ERIC Identifier: ED288577
Publication Date: 1983-06-00
Author: Kintzer, Frederick C.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse
for Junior Colleges Los Angeles CA.
The Multidimensional Problem of Articulation and Transfer. ERIC
Transfer (the movement of students and of their academic credits from one
school to another) and articulation (services for the transfer student) are
multidimensional community college phenomena. While problems related to standard
course and credit transfer are minimal, and the adaptability of lower division
work toward upper division requirements is much improved, community colleges
must now give concerted effort to solving problems related to
extra-institutional or experiential learning, external or distance education,
international education (foreign students), and transfer relations with area
vocational schools and postsecondary proprietary institutions. Indeed, transfer
and articulation can no longer be thought of solely in terms of the linear
progression of community college students to four-year institutions.
WHO ARE TODAY'S TRANSFER STUDENTS?
definitions and counting procedures vary considerably among institutions and
states, several categories of transfer students can be roughly identified. These
diverse student types and the special problems they pose are discussed below.
Articulated Vertical Transfers, those who move in regular sequence from high
school to community college to the university, are the most visible community
college transfer students. Indeed, both interinstitutional and statewide
articulation agreements are geared to these traditionally-aged "regulars." With
the acceptance of associate degrees as transfer currency, attention now needs to
be turned to the other two types of "regulars:" fully-enrolled students who
transfer prior to associate degree completion and those seeking to transfer
occasional courses. Policies regarding these types of transfer students are not
consistent or uniform.
The reverse transfers, those who move from a four-to a two-year college,
became increasingly visible in the 1970's. In California, for example, Kissler
(1980) found that 10,000 students entered the California Community Colleges from
the university system in Fall 1979. Despite the recognition of their numbers,
however, there has been a critical lack of attention given the "drop-downs" once
they are enrolled. Few colleges provide re-orientation, personal counseling, and
special career advising. In addition, advanced standing credit is rarely
provided for the baccalaureate degree holder who turns to a community college
for training in a more salable career area. Clearly, more research is needed to
determine the characteristics and aspirations of reverse transfers. The study by
Slark (1982), which examines the educational interests and matriculation
patterns of these students at Santa Ana College (CA), is a step in the right
The vocational transfer, one who moves to a senior institution as a
career/occupational degree candidate, has received considerable attention of
late, partially because of the expansion of occupationally oriented curricula at
senior institutions. While few statewide pacts carry policies on vocational
education transfer, interinstitutional agreements are spreading rapidly. The
most popular arrangement is a joint degree program between one or more community
colleges and a university. Ohio institutions, for example, have long practiced
an "upside down" plan under which the vocational segment of the baccalaureate
program is handled by the university, and the general education portion is
handled by the community college. Another collaborative style now emerging
combines the efforts of community colleges with nearby industries or proprietary
schools. Under the common market philosophy at John Wood Community College (IL),
for example, vocational students take math and English courses at the college,
while training in electronics technology takes place at the Broadcast products
division of the Harris Corporation.
The lateral transfers, i.e., those who transfer from one community college to
another, make up what is perhaps the largest and least accommodated group of
transfer students. Indeed, given the lack of attention paid to these students,
it may in some instances be harder to move between two-year colleges than it is
to move from the two-year college to the university. Additional work in this
area is clearly needed.
The international (foreign) transfer adds a most difficult dimension to
articulation and transfer. Because many of these students matriculate without
sufficient communications skills, colleges are beginning to recognize the need
to provide foreign students with comprehensive articulation services including
orientation, testing, counseling, and language instruction. Faced also with the
problem of evaluating foreign credentials for academic credit, colleges are
beginning to use the services of private agencies that specialize in
international education credit evaluation and transfer. To date, however,
comprehensive services to foreign students are provided at only a few community
One final category, nontraditional transfers, includes a variety of students:
the adult who returns after years of "stopping out," the applicant who has
received earlier training at a proprietary school, and applicants from
educational programs in industry or government. Policies on extrainstitutional
or experiential learning are difficult to negotiate, because faculties must
reach an agreement as to (1) exactly what extracollegiate learning will be
counted toward the award of academic credit, and (2) how this learning can be
properly documented. Assistance in these matters can be found in two
publications of the American Council on Education: The National Guide to Credit
Recommendations for Noncollegiate Courses, 1979, and the 1980 Guide to the
Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services, 1980. In addition,
several ERIC documents detail procedures used by community colleges in
documenting experiential learning.
WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE DIVERSE TRANSFER STUDENT
POPULATION FOR EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH AND POLICY?
Clearly, transfer and articulation
are complex phenomena involving a variety of students moving between traditional
and nontraditional segments of postsecondary education: Valid
articulation/transfer agreements will depend on further research into the
development of uniform identification and counting systems that can be used by
all institutions in identifying and tracking various types of transfer students.
