Spotlight News

  • REPORT: Admissions Policies and Practices for Underrepresented Students

    REPORT: Admissions Policies and Practices for Underrepresented Students

    ADMISSIONS POLICIES & PRACTICES FOR UNDERREPRESENTED STUDENTS

    Prepared for BCCAT by P. Merner & P. Beatty-Guenter

    Published September 2018

    Download/View:    REPORT    SUMMARY (4-pages)

    The key purpose of the research project was to assess the policies and practices at the BC Transfer System institutions for admitting underrepresented (equity) groups of students, as well as to summarize the data sources available on the underrepresented groups. Beyond the review of Canadian and international literature, this analysis involved scanning websites and other digital documentation for the 38 institutions of the BC Transfer System, as well as provincial government webpages and other online material. A survey of the institutional research offices at public BC post-secondary institutions provided information on institutional data collection practices and the identification of underrepresented groups. The final stage of information gathering involved interviews of admissions and other professionals to garner first-hand information about equity initiatives and access practices in an operational context.

    The literature review identified key groups and factors (often correlated) that influence access to post-secondary education: low socio-economic status, parental education, low secondary school success, family, Indigenous identity, rural location, gender, ability limitation, and cultural distinctiveness. While some barriers may be amenable to change, others are not and must be addressed in other ways.

    Typically, post-secondary institutions have responded to access and equity issues in three main ways: through creating or improving programs, through services, and through policy and practices. In many cases institutional responses were multi-faceted, and it was also often difficult to delineate what underrepresented groups the practices were aimed at.

    The strongest policy statements were found with respect to the more visible and defined groups (e.g., Indigenous people and those with ability limitations). In other respects, such as with first-generation learners or those from rural origins, policy was almost entirely absent. This served to underline the differences in visibility among the underrepresented groups. As with policy, some underrepresented groups are well supported by admissions practices designed specifically to support their needs, while other groups less so, or not at all. This is not to say that individuals are not supported during admissions processes, but that practices are not targeted specifically towards them, by dint of group membership.

    The report contains a review of availability of data sources that support current and future research on underrepresented groups. The sources of data on underrepresented groups include many Statistics Canada resources, such as the Census, data sets and surveys available through CANSIM (PSIS, NGS and the LFS), and discontinued but available YITS, PEPS and SLS/F; BC provincial/institutional data sets include the CDW and STP, and the BC Outcomes Surveys; and Institutional / Consortia data sets such as CUSC, NSSE, and UCAS.

  • Find Your Path: info for students

    Find Your Path: info for students

    VIEWBOOK    POSTER    POSTCARD    BOOKMARK

    BCCAT provides a range of "Find Your Path" resources to support transfer pathway planning for students. They outline basic info about BCTransferGuide.ca and the BC Transfer System. We invite students, parents, advisors, recruiters, and others to view/download/print these materials for your information - or to inform others within your circle. 

    The viewbook gives a more comprehensive overview of BC's post-secondary transfer system, including the benefits and logistics of transfer, and guidance for students on how to use BCTransferGuide.ca to map out their own transfer pathways. In addition, it references EducationPlannerBC.ca as the place to go to search, plan, and apply for programs available at institutions across the province.

    For more information about student transfer and BC's remarkable post-secondary transfer network, we recommend:

    • The BC Transfer System: a short, animated video; and
    •  "Transfer Stories": a video series of short stories told by students and others about their own experiences and reflections about transfer in BC.
  • BCCAT 2020-21 Annual Review

    BCCAT 2020-21 Annual Review

    BCCAT 2020-21 Annual Review

    Connections: Supporting educational pathways as a collaborative community

    DOWNLOAD/VIEW: Annual Review (full report)     Infographic Summary

    In 2020, BC’s post-secondary community faced remarkable challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. BCCAT’s top priority has been to ensure that learners and post-secondary institutions continue to benefit from BC’s network of flexible learning pathways during this critical time and going forward. Key activities include the following:

    • collaborating with partners to ensure learners continue to benefit from transfer pathways during the pandemic;

    • enhancing technologies to optimize credit transfer processes and make credit transfer pathways more intuitive and accessible to learners;

    • conducting research examining the impacts of the pandemic on post-secondary learners and institutions to guide post-pandemic policy and practice in the post-secondary system;

    • facilitating discussion and enquiry into issues of importance to the post-secondary community—such as micro-credentials and online course delivery—to help guide development of policy and practice; and

    • supporting communication with the public and across the system to address emergent critical issues and developments in support of learner access and mobility.

    This Annual Review takes a look at the ways BCCAT has worked to strengthen collaboration and connections vital to enabling learner access and mobility. 

    Related items:

    Publications Overview

    Letter to the Ministry

  • 2021 BCCAT Transfer Awards - Nominations Welcome!

    2021 BCCAT Transfer Awards - Nominations Welcome!

    BCCAT is now accepting nominations for the 2021 BCCAT Transfer Awards.

