Opening Doors to Academic Achievement:  The Critical Role of Gateway Courses

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Gateway courses represent the first college-level courses in a subject area, and they are vital for academic success since passing them marks the first academic milestone toward a degree. However, according to the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, only 5% of first-time students in public institutions completed gateway courses in math and English by May 2021. Passing these courses is essential for retention and degree completion, as 45% of students who complete gateway courses in math and English graduate from community colleges within three years, compared to only 20% of those who do not complete them.

To ensure that all students receive the necessary support and resources to excel in gateway courses, institutions should prioritize placement and pedagogy, while also using corequisite models. This will increase success rates and shrink institutional performance gaps across student groups. Despite progress, institutional performance gaps based on race, income, and age persist.To achieve Kentucky’s education attainment goal of 60% of the population with a postsecondary credential or degree by 2030, improving success rates in gateway courses and addressing equity gaps are crucial. Providing the necessary support for all students admitted to their programs is crucial for institutions to be “student ready.” To meet Kentucky’s educational objectives, it is essential to acknowledge the importance of gateway courses for academic success and to ensure that students receive the necessary support and resources to excel.

Gateway Course for Student Success

Source: Kentucky Student Success Collaborative




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