Lesson
Materials

Get an overview of the Gateway Course Completion dashboard and learn what gateway courses are.

Transcript
This is the introduction and basic functionality tutorial for the National Student Clearinghouse’s Postsecondary Data Partnership Gateway Course Completion dashboard. Thank you for joining us.​

The Gateway Course Completion dashboard reports the number of students who successfully completed their required math and/or English gateway courses in this first year of enrollment at the institution.​

Students who complete all required gateway courses prior to enrolling at the institution are not represented in this dashboard.​

​Exactly what is a "gateway course"? Your institution defines what a gateway course is. However, generally a gateway course is an entry-level credit-bearing college-level math or English course that usually apply to the requirements of a degree program. Courses like College Algebra and Writing Composition, for example, could be considered gateway courses if they are required by a student's degree program. Please ask your institution's PDP administrator for the list of courses coded as "gateway courses." ​

While your institution defines several courses for gateway English and math courses, a student is required to take one gateway math and one gateway English course if the requirement was not fulfilled by the student prior to starting at your university or college.  ​

Why are we interested in gateway course completion? Research shows that completing gateway courses in the first year of college is a leading indicator of a student's likelihood to complete a credential. Using the PDP Gateway Course Completion dashboard, you can identify student populations who did not complete their required gateway courses in their first year and determine if those​ students need additional support. ​

How do we calculate the Gateway Course Completion Rate? It's a fairly simple calculation. The denominator is a count of all first-year students who are required to take gateway courses. The numerator is a count of the students who successfully completed all required gateway courses within their first year of college.  The ratio is multiplied by 100 to create a percentage. ​

For example, if 1200 first-year students completed all of their required gateway courses in their first year of college out of 3800 first-year students then the gateway course completion ration would be 1200 ÷ 3800 * 100% or 31.6%.​

There are two things to remember: If a student is required to take both English and math gateway courses, then both must be completed to be included in the calculation. And each student's first year is calculated based on when they entered your institution, not on an academic year. ​

To help you disaggregate the data, the dashboard includes a unique filter and dimension called "Gateway Status." Gateway Status filters or disaggregates the dashboard visualizations by three categories: ​

  • Students who are only required to take a gateway English course, ​
  • Students who are only required to take a math gateway course,​
  • or students who are required to take both math and English gateway courses.​

There is another unique filter called "Gateway Grade" that allows you to filter the dashboard visualizations based on the grade students earned for their gateway courses. ​

The categories are : A, B, C, D, and P which stands for Passed. The last category is "Not Passed“. Both Passed and Not Passed are defined by your institution; please ask your institution's PDP administrator if you have questions regarding how Passed and Not Passed are coded. ​

Before we continue, please remember that the results and trends shown in this tutorial are for demonstration purposes only and cannot be applied to your institution. You should review your institution's data before drawing conclusions. ​

This is the Home Page for the Postsecondary Data Partnership dashboards. The Gateway Course Completion dashboard is one of the early momentum metrics. Clicking on that icon takes you to the dashboard. ​

At the top are the global filters. The global filters allow you to include only the student population on which you're' interested on focusing. Adding a filter changes the data represented in the dashboards. ​

In addition to the global filters, the dashboard has a unique filter, called "Gateway Status", which we discussed earlier. Opening that filter displays three options: English Required Only, Math and English Required, and Math Required Only. Selecting one of these options reduces the student population to those who are required to take that option. For example, selecting “English Required Only” reduces the student population to those who are required to only take an English gateway course. ​

Now, let's explore the dashboard quadrants. In the top left quadrant, we learn this dashboard measures the proportion of students required to take gateway courses who completed them in their first year. ​

The upper right quadrant is a line chart that shows the percentage of students who successfully completed their required gateway courses in their first year. It also shows the previous years' cohorts and their gateway course completion rate. ​

This institution shows a positive trend over the past several years, which means a higher percentage of the cohort successfully completed their required gateway courses compared to the cohort that came before them. ​

If you hover over the 2018-2019 data point, a tool tip pop-up will display details on the data point. Here it shows that 27% of first-year students completed their required gateway courses. You can also hover over each of the previous cohort years to view their data details. ​

The lower left hand bar chart shows the percentage and number of first-year students who did not complete their required gateway courses. Hovering over the 2018-19 bar reveals that 73% of first-year students in the cohort did not complete their required gateway courses. This matches up with the line chart that told us 27% of first-year students did complete their required gateway courses. ​

There is also a color overlay that can help you interpret the data. The lighter the color, the fewer the first-year students who did not complete their required gateway courses. The darker the color, the larger the number of first-year students who did not complete their required gateway courses. ​

The final chart, in the lower right quadrant, offers an overall view of the dataset. The length of the blue bars represents the number of first-year students and the percentage of that population who completed their required gateway courses. The gray bar shows the percentage of first-year students who did not complete their required gateway courses. ​

For 2018-19, we see the same values are shown: 27% of first-year students completed their required gateway courses while 73% did not. ​

​Let's return to the upper left quadrant, were you will find the dimensions for this dashboard. Dimensions allow you to compare student populations and identify gaps in achievement or equity. ​

For example, let's add the dimension "Enrollment Type" to the dashboard. The line chart now has two lines; one for first-time students and one for transfer-in students. There is a noticeable achievement gap between these two populations for the 2018-19 cohort year. ​

Next to the Dimensions is the Gateway Grade filter. This metric allows you to filter the first-year student cohort by a specific grade earned for their required gateway courses. ​

Let's see if there is an achievement gap between our first-time and transfer-in students based on the grade achieved starting with A. Clicking on the filter and selecting "A" reveals that the gap narrowed considerably on the 2018-19 line-chart. ​

Let's change the Gateway Grade to view first-year students who earned a "B" in their required gateway courses. Now, there is virtually no gap in achievement between first-time and transfer-in students. ​

But changing the Gateway Grade to "C" dramatically widens the achievement gap. Now that we know there is a gap for first-time vs. transfer students who earned a "C", we can browse other dimensions, such as age or attendance, to see if they yield similar gaps for C-grade students. These additional insights can provide clues as to why students who earn C grades have lower completion rates and indicate the need for research to understand why this happened. ​

To review, we have explored the definitions, unique filters and dimensions, and the basic functionality of the Gateway Course Completion dashboard. ​

This dashboard helps you better understand the early momentum of your first-year students by identifying those who have, or have not, completed their required gateway courses. ​

And why is that important? First-year gateway course completion is a critical leading indicator of a student's likelihood to complete a credential. ​

This dashboard can help you identify which of your student populations are lagging and may need additional support. ​

Thank you for joining us. ​

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