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Pathways to Success: Gateway Courses for College Students

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The state of Kentucky is looking to the future with the intention of inspiring students to achieve at a high level.  The main strategy they are using to support their students is the emphasis of success in gateway courses, particularly math and English. 

Doing well in gateway courses correlates with both short and long term success for students.  Those who complete gateway math and English courses are more likely to stay in school from year 1 to year 2.  Additionally, 45% of students who complete gateway courses end up graduating in just 3 years, compared to 20% of students who did not complete gateway courses. 

Currently, gaps in success in gateway courses exist among students of varying races, income levels, and ages.  In Kentucky community colleges, as well as in public universities in the state, white students younger than 20 years of age have the highest rates of performance in gateway courses.  This means that more equity needs to be achieved in the completion of gateway courses.  Kentucky aspires to have 60% of their population hold a postsecondary degree by the year 2030, and completion of gateway courses leads to a higher rate of degree completion.  Therefore, addressing racial and age disparities in institutional performance are crucial to the state’s overall educational goals.

Gateway Course for Student Success
Source: Kentucky Student Success Collaborative

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