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ERIC Number: EJ1154312
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2472-5749
Gap Analysis: An Innovative Look at Gateway Courses and Student Retention
Bloemer, William; Day, Scott; Swan, Karen
Online Learning, v21 n3 p5-14 2017
In this paper we argue that simply identifying gateway courses in which a large number of students fail or withdraw and focusing attention on them may not always be the best use of limited resources. No matter what we do, there will always be courses with high D/F/W rates simply because of the nature of their content and the preparation of the students who must take them. However, some gateway courses defy expectations and produce fewer DFWs than might be expected while others produce more. Moreover, the timing of course taking can make a difference between success or failure for particular types of students, and failing or withdrawing from a course does not always lead to stopping out. In this paper we use examples from our work with the analyses of student records to show how one can use student type and point in their academic life to predict success in particular gateway courses. Relating predictions to observed DFW rates can highlight courses exceeding expectations and those which fall below them, and support a more nuanced understanding of where attention is needed. Further, we look at whether or not actionable information can be found by looking at whether the general connection between DFW's and attrition holds up for different groups of students in specific courses.
Online Learning Consortium, Inc. P.O. Box 1238, Newburyport, MA 01950. Tel: 888-898-6209; Fax: 888-898-6209; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A