    *Deadline: August 31, 2021*

    These awards were designed to celebrate the "transfer champions" among us who make significant and valuable contributions to BC's transfer community and student mobility through their exemplary leadership, vision, and creativity.

    So... who will YOU nominate?

    • Do you know someone like Tamara Sweet who has a fresh, proactive approach to supporting or advancing transfer at your institution?
    • Do you have colleagues like Debbie Lin and the UBC Student Communications Team who have demonstrated exceptional leadership or vision, significantly contributing to transfer and articulation in BC?
    • Are you inspired by an extraordinary individual like Dr. John Dennison who has demonstrated unswerving dedication and career-long leadership impacting BC's Transfer System? 

    There are three different award categories: Rising Star, Leadership, and Lifetime Achievement. If you know of anyone deserving of this kind of recognition, we want to hear about them!

    For further details, check out the links below. Also see bccat.ca/about/awards to find out more about previous award winners. Contact us at awards@bccat.ca and we'll be glad to answer your questions.

    #2021transferawards
    #whowillyounominate
    #bcpse
    #transferCREDITSnotCOVID

  • BCTransferGuide.ca Gets Bigger!

    BCTransferGuide.ca Gets Bigger!

    BCTransferGuide.ca now includes transfer equivalencies to seven BC post-secondary institutions (PSIs) from across the country, and the globe, in addition to transfer agreements among BC Transfer System members.

    As a result, students from all over the world are now able to search for transfer decisions to identify the credit they would receive at the onboarded BC PSIs for learning obtained outside of BC.

    This expansion continues the work of facilitating student mobility, by reducing barriers and promoting pathways to access quality, post-secondary education in BC.

    We thank the onboarded post-secondary institutions and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training for continuing to facilitate student mobility and our province's transfer-friendly culture - another reason why BC is the ideal destination for transfer students from across Canada and the world.

    Check out the BCTG Expansion Project Update for further details.

    *Please feel free to share this news with colleagues, students, and those involved with student services and advising at your institution.*
  • REPORT: Who Decides Transfer?

    REPORT: Who Decides Transfer?

    WHO DECIDES TRANSFER?

    by Dr. Fiona McQuarrie, Special Projects Officer, BCCAT

    Published November 2020

    Download/View:    REPORT    

    The purpose of this research was to examine transfer credit decision-making processes at BCTS member institutions, to identify the roles or areas that make decisions on transfer credit requests. This comparison is not intended to be evaluative, but rather to provide contextual information for institutions assessing or revising their own policies.

    We collected publicly available data such as transfer credit policies and calendar copy from the websites of 38 of BCTS’ 39 member institutions. This information is challenging to summarize because of the wide range of variation in processes and participants. The full text of the report provides a more complete and nuanced analysis of transfer credit decision processes across the BCTS.

    The broad outcomes of the analysis indicate that approximately 20% of BCTS member institutions do not explicitly identify the decision-makers and/or participants in the transfer credit decision process. Registrars and program heads are the roles that most commonly have the authority to decide on transfer credit requests. More than one role or area, in either a decision-making or advisory capacity, is generally involved in assessing transfer credit requests.

    The study recommends that institutions have a clearly written and publicly available transfer credit policy that identifies all participants in assessments of transfer credit requests, and that defines each step in the assessment process. This information is important to provide consistency and guidance for students, staff, faculty, and administrators. The study also recommends that an academic representative from a relevant discipline be involved in all transfer credit decisions.

  • REPORT: Block Transfer & Degree Partnerships

    REPORT: Block Transfer & Degree Partnerships

    BLOCK TRANSFER & DEGREE PARTNERSHIPS

    Prepared for BCCAT by P. Merner & M. Bennett
    Published September 2020

    View/Download:  REPORT

    The main purposes of this research are to describe the volume, features and trends of block transfer agreements (BTA) and degree partnership (DP) pathways in the BC Transfer System (BCTS); to determine existing business practices that determine collection of data on degree pathways; and to identify successful practices that may assist institutions in collecting data on tracking BTA/DP usage by students.

    The analysis utilized the Central Data Warehouse (CDW) transfer credits data covering the period 2009-10 to 2018-19. The sending and receiving institutions identified in the CDW data were compared to similar information in 1,424 block transfer or degree partnership agreements drawn from the BC Transfer Guide (BCTG).

    Over the ten-year period, CDW institutions assessed transfer credits at block transfer for 3,481 students from BCTS member institutions. These students transferred 125,843 credits as block, or 7.4% of the total transferred through all credit types. Only approximately 27% of transfers occurred with a block transfer or degree partnership agreement between the sending and receiving institution posted on the BCTG.

    There was a fair amount of variation in what information on incoming students was collected and recorded. Most institutions recorded block credit awarded, although many assessed block credit transfers on a course-by-course basis “sometimes” and in a few cases “always or most of the time”. Most institutions treated degree partnership transfer the same as block transfer. A majority of survey respondents (63%) reported that they accommodated block transfer without a formal agreement being in place. Some institutions did not record block credit, despite the apparent presence of block transfer agreements.

