CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR LEARNERS

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. Began operating in 1974.ACAT Council is an advisory body of 16 members with representation from the post-secondary system.Includes 36 post-secondary institutions.Supported by 6-member ACAT Secretariat.. . Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer. . Transfer enables students to move from one post-secondary institution to another and receive credit for their prior learning..

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CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR LEARNERS

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2. So what is ACAT and what do we do? Established in 1974, ACAT is a body of 16 members appointed by the Minister of Advanced Education and Technology. Council works to ensure: smooth secondary to post-secondary transition, and effective transferability of courses or programs. In addition, it is supported by 6-member ACAT Secretariat. ACAT provides strategic direction to the operations of the Alberta Transfer System, which coordinates and publishes transfer agreements between 36 member post-secondary institutions. So what is ACAT and what do we do? Established in 1974, ACAT is a body of 16 members appointed by the Minister of Advanced Education and Technology. Council works to ensure: smooth secondary to post-secondary transition, and effective transferability of courses or programs. In addition, it is supported by 6-member ACAT Secretariat. ACAT provides strategic direction to the operations of the Alberta Transfer System, which coordinates and publishes transfer agreements between 36 member post-secondary institutions.

3. Transfer enables students to move from one post-secondary institution to another and receive credit for their prior learning.

4. Dedicated to providing students with good information so they can plan their post-secondary studies. Develops policies, guidelines and procedures designed to facilitate transfer agreements among post-secondary institutions and maintains a registry of these transfer agreements.

5. 66,000+ by-course transfer agreements (over 28,000 active & 38,000 grandfathered agreements). 1,900+ by-program transfer agreements (over 820 active & 1,100 grandfathered agreements). Agreements are available online and in an annually printed Alberta Transfer Guide.

6. This slide provides an overview of the 36 institutions that make up the Alberta Transfer System. These institutions represent the wide range of post-secondary opportunities available for Alberta students. Alberta’s publicly funded institutions have recently been categorized into six sectors through the development of the Roles and Mandates Policy Framework by the Alberta government. These six categories are listed (as the first 6 categories). As well, the institutions that fall under each are listed. In addition to the 27 publicly-funded institutions under the six sectors, there are nine other institutions that are included in Alberta’s Transfer System: Two out-of province institutions: - Aurora College, Northwest Territories - Nunavut Arctic College, Nunavut Four First Nations Institutions: - Blue Quills, Maskwachees, Red Crow and Yellowhead, and Three other private colleges: - DeVry, Prairie Bible and Rocky Mountain. This slide provides an overview of the 36 institutions that make up the Alberta Transfer System. These institutions represent the wide range of post-secondary opportunities available for Alberta students. Alberta’s publicly funded institutions have recently been categorized into six sectors through the development of the Roles and Mandates Policy Framework by the Alberta government. These six categories are listed (as the first 6 categories). As well, the institutions that fall under each are listed. In addition to the 27 publicly-funded institutions under the six sectors, there are nine other institutions that are included in Alberta’s Transfer System: Two out-of province institutions: - Aurora College, Northwest Territories - Nunavut Arctic College, Nunavut Four First Nations Institutions:- Blue Quills, Maskwachees, Red Crow and Yellowhead, and Three other private colleges: - DeVry, Prairie Bible and Rocky Mountain.

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8. Original courses or programs not designed for transfer/no agreements in place. Completed more credit than is allowed for transfer. Courses are unrelated to new program. Failed to achieve a competitive GPA. Did not know or understand transfer requirements.

