Pass/fail grades may help students during the COVID-19 crisis, but could cost them later
JON MARCUS, The Hechinger Report, Aired on PBS New Hour, Apr 7, 2020 6:02 PM EDT
As with everything else in Americans’ day-to-day lives, the COVID-19 pandemic may significantly affect the transferability of academic credits when students transfer to new institution. A story produced by the Hechinger Report and aired on the PBS News Hour describes how colleges and universities moved to a pass/fair grading system as schools closed doors and began holding classes remotely. But the transfer of academic credits is already at a low rate, and courses graded simply “pass” may not transfer at all. This presents a serious problem for graduate-school bound students who hope to enroll in competitive law, medical and business programs. In addition, thousands of students that have relocated to their home states will likely transfer to their local institutions to complete their degree programs – making credit transfer all the more essential.
Helping Students Avoid Problems with the ‘The Asterisk Semester’
Podcast from Inside Higher Ed [25 minutes]
This podcast is hosted by Paul Fain and features Lila Burke, reporter at IAG; Anne M. Kress, president, Northern Virginia Community College; and Marie Lynn Miranda, incoming provost of the University of Notre Dame, who is spearheading an effort to persuade medical schools to accept pass/fail grades for incoming students (see, https://provost.nd.edu/news/call-to-action/). Colleges and universities have switched to pass/fail grades in the wake of the pandemic and shut-down. Participants discuss the uncertainties faced by students, the challenges of the pass/fail grading system, and how college leaders can and should avoid disruption for students that transfer.
College groups release joint guidelines for accepting credit during coronavirus
By MADELINE ST. AMOUR, April 16, 2020, INSIDE HIGHER ED
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, six major higher education groups have issued a set of principles for accepting academic credit. Drafted by the American Council on Education and signed by leaders of groups representing public, private nonprofit and community colleges, the statement highlights eight practices institutions should follow to best help students navigate the transfer of credit process. Among the recommendations: institutional practices and policies around transfer should be holistic and transparent, institutional decision-making should be swift and definitive, and institutions should recognize the burden students are under during this time of dislocation and uncertainty. Link to full article here.
Creating Seamless Credit Transfer: A Parallel Higher Education System to Support American through and beyond by Recession
By MICHAEL B. HORN AND RICHARD PRICE, Christensen Institute, April 2020
The authors of this new report from the Christensen Institute propose the creation of a parallel higher education system in which third-party credentialing entities would “validate industry-valued skills” acquired and demonstrated by students. Using stimulus funds, this solution to the nation’s higher education credit transfer challenge would move away from institutions and learning equivalency and focus on the accumulation of knowledge and skills and foster seamless transfer without credit loss. The authors present an argument for their proposal based on the decades-long problems in credit transfer as well as the attempt at records transfer and integration in the medical industry ten years ago.
Download the PDF report at: https://www.christenseninstitute.org/publications/credit-transfer/
Episode Seven: Demystifying the College Transfer Process: What Students and Families Need to Know
National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), Podcast [26 minutes]
This episode is part of the College Admissions Decoded podcast series, which features NACAC member-experts in conversations that speak directly to parents, families, and the general public to help demystify the college admission process.
This podcast offers tips to potential transfer students and explores ways to make the transfer process between community colleges and four-year schools more seamless.
Participants include Janet Marling, executive director of the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students, and Dayna Bradstreet, senior associate director of admission at Simmons University in Boston.
As today’s college students are increasingly mobile, the transfer process can be difficult because of problems obtaining credit for previous coursework, a lack of adequate academic counseling, troubles obtaining financial aid, and more. And transfer students themselves are increasingly diverse, including military students, older students returning to college after a break, and students hoping to transfer credits from more than one institution. The podcast participants urge admissions counselors to be well informed about credit transfer and pathways in order to communicate accurate information to transfer students. The most important recommendation is for transfer students to be their own best advocate. This podcast provides ways to do that.
Improving the Transfer Handoff: The critical effort to help college students get a four-year degree
By KATHERINE MANGAN, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2020
Focusing on the most common form of transfer — from two-year to four-year colleges—this report analyzes which approaches are working for successful student transfer and provides practical advice on how to eliminate the barriers standing in students’ way. The author discusses why transfer success is so critical, and presents five case studies that illustrate how two- and four-year institutions can collaborate to help transfer students. The report also and also offers a commentary on why community colleges are good for students: they are providing an open door, reaching diverse groups, and fulfilling the nation’s goals.
The Chronicle of Higher Education Idea Lab, Colleges Solving Problems, 2019
This collection of articles showcases successful efforts to deal with the myriad problems of student transfer and includes essays about the urgency faced by colleges and universities to improve the transfer experience. The solutions are well known: transparency, academic guidance, better orientation for older and/or returning students, and a simplified process.