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Managing Articulation Requests

One of the many benefits of BCCAT's TCES is the ability to examine the volume of articulation requests that are sent and received.  You can find detailed information on articulation volume in the appendix of the Sender's Guide.

The factors that are likely to influence the volume of requests received are:

  • Breadth of curriculum (a broad curriculum at a receiving institution is likely to generate more transfer credit; requests than a narrower curriculum);

  • Range and nature of  programs offered at the receiving institution;

  • Receiving institution's geographical proximity to sending institutions; and/or,

  • Receiving institution being included in "select all" function of the TCES

Regardless of the annual volume of requests received, a large institution with a diverse applicant pool will process many more (student-specific) transfer credit evaluations than are represented in the data collected by BCCAT. A study of articulation costs (Jarvis, 2004) refers to these student-specific requests as 'non-articulated transfers' and reports that one institution "estimated the cost ...to be three and a half times that of transferring an articulated course". The study does not explain the basis for this cost estimate. However, non-articulated transfer requests are generally more difficult to evaluate because of:

  • no standardization of course outlines

  • different pedagogies

  • translations from various languages

  • possible difficulties in communicating with the course owner/author or her/his institution

Triangulation

When BC's university colleges transitioned from being only sending institutions to being both sending and receiving institutions, they had to decide whether to evaluate a large volume of lower-level courses offered by other sending institutions. At that time, the university colleges often had degree programs offered in affiliation with a university. Thus, transfer agreements already established by that university was easily used as the basis for a triangulation process. For example, many of the Arts degree programs at UFV began as degree programs affiliated with SFU. Hence, it was natural for UFV to use SFU's transfer agreements to evaluate transfer credit requests from other institutions, when those requests involved courses that had already been articulated by SFU. Maintaining consistent academic standards for these university colleges was easier when they relied on the articulations already established by their affiliated universities.

Degree programs offered by most BC post-secondary institutions now are not usually affiliated with another institution. However, if a receiving institution did not previously receive large numbers of articulation requests, a triangulation process using established articulation agreements could still be the most expedient way to evaluate large numbers of transfer articulation agreements. A new receiving institution faced with large numbers of articulation requests could also prioritize those requests based on criteria such as:

  • the size of the sending institution;

  • existing (or anticipated) student flows from the sending institution;

  • whether there is a close match of curriculum between the sending and receiving institutions; and/or,

  • the credentials offered by the sending institution

If students enter a receiving institution with unarticulated courses, articulation evaluations could be initiated relatively quickly if the unarticulated courses were from a BC Transfer System member institution and had been taken recently. The ICP could use TCES to initiate such an evaluation.

A new feature of the TCES allows receivers to request course outlines from other BC Transfer System members.  This new feature will allow receivers to make more informed decisions when establishing credit for unarticulated courses from other BC Transfer System members.

Receiving institutions may also select only those transfer credit requests it wishes to articulate, based on whether the request involves a course that is likely to already have an equivalent or to be awarded transfer credit.

Recommendations

  • Assign priorities for evaluation to incoming requests for articulation

  • When appropriate, use existing transfer agreements to establish articulation agreements

  • Determine a strategy for managing articulation requests (e.g. when or how to select the requests that will be articulated) to best meet the institution's needs