Project Description

Past project — Conducted October 19, 2018 - November 30, 2020


Guided pathways is an integrated framework that supports institutional transformation with student success at the center, based upon a structured experience. Guided pathways provides students with solutions, via enhanced institutional capacities, to define a pathway for degree completion, get on a pathwaystay on a pathway, and ensure learning while on the pathway, leading to completion of a postsecondary degree or credential. The guided pathways framework supports integration within and across complex domains of academic and student services, and can also help foster the student-centered mindset that is critical for comprehensive transformation at all levels of postsecondary institutions.

Essential practices related to ensure students are learning in the guided pathways model are the following:

  • Scaled high-quality, program-relevant, applied learning experiences
  • Intentional and sustained student engagement
  • Evidence-based, high-impact teaching practices across modalities
  • Institution-wide commitment to equity-minded, asset-based teaching improvement
  • Quality assessment of program learning outcomes that lead to credentials, further education, and/or gainful employment


Additionally, because the ensure students are learning component is the “last stop” in the framework before student completion, a more robust understanding of how this component is being implemented and monitored in the field can illuminate connections (or opportunities to strengthen connections) between the guided pathways framework and both near and long-term outcomes including first-year credit accumulation, first-year gateway course completion, student transfer or graduation, graduate education, employment, earnings, earnings threshold, and loan repayment. Currently, available information about this component is relatively limited. Additionally, most institutions seem to start guided pathways implementation around the define a pathway component, the get on a pathway component, and the stay on a pathway component.

Center staff, along with Pathways Collaborative Partners and other field experts, will focus on developing a common understanding of and resources for ensuring students are learning while on their path to completing a credential, which will directly impact the institutions and individuals using the framework.

In collaboration with Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), the Center will work with 20 community colleges (to be selected) to build institutional capacity and develop resources that will help all institutions strengthen their efforts to ensure students are learning as part of the guided pathways framework for student success.

Final tools, assets, and resources will include a national report and a web toolkit, which will be a searchable web resource that includes case studies (vignettes) of faculty teaching practices and video of faculty describing what they are doing in the classroom to ensure students are learning.