leader receives training each semester on how to conduct labs.
- The SLA Leader attends each class meeting of the supported course and meets with the professor on a regular basis to discuss lab content.