October 28, 2015
The Interstate Passport Initiative: A WICHE (Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education) Initiative
Material here drawn from a report by Paul Wickline, a Faculty Collaboratives Fellow from College of the Canyons, a community college in California. Questions to Paul.Wickline@canyons.edu
The Interstate Passport Initiative is a new learning outcomes-based framework for block transfer that focuses on lower-division general education. It began with funding from Carnegie Corporation and then from the Gates and Lumina foundations, with a second phase now funded by a federal First in the World grant.
The goal of this initiative is to reduce unnecessary repetition of academic work after students transfer--to streamline transfer students' pathways to a credential. The initiative is, in part, a reaction to research that indicates that only 58% of students who transfer between institutions are able to bring all or most of their credits with them, with as many as 28% losing between 10% and 89% of their credits. National Student Clearinghouse research sets interstate transfer rates as high as 27%. Additionally, only 10% of students seeking a bachelor's degree within six years actually achieve it. The Passport concept builds on the work of the AAC&U LEAP initiative, embraces and augments conversations underway in post-secondary education about the value of "gen ed," and is, perhaps, the largest effort thus far to focus on outcomes-based proficiencies as the currency of transfer.