Passing gateway courses, which are the first level courses in a subject area, is a crucial milestone for community college students as they set the pace for the rest of their academic careers. However, community college students are under performing in their completion of gateway courses. Nationally, only 16% of community college students complete both English and math gateway courses in their first year.
Institutions must adopt a “student ready” philosophy to provide the necessary support for students to succeed. Kentucky has adopted this approach by making “corequisite” education the standard for their students. In this format, students are able to take college-level coursework while also receiving structured academic support.
Gateway course completion is largely an equity issue. Students of color and adult learners (over the age of 25) have double-digit gaps in math performance compared to their peers. To close these disparities, there needs to be support for non-academic needs and an overall feeling of belonging on campus.
Faculty, especially professors, play a significant role in influencing success in gateway courses. They are responsible for providing culturally relevant examples with a social justice focus and providing structured time for students to connect with them, review their work, and answer any questions.
Infographic Source: https://cpe.ky.gov/ourwork/gateway-course-infographic.html