Strong Start To Finish

This glossary explains key terms associated with the Core Principles and developmental education.

Co-requisite support. Co-requisite support refers not to a single model of instruction but encompasses a variety of integrated and contextualized mandatory academic and nonacademic supports necessary for student success in gateway courses. Examples include: additional hours of class time; stretch classes spread over two semesters; a two-hour computer lab with a mentor; or embedded and contextualized content in a technical course.

  • Paired-Course Co-Requisite Models:
    In these models the corequisite DE support course and college course remain relatively similar to what was offered outside of corequisites. There may have been some efforts to strengthen connections between the two courses, but typically they retained separate instructors and student-to-instructor ratios and largely focused on separate coursework. Students were typically enrolled in separate sections of the college course from college ready students.
  • Extended Instructional Time Co-Requisite Models:
    In these models the corequisite DE support course was built in as an extension of the college course, with the DE support and college course typically indistinguishable to students as two separate components and scaffolding embedded throughout the course. The course and corequisite DE support were always taught by the same instructor and focused on the same coursework, and sections of the corequisite were typically populated entirely by DE students (i.e., there were no efforts to intentionally mix DE students in sections with college-ready students).
  • ALP Co-Requisite Models:
    In these models DE students were co-enrolled with college-ready students in the college course, and then the smaller group of DE students were enrolled together in the corequisite DE support as a learning community. The same instructor taught both portions of the corequisite, and the focus of the corequisite DE support was to provide additional support around the college coursework, typically utilizing the same textbook but often supplementing college coursework with some additional assignments.
  • Academic Support Service Co-Requisite Models:
    In these models DE students were co-enrolled with college-ready students in the college course. The corequisite DE support, typically structured as an NCBO, involved weekly use of an existing college support service, typically tutoring in the writing center or participation in instructor office hours. Tutoring models often used a different instructor to oversee the corequisite DE support, while office hour models relied on the same instructor for both parts of the corequisite. The corequisite DE support focused almost exclusively on providing support with the college coursework, though occasionally instructors assigned some small amounts of additional coursework to address areas of weakness. Approximately 14 percent of surveyed colleges reported that their English Composition I corequisites were structured as academic support service models.
  • Technology-Mediated Co-Requisite Models:
    In these models DE students were typically enrolled in separate sections of the college course, and the corequisite DE support was structured as a lab where students worked independently with computer-adaptive software to receive support with basic concepts. The instructor overseeing the corequisite DE support was often different from the college instructor.
  • Source: Miller, Daughterty, Mortorell, Gerber, LiCalsi, Tanenbaum & Medway, (2019). Assessing the Effect of Corequisite English Instruction Using a Randomized Controlled Trial.

Default placement. The practice of routinely placing students in credit-bearing math and English gateway courses to help them get started on a program of study. Default means it is not mandatory, but it is what will happen absent a proactive diagnostic and advising process as part of the college intake experience.

Degrees and certificates of value. Postsecondary credentials that are in demand in the workforce and therefore lead to livable wage job opportunities and/or provide a sound foundation for further education and training.

Equity. Equity is the principle of fairness. In higher education, equity involves ensuring that each student receives what he or she needs to be successful. Achievement gaps may reflect structural inequities when disparities are the result of historic and systemic social injustices or the unintended or indirect consequences of institutional or social policies. Many equity-conscious postsecondary institutions and their supporters believe that access to high-quality education within an inclusive environment that supports and promotes student success is the right of all individuals and a necessity for the continued advancement of a strong democracy and workforce.

Gateway courses. The first college-level or foundational courses and course sequences for a program of study. Gateway courses are for college credit and apply to the requirements of a degree. They are designed to engage and enable students to master foundational skills needed for their chosen pathway.

Meta-major. A set of broad content areas that students choose upon enrollment at a postsecondary institution. An academic pathway includes a set of courses that meet academic requirements that are common across several disciplines and specific programs of study. Enrollment and completion of academic pathway courses guide students through initial academic requirements and into programs of study.

Programs of study. An articulated set of courses, learning experiences and learning outcomes required for a postsecondary credential that are defined by academic departments within colleges and universities and encompass the requirements for earning a postsecondary credential.

Remedial education. Instruction and support for students who are assessed by their institution of choice as being academically underprepared for postsecondary education (also variously described as developmental education, college prep, basic skills education and other terms, all referring to pre-collegiate work).