'Community college passport' program hopes to improve transfer outcomes
- Several states have created an initiative to help community college students transfer into four-year institutions without losing credits or having to repeat courses.
- Underwritten by several nonprofit organizations and created by professors and academic executives across 16 states, the consortium creates a set of standards for students to meet in areas of communication, sciences, critical thinking and humanities that are transferrable to participating schools.
- Some skeptics say the proficiency-based model of passing the courses does not allow institutions to know if a student has mastered a subject. Former Association of American Colleges and Universities President Carol Gary Schneider told Inside Higher Ed, the project is “trying to split the difference between speedy, unimpeded transfer and demonstrated student achievement of learning outcomes. But the current plan is long on the first goal and weak on the second.”
Universities walk a fine line between the academic mission of getting students admitted, prepared and credentialed to hold a career and the business mission of providing the service of education to paying customers. For as much as the public hopes colleges are intimately concerned with the former, the latter is also an essential part of the industry of education, which results in partnerships like these.
Ultimately, it is up to faculty to prove to administrators that programs like these can work. Much in the way that MOOCs were supposed to revolutionize education but have yet to deliver on the sweeping promises, community college transfer has not yielded booming results in four-year degree completion. The focus for four-year academic leadership remains the ability to effectively screen incoming student talent and to use resources in helping lesser-prepared students in meeting their potential.
- Inside Higher Ed Passport for transfer