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Confronting the gatekeeper : exploring the impact of success skills in a first-year composition course

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Item Summary

Title: Confronting the gatekeeper : exploring the impact of success skills in a first-year composition course
Authors: Fujioka-Imai, Kathryn
Keywords: community college
Issue Date: Aug 2014
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2014]
Abstract: At many postsecondary institutions, the first-year composition course is considered a "gatekeeper," a course with a high student enrollment and a low success rate. A foundational class, the first-year composition course is very often a prerequisite for writing-intensive and other courses, as well as a degree requirement. Thus, access, persistence, and retention become critical issues, particularly when some students repeatedly take the course but cannot pass.
Certainly, a variety of institutional and individual factors impact students' success, particularly at community colleges, which operate with an open-door philosophy toward learning. Personal issues come into play, as many students work and look after family members in addition to managing academic responsibilities, and return to school after an extended absence. These students are often in need of additional support to meet the demands of college courses and of the college experience.
This study sought to determine the extent to which aiding students in improving their success skills would increase their ability to pass a first-year composition course. The instructor implemented four interventions: a writing assignment designed to identify students' level of motivation and factors impacting their success, the ACT ENGAGE College assessment, a campus resources scavenger hunt activity, and mandatory Writing Center visits. At the end of the semester, 70.0 percent (14, n = 20) of students in treatment group 1 and 83.3 percent (15, n = 18) received a C grade or higher. In the control group, 88.9 percent (16, n = 18) achieved at least a C grade.
Via surveys, focus groups, and evaluations, students commented positively about the interventions but overwhelmingly highlighted aspects of the instructor's teaching that had been in place, such as activities, conferences, and community building. Leading busy and sometimes chaotic lives, community college students appreciate and deserve instructors who make an effort to cultivate strong teacher-student relationships and approach course material in engaging ways.
Description: D.Ed. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Ed.D. - Professional Practice

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