2009 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., April 21, 2009
HUB Ballroom

Session Description



Fostering the Academic Success of Underrepresented Minority Students at UW-Seattle

Emile Pitre, Sherira Fernandes, and Niki Iglesias (Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity, Assessment Unit)

This session explores disparities in the academic performance of underrepresented minority (URM) students and suggests classroom and departmental strategies for improving their performance.

Over the past 10 years, assessment of student outcomes in the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity has focused on attrition rates, graduation rates, and GPA’s of UW - Seattle undergraduate students in an attempt to understand both progress and disparities in achievement across different ethnic groups. While the racial gap in achievement is narrowing, our data suggests that there are still significant disparities in student outcomes. For example, recent data show that in ten courses that serve as prerequisites to competitive majors, the mean difference in GPA for URM students was between 0.5 and 0.7 grade points lower than for majority students. In 30 other courses required for acceptance into the University’s most competitive majors the mean difference in GPA for URM students ranged between 0.3 and 0.4 grade points lower than that of majority students. These students were nonetheless competitive at entry to UW as freshmen.

Research on best practices suggests that there are classroom strategies that contribute to the academic success of URM students, as well as those that can hinder success. In this presentation we aim to raise awareness of these disparities and suggest classroom and departmental strategies to improve academic success for underrepresented minority students. By sharing this research, we hope to increase interest in departments across the UW in partnering with OMAD to achieve equitable performance outcomes with all students.


Index of Symposium Presenters