Guided Pathways to Success

Guided Pathways to Success

Inside Higher Ed posted an interesting article on September 15, 2020, titled “Report: Guided Pathways Show Progress” written by Madeline St. Amour. I found this article to be rather interesting as it discusses the changes occurring in institutions all across the nation.

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Photographer: Sarah Shaffer | Source: Unsplash

Guided pathways are an effort to help improve college completion and student success rates by redesigning the students’ journeys through their academic careers. These pathways often include the use of “metamajors” which allow students to proceed down a broader path of study – still in the field they are interested in, but not so specific that they can’t explore other options available to them.

The report that is repeatedly referenced in the article provides pillars that college administrators and faculty need to keep in mind if they are to be successful in implementing the guided pathways at their institutions. These pillars help students get on a path, stay on their path, and ensure students are actually learning.

The first pillar (help students get on a path) basically states that colleges should improve specific guidance on completion (so students aren’t getting poor advice from the wrong sources). Topics that they need to cover are:

  1. How long it would take the student to complete their program
  2. What the total cost of their education will be
  3. Which credits would transfer towards a major at a four-year college

The next pillar (stay on the path) has a few points for consideration as well:

  1. Students should meet with an academic adviser at least once a term.
  2. Advisers should review the student’s progress on their academic plan each time they meet.
  3. Institutions should ensure that there are enough courses available to keep students on their path and timeline.

The final pillar of ensuring students are learning is looking at how to provide solid evidence of learning. The points mentioned in the article were:

  1. Require students to participate in study groups
  2. Work with classmates on assignments outside of class
  3. Encourage students to talk with their instructors about readings or ideas outside of class
  4. Encourage experiential learning such as internships or co-op experiences

According to the article, the report also showcased issues with faculty in regard to guided pathways. Some recommendations for institutions to consider include:

  1. Involve faculty in the guided pathway programs
  2. Educate faculty about the guided pathway programs
  3. Find ways to include adjuncts as well, not just the full-time faculty

Overall, this article was an excellent, thought-provoking article. I highly recommend that faculty and administrators at institutions look more into guided pathways as a way to improve their institutions’ retention and completion rates … as well as greatly improving student success!

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Until next time … live long life learner!!

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