Throughout the field of higher education, people are paying more and more attention to improving the experience and success of transfer students. We must do better by establishing fair higher education pathways, meaningful certificates, and high-value employment fields between two-year and four-year institutions. The establishment of these pathways is essential to ensure that learners, regardless of background, can find pathways that suit their desires and talents.
But it’s not just about approach.
As institutions begin to construct a macro path, the credit transfer policy in the path can be resolved. This will help many students. However, if the learner drifts or enters from outside the path, the credit is likely to be assessed under a completely different set of strategies. In other words, as long as you stay on the path, the transfer process will work. Falling down, you may be surprised by your results. Since nearly 40% of higher education learners hold some kind of transfer credits, many people go outside the prescribed pathways.
2021 National Credit Transfer and Grant Working Group The report makes six recommendations For sending and receiving institutions, each institution aims to shorten the time to obtain a degree, limit the financial burden of students, and ultimately minimize the long-standing fairness gap. Of these six, four are embedded in the administrative structure and academic culture of individual higher education institutions.
- Regulate and prioritize transfer students, recognize the various types of transfer credits they may receive, and make them part of the institutional culture;
- Improve the transparency of transfer credit policies and procedures;
- Review and update policies to remove unnecessary transfer barriers and reduce credit losses; and
- Use technology to ensure the accurate and fair review and application of transfer credit.
On the surface, these suggestions seem obvious; if we focus on the success of transfer students and increase the fairness of access to meaningful certificates, certainly We should do these things. However, if you look at it on the surface, you will find that policies and practices are inconsistent with the ultimate goal. Like many well-intentioned good ideas, the above suggestions are easier said than done. Anyone who has worked in student admissions or academic services will understand that transfer policies are often complicated and even opaque to institutional staff. Let alone learners.
The integration of academic and administrative policies and practices becomes a complex matrix, including who, what, when, where and why.
In fact, transfers are made across departments-admissions office, archives office, transfer office (if it exists), consulting office, and multiple academic departments. In addition, no two institutions have exactly the same transfer process structure. Although in most cases, students discuss their situation with many competent professionals before enrollment, students will not know about the transfer four to six weeks after enrollment. The final result of the evaluation. It’s already started.
Why?Because Skilled transfer assessor The gap between administrative and academic policies must be effectively bridged, one unique student case at a time. When faced with any transfer scenario, they must ask various questions-who granted the credit in the first place? For institution-based credit, is quality assurance or certification regional, national, or professional? When is credit granted? At what stage of the learner’s educational journey was it obtained? Is it a dual admission program (does the institution accept dual admissions)? Is it part of a completed degree? What were the learners doing at the time? Is it a high score or a low score? Is it therapeutic? profession? Does it belong to the discipline provided by the institution? Is credit part of a larger institutional convergence agreement or pathway?
Each of these issues will have an impact on the evaluation. Courses that look similar on the transcript may have different answers-creating a very different credit transfer scenario for students.
For each course, evaluators must also determine whether they can directly grant course equivalence. This is the gold standard and can provide students with the most effective degree time. A new set of questions must be answered: Is this consistent with the convergence agreement? If not, what institutional precedents exist? Has the institution previously awarded credits for these courses? What discipline does it belong to? Is it a high score or a low score? Does the office have the right to perform equivalent treatment of the coursework of the upper and lower grades in the school or college of the university? What about the department-does the chairperson of the department allow staff to perform equivalent work, or do they require approval? Do they need course descriptions and syllabus to make decisions?
The balance between administratively and academically equivalent decisions varies from institution to institution or even the academic department within a single institution.
Decisions that must be made by the department will inevitably increase the time of the process. In addition, the above question set applies to credits from accredited institutions-but transfer credits come in many forms and come from a variety of sources. In addition to the credits granted by community colleges and four-year institutions, there are additional institutional forms: credits obtained through examinations, advanced or prior learning credits recorded through various methods (AP, ACE, CLEP, DANTES, Edexcel, GAC), IB , To name a few), military credits, professional and technical credits-this list is increasing every day. We will not discuss the upward trend of employment-based certificates and alternative digital certificates provided by companies and universities. As an industry, we have only just begun to solve these problems.
You cannot establish a fair path through manual, inconsistent policies.
The correct application of technical solutions can increase the speed, accuracy, consistency and transparency of the credit peering process. Solutions such as electronic data interchange have existed for decades, but have not been widely adopted. A variety of emerging technological innovations can be obtained through internal programming or third-party solutions. These innovations allow learners to receive credit assessments before enrollment and integrate with management systems that promote consulting and degree audits.Newer models, such as Comprehensive learning record, Can provide the key to learning results, and may further provide machine-readable data to speed up the transmission speed.Many of these emerging technologies and use cases will be AACRAO Virtual Transfer Summit This fall.
In the final analysis, fair transfers must be resolved by checking for inconsistencies and manually applied institutional policies to achieve a more consistent and fair process. Thoughtful application of technology can improve the transparency of complex internal academic and administrative policies, which is conducive to continuing students and students about to transfer. A transparent understanding of the value and applicability of external learning can provide all students with a more effective way to pursue a degree.
Melanie Gottlieb is the interim executive director of AACRAO, a professional development association dedicated to Re-imagine institutional transfer practices To better serve students.