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.

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).