How can we improve outcomes in gateway courses?

This was one of the guiding questions of the Equity and Digital Learning Research-Practice Partnership (RPP), a nationwide initiative between five colleges and universities and the organizations Achieving the Dream, APLU, Digital Promise, and Every Learner Everywhere.

The RPP began in Spring 2021 and primarily focused on changes in the 2021-22 academic year. Harper College was chosen as one of the institutional partners and focused on English 101 and 102 (Composition 1 and 2), Harper’s courses with the highest enrollments.

How can we improve outcomes in gateway courses?

Through the RPP, Harper English faculty Andre Berchiolly, Simona Bonica, Ana Contreras, and Stephanie Whalen reflected on their courses to identify ways to improve class climate and improve success rates and share equitable teaching practices with others at Harper and other partner institutions. Among the professional development used for this program were the Equity Teaching Academy and Enacting Equity Guidelines. RPP external partners crafted, disseminated, and analyzed student survey data alongside Harper institutional data to track how RPP initiatives affected success rates and dimensions of instructor quality and course climate.

Notable among findings: the English 102 model-adjusted pass rate was higher among RPP instructors (the model accounted for relevant student identity and academic characteristics), pass rates in English 102 rose from Spring 2021 to Spring 2022 among Latina/o/x students, and over 90% of students in RPP instructors’ courses rated the course and instructor as “excellent” or “good” on nearly all dimensions of inclusive teaching and positive course climate.

This poster provides further details about the program and findings from the RPP. You can also check out the poster in the back hallway of the Academy for Teaching Excellence (Building F, Room F317).

How can we improve outcomes in gateway courses?