The Truth is Powerful
What Really Happens to Transfer Students’ Credits?
Regular readers of this blog, and of the transfer literature in general, are by now very familiar with the leaky vertical transfer pipeline: the fact that some 80 percent of associate’s degree students wish to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree, but six years after beginning college, only about 11 percent have done so. These leaks disproportionately affect students from underrepresented groups—students who make it through the pipeline are more likely to be shite and have greater financial resources. Also familiar to transfer researchers and practitioners is the most common explanation for these leaks: credit loss. Often quoted is the United States Government Accountability Office’s figure of 43 percent of credits being lost as a result of transfer, and credit loss has been described as a major reason why students who begin community college with the goal of attaining a bachelor’s degree are less likely to achieve that goal than students who begin college in a bachelor’s program.
But what does it mean for credits to be “lost,” and what do we actually know about students’ credits as students progress in their undergraduate journeys? In our work we have found that, while transfer does seriously harm the applicability of credits […]