Structured Learning Assistance (SLA)
What is Structured Learning Assistance?
Austin Peay State University is honored to have been a pioneer in the Structured Learning Assistance (SLA) program, which is now being adopted by universities across the country. The SLA program initially served students who entered the university with an academic deficiency by using a co-requisite model to provide SLA supported courses, courses designated with an “E” in the course description. SLA now also supports courses that are known to be challenging to students. These courses are designated with an “S” for success, in the course Description.
Students whose placement test scores in mathematics, reading, and/or English determined that they should be in an SLA-supported course will be enrolled in an enhanced “E” sections of the following core classes:
- ENGL 1010
- MATH 1010
- MATH 1530
- HIST 2010 (for reading)
SLA-supported sections are supported with workshops and require that students meet 5 hours each week, 3 hours for classroom instruction and 2 hours for the SLA workshops. For APSU at Fort Campbell, students meet 6 hours weekly for classroom instruction and 4 hours weekly for SLA workshops.
For further information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions page. Students, parents, and other institutions may contact the Assistant SLA Coordinator Alexis Kashman, with other questions they may have about the SLA program.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are "SLA-supported" courses?
SLA-supported 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 SLA-supported core courses is meant to be identical to the regular sections of the courses. Both meet 3 hours each week. In addition, students enrolled in SLA-supported courses must participate in a Structured Learning Assistance (SLA) lab two hours each week. By enrolling in SLA-supported sections of core courses, students complete their core requirements in Mathematics, History, or English while satisfying the requirement to address academic deficiencies.
Historically challenging courses: Some courses that have historically been challenging to students now offer SLA-supported sections of the course. These sections provide the same content, but they also provide structured support to aid student success.
What is SLA?
Who should enroll in SLA-supported Courses?
- Students with an academic deficiency: Students and parents should contact admissions with questions regarding academic placement scores. Students with academic deficiencies must enroll in an SLA-supported section of the course associated with their specific deficiency.
- Students considering a rigorous course which offers SLA-supported sections: Students who are enrolling in courses which offer SLA-supported sections should consult with their advisor to determine if the success 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 SLA-supported courses offer the students?
- For students with academic deficiencies: SLA-supported 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.