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Upper Level Credit in the BC Transfer System

Throughout the history of published articulations in the BC Transfer Guide, articulations have been predominantly grounded in lower level courses.  Lower level courses are defined as courses offered at either the first or second year of university study.  Upper level courses are defined as courses offered at the third year of university study or higher.  There are a number of contributing factors to the high volume of lower level articulation.  Residency requirements, whereby students are required to complete a specified percentage of study at  their graduating institution, often in the final two years of study; the higher degree of specialization of upper level courses; and the lower rates of student mobility of upper level transfer students have all been cited as a rationale for limiting articulation to lower level courses.  The changing mandates of institutions have led to a greater number of degree programs available, which has in turn led to a greater variety of upper level courses available to transfer students.  In response to these changes, BCCAT informed the BC Transfer System in 2006 that upper level articulations would be published in the BC Transfer Guide, provided institutions were willing to enter into such arrangements.

Despite this position, awareness about the rates of upper level articulation remains limited.  Articulation committees routinely ask whether upper level articulation is permitted, and if so, which institutions are open to receiving upper level requests.  Some institutions have expressed concerns not only about the resource implications of upper level articulation, but about whether an increase in articulation activity is warranted in light of actual student mobility patterns.

As a result of these and other questions, BCCAT decided to conduct a review of upper level articulation in the BC Transfer System for the following purposes:

  1. Identify any system-wide trends with regards to upper level articulation.

  2. Identify any challenges or opportunities represented by upper level articulation.

  3. Make recommendations with regard to upper level articulation practice and policy within the BC Transfer System.

The analysis of upper level articulation within the BC Transfer System highlighted a number of findings that may inform BCCAT’s work within the BC Transfer System.  The rates of upper level articulation have remained stable over the years, and BCCAT continues to advocate that articulation activities be focussed on areas that are supported by actual student mobility patterns.  The study suggests that a lack of clarity on BC Transfer System upper level articulation policies may be having an impact on the way upper level courses are articulated.  In addition, the transfer student experience may be compromised by inconsistent awarding of lower and upper level credit.  The recommendations seek to clarify upper level articulation policies, and to establish guidelines that can be added to the best practices of articulation within the BC Transfer System.

To access the full report, please visit: Upper Level Credit in the BC Transfer System.