The performance of colleges and universities is under ever-increasing scrutiny. Nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of student success. Public concerns over affordability, the advance of the Completion Agenda, and policy changes such as performance-based funding make improving students’ academic success an institutional imperative. Historically, many college-level courses taken predominantly by first- and/or second-year students, as well as developmental education courses, have served to “weed out” students rather than promote their further study and success.
The deleterious impact of gateway courses is particularly pronounced for low-income, underrepresented minority, and first generation college students. Given the twenty-first-century student demographic and social justice imperatives, this model is no longer tolerable.
The time is right for a comprehensive institutional approach to improving student success in high-risk gateway courses – a data-based plan that fosters intentional positive change in student success and learning in gateway courses in a consistent, institution-wide manner.