    The study concludes with a discussion of possible strategies for improving institutional and system-level data. Institutional data and information support are discussed, as well as the possibility of creating a comparative base for system reporting.

    Related publications: 2019 Implementing Block Transfer Agreements report, 2014 Block Transfer in the BC Transfer System report

  • REPORT: Competency-Based Assessments

    REPORT: Competency-Based Assessments

    COMPETENCY-BASED ASSESSMENTS

    Prepared for BCCAT by J. DeDominicis & B. Zabolotney

    Published July 20, 2020

    DOWNLOAD/VIEW: REPORT

    This project sought to understand how post-secondary institutions in BC and elsewhere are working with competency-based credentials and assessments in their admission processes. For the purposes of this project, competency-based assessment was defined as a framework to collect evidence of competence, in order to evaluate applicants holistically, i.e., not relying solely on required subject-area grades or demonstration of learning through other academic benchmarks or criteria. The research revealed implications and opportunities for BC post-secondary institutions which can inform next and best admissions practices and policies.

    This project adopted a primarily qualitative design, including interviews and surveys with Registrars, Deans and Directors of Admissions, literature review, appreciative inquiry, participatory research methods, and reflective practices. Over 80% of survey respondents indicated that competency-based evaluation criteria were being used at their institution, in addition to academic requirements, for admission to undergraduate, diploma, and/or certificate programs. Respondents mentioned types of competency-based materials required for applications, in addition to academic transcripts, such as letters of recommendation, written personal profiles, essays, or questionnaires, followed by interviews, portfolios and other materials.

    Interview findings pointed to an inconsistency in the use of the term “competency”. Post-secondary institutions used “non-cognitive”, “competency-based”, “broad-based”, and “holistic” to describe their practices of evaluating students on the basis of criteria beyond their academic transcripts. Some interview participants indicated that programs sought to implement competency-based assessment criteria as a means to diversify the incoming cohort. Representatives of institutions that managed in-house competency assessments reported that their processes were resource-heavy and difficult to scale up.

    A number of exemplary admissions practices surfaced during our interviews, and the study discusses structural and systemic attributes which support such practices.

     

  • "Research Factor" Video Series

    "Research Factor" Video Series

    BCCAT coordinates and conducts a wide range of research projects to help inform and support institutional policies and processes that advance student transfer and mobility.

    The "Research Factor" video series is designed to offer quick, concise overviews of research higlights of interest across the BC Transfer System and beyond.

    The first video, "Transfer Students Profile & Performance", is now available on BCCAT's YouTube channel.

    Watch as other videos are released throughout the year!

  • REPORT: Dual Credit Students

    REPORT: Dual Credit Students

    ACADEMIC DUAL CREDIT STUDENTS:

    Experiences and Performance in the BC Post-Secondary System

    Prepared for BCCAT by Plaid Consulting

    Published April 2020

    Download/View:    REPORT    INFOGRAPHIC (4-pages)   VIDEO/PRESENTATION

    Dual credit in BC occurs when credit is granted at both a secondary school and post-secondary institution for completion of a course (FitzGibbon, 2015). With its focus on academic dual credit, this study examines a subset of dual credit programs and follows a 2017 study on dual credit programs that assessed transitions of dual credit students into further post-secondary.

    The analysis of provincial Student Transitions Project (STP) data identified 9,317 academic dual credit students in BC public post-secondary institutions for years 2010/11 through 2016/17. The analysis shows that 68% of academic these dual credit students participated in further BC public post-secondary education. Of them, 41% continued to the same PSI where they took the dual credit course, and 27% transitioned to a different PSI. Thompson Rivers University, the University of Victoria, and the University of the Fraser Valley were the institutions with the highest rates of academic dual credit students returning to the same PSI where they were previously enrolled in dual credit course.

    Of the dataset that contained 10,524 aggregate records for students who took academic dual credit courses at BC’s public institutions between 2010/11 and 2017/18 academic years, 2,353 students (roughly one in five) completed one or more credentials, most often in business, health or in multiple disciplines.

    The 4,146 academic dual credit students who studied at four case-study institutions (Camosun College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, North Island College, and Thompson Rivers University) during the period 2010/11 to 2017/18 were characterised by the following:

    • They tended to take academic dual credit courses in Grades 11 and 12
    • They were predominantly female
    • They tended to have high grades in English 12, and
    • They were typically high academic performers overall.

    An online survey of students who completed a dual credit course and continued to one of the four case-study institutions gathered information on the experiences of 727 students. More than half of respondents (56-64% varying by case-study institution) undertook post-secondary programs related to their academic dual credit courses. The student respondents chose academic dual credit courses because they were keen on obtaining post-secondary experience. They identified three most influential motivators for them to take academic dual credit course: high school teachers, someone with dual credit experience, and high school counsellors. When asked for suggestions on how to improve academic dual credit programs, the respondents’ most common answer was “More academic dual credit opportunities”.