Transfer students make up more than half of the student body at BC, and many these students are working toward an Associate in Arts and Sciences (AAS) degree.
At BC, an AAS degree is covered by Washington’s Intercollege Relations Commission’s (ICRC) Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA).
According to the BC Catalog, “the transfer agreements ensure that a student who completes a transfer degree at a public community college in the State of Washington will have satisfied the lower division general education requirements at various baccalaureate institutions. Students who earn a transfer degree will generally have junior level standing, but they must still meet the admission and pre-major requirements of the baccalaureate institution and major program.”
In layman’s terms, this basically means that some four-year universities in Washington will automatically accept students who have completed an associate degree at the community college level as long as the student has met the university’s entrance requirements and minimum GPA.
Recently, there has been a state-wide discussion concerning changes to the AAS-DTA in the areas of communication skills and math.
The ICRC felt that the language expressed in the AAS-DTA was inconsistent with the practices at many of the community and technical colleges in Washington. After recognizing these inconsistencies, the ICRC brought the matter to the attention of the Joint Access Oversight Group (JAOG).
According to the Washington State Board for Community and Technical College website, the JAOG “is a standing committee that meets about six times a year with representatives from the public and independent academic degree-granting institutions and the [Higher Education Coordinating Board] HECB.”
JAOG recommended changes in the communication skills and math portions of the DTA In response to ICRC’s concerns.
The DTA currently states that the basic requirements in communication skills “must include at least two courses in English composition, which total to at least six credits. Remaining credits, if any, may be an additional composition course or designated writing courses or courses in basic speaking skills (e.g., speech, rhetoric, or debate).”
These requirements were written at a time when colleges offered three-credit composition courses. In the past, students would take two composition classes to complete the minimum of six credits.
However, for the past ten years, schools in Washington have offered ENGL& 101 English Composition I and ENGL& 102 Composition II as five-credit courses.
In an effort to keep the language of the DTA consistent with the current course offerings, the JAOG has recommended that the language in the DTA be changed to a basic requirement of “two five (5) credit courses in English composition.”
Similarly, in recent years, the language in the Quantitative/Symbolic Reasoning (QSR) Skills portion of the DTA has become inconsistent with the classes currently offered by community and technical colleges and has created concern for some baccalaureate institutions.
The DTA now refers to an “intermediate algebra proficiency” requirement for all students seeking their AAS degree.
To help their students meet the proficiency, some community and technical colleges have developed alternative routes that prepare students for other QSR courses.
Four-year institutions now feel that because of these alternative routes or courses, intermediate algebra proficiency is no longer consistent throughout the community and technical colleges across the state, and that a change to the language of the DTA is necessary.
To help address these concerns, the JAOG recommended that the reference to “intermediate algebra proficiency” be removed from the DTA completely and replaced with a five-credit college level math course intended for transfer. A college level course is a course numbered above the 100 level.
It is important to note that none of the recommended changes to the DTA have been implemented yet, and the state will collect feedback from community and technical colleges until March 2010.
A session to learn more about the changes proposed by the JAOG will be held on November 3 from 2 p.m. until 4:15 p.m. in room D126-P.
Any changes that are adopted will be put into effect no later than the 2011-2012 college catalogs.
Students seeking AAS degrees should be aware of any proposed changes to the DTA.