Interstate Passport Initiative

January 9, 2014

Inside Higher Ed outlined a promising development in higher education, the credit hour and transfer programs today.

The Interstate Passport Initiative, a set of mutually agreed-upon learning outcomes that are a new way of thinking about students transferring between institutions, was announced this week. This initiative is led by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). It is now possible for students to transfer from one of the 16 participating institutions to another by showing they hold certain competencies.

Institutions on both sides of the process decide which courses and credits equate with competency. The receiving institution also decides which credits a transfer student should earn for his or her proven proficiency.

This project is important for what it signals about the credit hour and college transcripts. The Interstate Passport Initiative goes beyond the credit hour – “it could contribute to the ‘unbundling’ of higher education, where assessed learning typically trumps time spent in the traditional classroom.” It is a widespread belief that college transcripts are inadequate at depicting student learning; by measuring proficiencies and competencies, one could get a better idea of what a student accomplished at their institution.

This initiative could create a more streamlined transfer process and save money along the way. The leaders of the project are hopeful that many more colleges and higher education systems will sign on and participate.

See the full article here.

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