Success in Science: Identifying Barriers and Bridges to First Year Students’ Success in Introductory Undergraduate Biology and Chemistry Courses
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The Achievement Gap refers to academic disparities between underrepresented students and their counterparts on the basis of race/ethnicity, family income, family educational background, languages spoken at home, and gender. Science departments at some colleges and universities have begun intentionally and strategically reducing the Achievement Gap in introductory science courses. In comparison to other colleges and universities, very little work has been done in the Kalamazoo College biology and chemistry departments to determine if the Achievement Gap is present and to specifically address the Achievement Gap in the departments, if present. Using institutional data, an academic achievement gap was determined to be present in first year biology and chemistry courses on the basis of race/ethnicity and family educational background. Recommendations for reducing the Achievement Gap include changing lecture styles, providing resources particularly for serving needs of underrepresented students, implementing supplemental instruction sessions, and adopting transition programs prior to students’ matriculation into the college.
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