11. Career “Laddering” There are many opportunities in our system for progression opportunities. As I mentioned earlier, there are currently 821 active by-program transfer agreements in Alberta. Let’s look at a couple of these progression opportunities that allow students to build upon their previous learning. This slide shows an example of transferable courses, not designed for university transfer, but for which agreements have been created. In this example, we are looking at “block transfers”. In other words, a complete block of courses is used as a prerequisite for admission to a program as well as the learner being given credit for that block of courses. A student who successfully completes a one year Certificate program in Office Administration at NorQuest College can transfer to NAIT and enter the second year of their Office Administration Diploma Program. If the student successfully completes the diploma at NAIT, the student can then transfer to Athabasca University into the post-diploma Bachelor of Professional Arts in Communication Studies and receive two full years of credit. Post-diploma programs are very popular in Alberta. An interesting statistic is that 56% of students entering the U of L come from college programs. They currently have 26 post-diploma degree programs. There are many opportunities in our system for progression opportunities. As I mentioned earlier, there are currently 821 active by-program transfer agreements in Alberta. Let’s look at a couple of these progression opportunities that allow students to build upon their previous learning. This slide shows an example of transferable courses, not designed for university transfer, but for which agreements have been created. In this example, we are looking at “block transfers”. In other words, a complete block of courses is used as a prerequisite for admission to a program as well as the learner being given credit for that block of courses. A student who successfully completes a one year Certificate program in Office Administration at NorQuest College can transfer to NAIT and enter the second year of their Office Administration Diploma Program. If the student successfully completes the diploma at NAIT, the student can then transfer to Athabasca University into the post-diploma Bachelor of Professional Arts in Communication Studies and receive two full years of credit. Post-diploma programs are very popular in Alberta. An interesting statistic is that 56% of students entering the U of L come from college programs. They currently have 26 post-diploma degree programs.

12. Career “Laddering” - Here is another example of career progression, although in this example the student has the option of where they would like to continue their studies. Once they have received their 2-year diploma at Grande Prairie Regional College, they can choose to either apply 27 credits towards their B. Ed. at the UofA, or two full years’ worth of credits towards a Bachelor of Professional Arts degree at Athabasca University. Another example of block transfer is the current Block Transfer agreement in Biological Sciences. 13 post-secondary institutions have negotiated the development of a chart that outlines how a student might complete the first two years of Biological Sciences at one of the participating institutions, and then have the opportunity to transition to the third year of their degree at any of the 5 participating degree-granting institutions. Enhancing these types of progression opportunities is an important strategy for ACAT over the next three years.- Here is another example of career progression, although in this example the student has the option of where they would like to continue their studies. Once they have received their 2-year diploma at Grande Prairie Regional College, they can choose to either apply 27 credits towards their B. Ed. at the UofA, or two full years’ worth of credits towards a Bachelor of Professional Arts degree at Athabasca University. Another example of block transfer is the current Block Transfer agreement in Biological Sciences. 13 post-secondary institutions have negotiated the development of a chart that outlines how a student might complete the first two years of Biological Sciences at one of the participating institutions, and then have the opportunity to transition to the third year of their degree at any of the 5 participating degree-granting institutions. Enhancing these types of progression opportunities is an important strategy for ACAT over the next three years.

13. Major Activities

14. Major Activities

15. Major Activities

16. PLAR is a systematic process that involves the identification, assessment, and recognition of learning. Learning may be acquired either formally or informally. The ACAT Secretariat has a PLAR Manager—Sonia Jevne, who is working on the implementation of the PLAR Action Plan. PLAR—three phases Identify acquired skills and knowledge Assess learning by a content expert Receive credit or advanced standing in a course/program Formal learning—academic, credit-based program Non-formal learning—non-credit courses, workplace/on-the-job training, professional development workshops Informal learning—life experience gained at work, in the community, and in one’s personal/family life The ACAT Secretariat has a PLAR Manager—Sonia Jevne, who is working on the implementation of the PLAR Action Plan. PLAR—three phases Identify acquired skills and knowledge Assess learning by a content expert Receive credit or advanced standing in a course/program Formal learning—academic, credit-based program Non-formal learning—non-credit courses, workplace/on-the-job training, professional development workshops Informal learning—life experience gained at work, in the community, and in one’s personal/family life

17. In the past, Advanced Education and Technology noted the importance of PLAR in key policy documents, but there had not been a move to implement actions that would support or coordinate initiatives to increase the use of PLAR in Alberta. The Roles and Mandates Policy Framework (2007) identifies enhancing learner pathways as a key priority direction for the advanced education system, and it indicates that strategies need to be developed to enable recognition of prior learning and experience. The Action Plan was developed by a cross-divisional team and in consultation with key stakeholders in the advanced education system. Implementation of the Action Plan began in April 2009, with institution visits being a first step and top priority. In the past, Advanced Education and Technology noted the importance of PLAR in key policy documents, but there had not been a move to implement actions that would support or coordinate initiatives to increase the use of PLAR in Alberta. The Roles and Mandates Policy Framework (2007) identifies enhancing learner pathways as a key priority direction for the advanced education system, and it indicates that strategies need to be developed to enable recognition of prior learning and experience. The Action Plan was developed by a cross-divisional team and in consultation with key stakeholders in the advanced education system. Implementation of the Action Plan began in April 2009, with institution visits being a first step and top priority.