In addition, we must clarify the role of nontraditional postsecondary education,
and then establish viable relationships between traditional institutions and the
noncollegiate organizations now serving large numbers of adult students. While
some may stay on the conservative side, others will push to extend programs and
services for categories of students heretofore neglected.
Bragg, A.K. Follow-Up Study of Students Transferring from Illinois Two-Year
Colleges to Illinois Senior Institutions in Fall 1979. Report 1:
Mobility Patterns and Pre-Transfer Characteristics. Springfield, IL:
Illinois Community College Board, 1982. 16p. (ED 220 164) College Transfer
Guidelines. Jefferson City, MO: Missouri State Department
of Higher Education, 1980. 21 p. (ED 223 281) Community College/University
Articulation Policy. Reno, NV: Nevada University
System, 1982. 8p. (ED 221 242) Conroy, D.E. Articulation between Two and
Four-Year Institutions. Paper
presented at the National Conference on Remedial and Developmental
Mathematics in College: Issues and Innovations, New York, NY, April
9-11, 1981. 8 p. (ED 201 365) Dallas, Susan (Ed.) Improving Curriculum by
Working with High Schools. CSCC
Bulletin, Issue 3. Los Angeles: Center for the Study of Community
Colleges, 1982. 6 p. (ED 219 117) Farland, R., and Cruz, J. Identifying and
Assisting Potential Transfer
Students. Sacramento: Office of the Chancellor, California Community
Colleges, 1982. 53 p. (ED 220 162) Fitzpatrick, M.F.J., Sister. The Problem
of Nursing Education: Articulation.
Gwynedd Valley, PA: Gwynedd-Mercy College, 1981. 69 p. (ED 211 157)
Identifying and Assisting Transfer Students: Survey of Current Policies and
Practices. California Community Colleges. Sacramento: Office of the
Chancellor, California Community Colleges, 1982. Kintzer, F.C. (Ed.).
Improving Articulation and Transfer Relationships.
New Directions for Community Colleges, Number 39. Los Angeles: ERIC
Clearinghouse for Junior Colleges, 1982. 117 p. (ED 220 146) Kissler, G.R.
Trends Affecting Undergraduate Education in the University of
California. Paper presented at the Board of Regents of the University
of California, Committee on Educational Policy, October 16, 1980. 22p.
(ED 194 138) Knoell, D.M. California College-Going Rates: 1981 Update.
California State Postsecondary Education Commission, 1982. 66 p.
(ED 223 292) Luna, P.R. Community Colleges and Partnerships: Moving Beyond
the 1980's. Paper presented at the Annual Community College Research
Conference, Asilomar, CA, March 26, 1981. 19p. (ED 202 494) Moscowitz, J.E.,
and Eveslage, S.A. Project for the Evaluation of
Noncollegiate Sponsored Instruction. Final Report. Carbondale, IL:
University of southern Illinois, School of Technical Careers, 1980.
125 p. (ED 213 449) Plan for Obtaining Community College Transfer Student
California State Postsecondary Education Commission, 1980. 56 p. (ED
223 279) Renkiewicz, N.K., and others. The Reverse Transfer Student: An
Population. Preliminary Draft. Field Review Edition. Sacramento: Los
Rios Community College District, 1982. Slark, J. Reverse Transfer Student
Study. Santa Ana, CA: Santa Ana College,
1982. 27 p. (ED 221 248) Stewart, B., and Others. Trade and Industry
Articulation Project: Final
Report, 1981-82. Norwalk, CA: Cerritos Community College, 1982.
131 p. (ED 217 951) Strain, J.A. Development of an Articulation Handbook. El
Dorado, KS: Butler
County Community College, 1982. 14 p. (ED 215 729) Student Guide for
Documenting Experiential Learning: Accounting. Fountain
Valley, CA: Coastline Community College, 1979. 52 p. (ED 176 836) Student
Guide for Documenting Experiential Learning: Administrative Secretary.
Fountain Valley, CA: Coastline Community College, 1979. 30 p. (ED
176 837) Student Guide for Documenting Experiential Learning: Business
Marketing. Fountain Valley, CA: Coastline Community College, 1979.
50 p. (ED 176 834) Student Guide for Documenting Experiential Learning:
General Office Practice.
Fountain Valley, CA: Coastline Community College, 1979. 36 p. (ED
176 835) Student Guide for Documenting Experiential Learning: Personnel
Fountain Valley, CA: Coastline Community College, 1979. 66 p. (ED
176 838) Student Guide for Documenting Experiential Learning: Sales and
Management. Fountain Valley, CA: Coastline Community College, 1979.
32 p. (ED 176 839) Student Guide for Documenting Experiential Learning:
Travel Agency Operation.
Fountain Valley, CA: Coastline Community College, 1979. 80 p. (ED
176 840) A Student Guide to Receiving Credit for Lifelong Learning, Volume 1.
OH: Sinclair Community College, 1980. 95 p. (ED 196 479)