Math, English aren’t only ‘obstacle courses’

Introductory math and English courses are gatekeepers at community colleges: Many students don’t make it through. But via other introductory courses are “obstacle courses” that can block completion, according to a new study by Matthew Zeidenberg, Davis Jenkins and Marc Scott if Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia.

. . .  if colleges want to increase students’ chances of earning a credential, they will need to pay attention to student performance in a broader set of courses beyond simply college math and English. They should also rethink college remediation or developmental instruction, which tends to focus on math and English and not on other obstacle courses.

“Obstacle courses” include:  College Success Skills, Introduction to Computer Applications and Concepts, History of Western Civilization I , Introduction to Business, Principles of Accounting I and Beginning Spanish I.

A student’s overall grade point average — not the grade in any particular course — was the best predictor of success or failure.