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Assessment

Articulation requests are generally assessed by faculty members in the academic department most closely aligned with the content or subject of the course for which transfer credit is being requested.

It is recommended that assessors have adequate knowledge of the relevant discipline, subject content, and institutional policies regarding the awarding of transfer credit in order to be able to make an informed decision. It is also important for an assessor to understand where or how to refer the transfer credit request elsewhere, if they feel they do not have the appropriate expertise to review the request.

Assessors should also be made aware of the institution's process for resolving disputes over transfer credit decisions, and the role of the assessor in that process.

The assessor should have access, for advice and guidance, to

  • an experienced department head, or academic dean;

  • the institution's Institutional Contact Person (ICP); and,

  • the staff member who facilitates assessment of transfer credit requests.

It is also recommended that faculty members involved in transfer credit assessment regularly attend provincial articulation committee meetings. These meetings foster better understanding of other institutions and their courses, and establish the inter-institutional contacts vital to the success of the articulation process.

Occasionally, a large volume of assessments must be completed urgently, often in the summer months when faculty assessors are less available.  Additionally, in some departments within some institutions, staff rather than faculty assess the majority of student-specific transfer credit assessments, and also facilitate the evaluation of articulation requests. Hence, responsibility for transfer credit assessments may depend more on institutional culture or practices rather than on strictly academic principles.

It is recommended that requests for assessment be directed to qualified faculty assessors as a regular practice, and that assessments only be made by other individuals in emergency situations. Assessors making assessments in subjects or disciplines outside their own areas of expertise should, whenever possible, consult records of previous assessments involving similar courses, programs, or institutions, to ensure that their decisions do not set a precedent which could be problematic for the relevant department or program in the future. It is also important, if assessments are being made in emergency situations, that students not be given expectations of receiving credit, since these could also be problematic if a faculty assessor's opinion on the appropriate credit award differs from other assessors' opinions.

Transfer Credit for Courses Outside the Institution's Curriculum

A receiving institution's transfer credit policy should address whether and what type of transfer credit should be granted if the content of the course for which articulation is requested does not match any subjects or topics offered by the institution. For example, a receiving institution might be asked to articulate another institution's course on Maritime Law, but the receiving institution may not have any courses in this subject or discipline.

As recommended in How to Articulateassessing this type of transfer credit request should involve determining whether the nature or content of the course merits transfer credit, and obtaining an academic assessment of whether an award of transfer credit is appropriate. This process might best be carried out under the authority of an academic dean or the ICP. If administrative staff are asked to assess the transfer credit request (for example, when faculty assessors are not available), the institution should have clear criteria on which to base decisions in these circumstances.

In some situations, it may not be clear which department, program, or discipline should assess a course for which transfer credit is being requested. It is recommended that faculty assessors in one discipline or program not be permitted to award transfer credit in another discipline or program; instead, the transfer credit request should be redirected to the other discipline or program for their assessment. An academic dean could also be asked to make a determination of which discipline or program is the appropriate assessor, or to assess the request themselves if there is no one discipline that clearly matches the course involved in the request.

Recommendations for Assessing Transfer Credit Requests

  • Establish policy and clear role responsibilities to guide the transfer articulation process within the institution

  • Direct articulation requests to faculty members for assessment, except in exceptional circumstances

  • Ensure that faculty members assessing articulation requests have appropriate qualifications to make an informed judgment

  • Ensure that staff members assessing articulation requests have clear criteria to guide their decisions

  • Ensure that faculty members involved in assessment attend articulation committee meetings

  • Have a pre-defined process for assessing transfer credit requests involving courses outside the institution's curriculum