I will use the word "disgrace" three times this afternoon, and one of the areas where I'm going to use the word disgrace is the variation in the number of junior college transfers that go on to upper division work in the CSU or the UC system. I think it's disgraceful that we should have fewer transfers from Community Colleges than the national average, and a disgrace that we have such tremendous discrepancies from one community college to another. It's really abhorrent to think that there should be that much difference between the opportunities provided by some community colleges as against others. -- Dr. Clark Kerr, Testimony at the Joint Committee on the Master Plan for Education, Aug. 1999
- Too Many Competing Paths.
There are hundreds of different articulation agreements between the State's Community Colleges and the Universities. Then there is IGETC and the CSU Breadth-GE path. Very confusing for students and faculty.
- Empty Transfer Credit.
The majority of Community College courses are transferable. However, students take many courses that transfer only as electives because they do not fullfill the unique GE or Major requirements of the University the students have chosen. Many students end up with more units than they need for a BA and still have to fulfill lower division requirements when they do transfer.
- The Best Kept Secret.
The Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) is the GE Transfer Fast Track. IGETC is the wild card that is good at all UC/CSU campuses. But it is not given central importance in most Community Colleges. Most College students don't understand the considerable advantages of doing IGETC. In 2000, the Legislature passed a Law requiring Colleges to publicize IGETC. The Colleges still haven't done it.
- IGETC Courses?
Most College catalogs do not clearly label their IGETC courses. Many courses that are labelled transferable are not IGETC-approved. It is difficult to figure out which courses actually are IGETC-approved.
- GE Curriculum Out of Sync with IGETC.
The GE curriculum at many Colleges is not in sync with the IGETC requirements of 34 units for the UC and 37 units for the CSU. For example, the IGETC writing requirement is one 3-unit course. Several Colleges offer only a 4-unit writing course. Many College GE science and mathematics courses are more units than IGETC requires.
- Associate Arts GE Requirements Do Not Match IGETC.
Many College AA degrees require only a remedial level writing course rather than the transferable composition course. When students later decide to pursue a BA degree, they discover that they have not met the University lower-division writing requirement. Also, many courses in GE that meet AA requirements, do not meet UC/CSU GE requirements. So students must take additional lower division GE courses when they do get to the University.
- The Greatest Barrier: Basic Skills.
Community Colleges do not systematically assess the basic skills of entering students. There are generally no prerequisites for their transferable GE courses, with the exception of writing and mathematics. The majority of the students lack college-level reading and writing skills. Over half the entering freshmen in the CSU must take remedial writing and mathematics courses. 78% of those students taking the CSU English Placement Test fail the reading portion. ( See The Legislative Analyst's Report: Academic Preparation For Higher Education. ) Community College students' skills are no higher than CSU students and probably lower. The lack of Basic Skills assessment means that perhaps a majority of the students are not placed in appropriate Basic Skills courses, but are allowed to take courses that require skills they do not possess.
Dr. John Hartzog