Sunday, January 24, 2016
What Do You Advise Amy to Take?
I would advise Amy to contact her state legislators. (This politics is local.) That said, a congressman might be able to sway some additional legislators or build in incentives for them to fix the state part of the equation. For example, the AA transfer part is relatively seamless in my state due to legislation and regulation of all state universities and community colleges. (A package of courses must be accepted in lieu of the package at each school and even course substitutions are mandated at the CC level.) In addition, the classification of pre-req courses as upper or lower division is out of the control of state universities.
That said, there are still challenges fitting the package together where you must have a target institution in mind for your specific major, particularly in the social sciences (IME). And private schools will only do what they must do, which isn't much unless forced by competition. The larger density of private colleges in the NE must make this ten times worse where you are. Hardly any of our CC students plan to transfer to a private college.
As for Amy:
She needs two maths at my college so start with pre-calc. If that goes OK, take calculus and then statistics as an elective. If not, take statistics next and change your plans. We also allow two histories, so take one of each. Then find a diversity course that includes service learning in its catalog description unless you have a way to do service via transcript annotation. We have lots of social science classes that meet a diversity requirement, and you probably do as well. Finally, take the foreign language.
CCPhysicist is smart with the advice to start with precalc, whatever else she takes. That is going to set the student up on the road to success with calculus if needed.
But there are various things being done to simplify transfer: increased number of articulation agreements, some standardized courses so that everyone can articulate to the standard, rather than having to do pairwise articulation, IGETC (Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum)—which is great for social sciences and humanities, but a disaster for STEM transfers, …
Incidentally, there are other reasons than transfer prejudice that drive course-level inflation: teaching resources are often allocated internally based on the level of a course, with upper-division courses getting more resources than lower-division ones. This builds in an inherent pressure to inflate course level whenever you can get away with it.
As someone who has made this decision a decent number of times, I've never once thought that, never been told to think that, and never heard it discussed by others making that decision. But, that's just my experience, maybe there is some sort of data showing that you're claim is closer to the norm?
His data might just be anecdotal. Happens to me all the time in New England, in my specialized CC program in a scientific discipline. All.the.time. despite the fact that the students come back to me and tell me that they did fine in the class they were forced to repeat at 4 year school because it was essentially the same course that they had taken and done well in at my CC. The "free electives" are pretty much useless, because in some disciplines, there is not much room for these electives.
I also have a friend, in another New England state, who teaches English at a CC. She told me the same thing happens to her.
But, the claim is that the receiving department is rejecting your classes to protect their teaching loads. Do you have evidence of the receiving department's internal discussions to support the claim? This claim can't be supported by asking CC faculty what happens to their credits!
*I get it, it's hugely frustrating to you and your students. When I worked at a CC course articulation was a huge issue, of course, but we sent 95%+ of our vertical transfers to the same 3 institutions, and, there were some helpful state laws enforcing articulation if specific criteria were met, so it was less of an issue than it was for colleagues working in other states.
*But! DD's claim is implying that there's nefarious motives on the part of 4-year college faculty and administrators. To support this, the onus is on those making such a claim to provide evidence from said college faculty and administrators.
The appropriate claim to make, from the CC side, is, "We design classes that we believe should transfer in as courses in the major. We don't know why the receiving department doesn't take them, but it's really frustrating to us and we've done everything we can to make them as close to the intended courses as we can."
>>One of DD's big goals in writing this blog is to help faculty see the administrator perspective and the kinds of thinking that go on--so that we can understand the issues that they confront and that they're doing the best that they can with limited information, competing goals, and insufficient resources. So that we, the faculty, don't demonize them or caricature them. I find DD's repetition of this claim so troubling because it's basically doing just that.
My classes are equivalent; we teach specific lab skills that the four year school also teaches--the 4 year school which I'm thinking of eventually believed us after we sent multiple students to them who could do the work, and they rectified the situation for future students. It's too bad that the first students had to be guinea pigs, though, and repeat material that they had already mastered at the community college.
And it wasn't just my students. I mentioned a friend, in another state, in a completely different discipline, who has told me that the same thing has happened to her students.
You obviously don't know me, but at least in my experience, CC credits being rejected as counting for the major has happened when the students have tried to transfer them. It might not be universal, but Dean Dad has mentioned it before and I've experienced it with my own students, for whatever reason.
The talk of credit loss starts around page 14, and their calculations state that only 58% of transfers in their national sample are able to bring all or almost all of their credits with them.
That said, my own take on the issue is that it is more about elitism than greed. I won't go into details, but lets just say that some of our faculty have also taught at a nearby university. Somehow the exact same course is more reputable when taught to hundreds in a giant lecture hall than when taught in a normal classroom. One almost exploded when someone made an ignorant comment about us without knowing where that prof normally worked.
More amusingly, I've also seen it from students who think they are slumming when they take a class at our CC -- until they take the first exam.
--I'm simply asking DD to stop asserting that the reasons it's happening is a desire to protect FTEs at the 4-years.
He can write:
--Our students experience credit loss, we don't think they should, we don't get satisfactory answers about why. It's a huge problem for students.
Tim--Got you. I have no idea the reason, although I can certainly speculate. I agree that it would be difficult to find out why. In our case, we had to prove ourselves, so I'm guessing they doubted the rigor of the courses.
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