18. Develop a communications strategy, Conduct research projects to increase knowledge on PLAR best practices and quality assurance proposals, Establish a PLAR stakeholder committee, Create a professional development fund, which includes providing training to cohort of PLAR professionals, Identify pilot site at a CALC for delivery of portfolio development program. Actions: 1. Communication—Develop a provincial communication strategy to increase awareness of the benefits of PLAR.   2. Information—Develop a resource database to increase access to information on PLAR.   3. Quality assurance—Develop quality assurance practices for PLAR, including identification, assessment, and recognition processes.   4. Stakeholder committee—Establish a stakeholder committee to assist in increasing the capacity of the system to engage in PLAR practices.   5. Professional development—Support professional development/training in recognized PLAR practices for staff and volunteers at the PSIs and CALCs.   6. Identifying barriers—Examine key funding issues and other barriers related to PLAR implementation for PSIs, CALCs, and students.   7. Data and indicators of success—Develop a database to count and track PLAR students, and to document the institutions’ activity in awarding PLAR credits.   8. Center of excellence—Identify a PLAR Center of Excellence with a mandate to further PLAR in Alberta, through such methods as: (1) assisting students with PLAR processes, (2) exploring best practices, (3) conducting research, and (4) ensuring knowledge transfer on PLAR practices, issues, policies, and programs.   9. Community capacity—Support the development and implementation of pilot projects at Community Adult Learning Centers (CALC) to offer portfolio development programs.   10. Provincial coordination—In collaboration with other government departments, ensure alignment of government-supported PLAR policies and strategies. Actions: 1. Communication—Develop a provincial communication strategy to increase awareness of the benefits of PLAR.   2. Information—Develop a resource database to increase access to information on PLAR.   3. Quality assurance—Develop quality assurance practices for PLAR, including identification, assessment, and recognition processes.   4. Stakeholder committee—Establish a stakeholder committee to assist in increasing the capacity of the system to engage in PLAR practices.   5. Professional development—Support professional development/training in recognized PLAR practices for staff and volunteers at the PSIs and CALCs.   6. Identifying barriers—Examine key funding issues and other barriers related to PLAR implementation for PSIs, CALCs, and students.   7. Data and indicators of success—Develop a database to count and track PLAR students, and to document the institutions’ activity in awarding PLAR credits.   8. Center of excellence—Identify a PLAR Center of Excellence with a mandate to further PLAR in Alberta, through such methods as: (1) assisting students with PLAR processes, (2) exploring best practices, (3) conducting research, and (4) ensuring knowledge transfer on PLAR practices, issues, policies, and programs.   9. Community capacity—Support the development and implementation of pilot projects at Community Adult Learning Centers (CALC) to offer portfolio development programs.   10. Provincial coordination—In collaboration with other government departments, ensure alignment of government-supported PLAR policies and strategies.

19. Standardized test Challenge test Document assessment (transcripts) Skills demonstration Essay Personal interview Portfolio assessment Standardized test—General Equivalency Diploma (GED) test for high school diploma equivalency, placement tests for academic upgrading Challenge test—comprehensive exam that includes major components (learning outcomes) of a course Document assessment—registrar’s office, PLAR office together with program area, International Qualifications Assessment Service for foreign credentials Skills demonstration, essay, and interview done within program area Portfolio assessment is completed by content experts Standardized test—General Equivalency Diploma (GED) test for high school diploma equivalency, placement tests for academic upgrading Challenge test—comprehensive exam that includes major components (learning outcomes) of a course Document assessment—registrar’s office, PLAR office together with program area, International Qualifications Assessment Service for foreign credentials Skills demonstration, essay, and interview done within program area Portfolio assessment is completed by content experts

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