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Increase student success rates in high DFW gateway courses (Atlanta Metropolitan State College-2023)

Strategy/Project Name: 
Increase student success rates in high DFW gateway courses
Momentum Area: 
Strategy/Project Description: 

Gateway courses have the lowest pass rates. This is particularly difficult for new freshman because it stifles their momentum and motivation to successfully past their first two semester classes and avoid academic warning and/or probation, which also impacts their ability to meet financial aid academic requirements. The project provides academic support for new freshman, as well as re-evaluates course policies and other factors that may be counterproductive and limit student progression through the freshman year.   New Programs and courses are designed to better align with student purposeful choices, thus increasing the likelihood of student retention and completion.   

Activity Status: 
Evaluation/Assessment plan: 

Evaluation Plan and measures: The five lowest pass rates for gateway classes, required for all students, were identified and high impact strategies implemented. Baseline pass rates were compared to pass rates in the Fall 2022 semester to measure success of the intervention strategies.

Course content and policies were also re-evaluated to ensure consistency, application of high impact practices, and support for maximum student success.   

KPIs: Course Pass rates for Top 5 Gateway Courses (or DFW Rate):  English (ENGL) 1101; English (ENGL) 1102, Political Science (POLS) 1101, Mathematics (MATH) 1101, Mathematics (MATH) 1111

Baseline measure (for each KPI):  Fall 2021 Pass rates: ENGL 1101 (48.2%); ENGL 1102 (36.6%); POLS 1111 (53.8%); MATH 1101 (50.6%), and MATH 1111 (62.0%)

Current/most recent data (for each KPI) [NEW for 2023]: Fall 2022 Pass rates: ENGL 1101 (43.6%); ENGL 1102 (43.6%); POLS 1111 (55.0%); MATH 1101 (56.0%); MATH 1111 (66.1%)

Note: MATH 1010 = non-STEM Majors Course; MATH 1111 – STEM Majors Course

Goal or targets (for each KPI): 2% increase for ENGL classes; 3% increases for POLS classes, and 2% increase for MATH classes

Time period/duration: Annually

Progress and Adjustments: 

Mixed results occurred for ENGL classes, with the pass rates for ENGL 1101 decreasing by 4.6%, and those for ENGL 1102 increased by 7%. The high impact practices applied in ENGL 1102 will be continued, given the high year-over-year increase in success rates. Adjustments will be made to ENGL 1101, particularly to determine if the successful high impact practices in ENGL 1102 might be reproduced, with positive results, in ENGL 1101, The pass rates for both MATH courses, MATH 1101, and MATH 1111, increased by 6% and 4%, respectively. The adaptive learning strategy was applied in both classes and the results are promising and will be continued. POLS 1101 courses showed a 1.7% increase over the previous year, indicating that the high impact practices were successful and are moving in the right direction. Given the success of adaptive learning in MATH courses, a similar strategy is being explored for ENGL courses.

Plan for the Year Ahead: 

The focus for the year ahead is to direct more intention to the gateway courses that showed a decrease in pass rates when compared to the previous year baseline pass rates. A viable starting point is to reproduce and expand the successful impact practices utilized in the courses that showed improvements to those courses that were either flat or declined in pass rate.

Challenges and Support: 

The challenge is determining the students’ level of preparedness, without any prior testing or diagnostic results. Having prior knowledge of a student’s level of preparedness affords the instructor to prepare and implement the most appropriate curriculum and support material to address the range of gaps in student’s knowledge/skills base, while simultaneously allowing students to complete the College level requirements of the course.

Primary Contact: 
Prof. Jamie Wilcox (ENGL 1101, ENGL 1102)
Dr. Noel Whelchel (MATH 1101, MATH 1111)
Dr. Robert Wilkes (POLS 1101)