Prerequisite Issue

EAC Academic Standards and Practices Committee--Prerequisite Proposal

The Academic Standards and Practices Committee recommends that the EAC endorse prerequisite requirements for lower division collegiate transfer courses meeting a general education, distribution area obligation for AS, AAOT, AGS, or AAS degrees (including all courses on the A list, B list, and general education list currently in the catalogue).  Minimum prerequisites in writing, reading, and math would be required for these courses no later than fall term, 2007:

Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115, and MTH 20 (or instructor permission).

These prerequisites will be satisfied by

  1. a "C" or higher grade in WR 115, or reading and writing placement scores for WR 121,
  2. a "C" or higher grade in RD 115, or college-level reading skills demonstrated by an ASSET reading score of at least 45 (or a Compass score of 88), and
  3. a "C" or higher grade in MTH 20 or placement into MTH 60. 

Satisfying these prerequisites will signify readiness for college-level reading and writing as well as readiness for math generally considered to be at the 9th-grade level.

Necessary Resources
To ensure our students have the appropriate courses and support, the administration will need to commit substantive resources in the following areas most likely affected by this proposal and its implementation:

  1. the developmental education and English-language learner programs (anticipating an increase in students redirected to work on their basic skills),
  2. student services (expecting more students who may need assistance with financial aid, transcript evaluation, testing, and course recommendations), and
  3. lower-enrolled courses during a transition period of up to 2 years (allowing  courses with a dip in enrollment to continue with a minimum of 10 students).

SAC Opt-out
SACs may petition to opt out of these prerequisites for all or part of their affected courses, showing sufficient cause why such a waiver should be granted.

Academic Standards and Practices Committee/EAC Role
The EAC endorsement is conditional upon the PC or EAC having a strong advisory role in the implementation of this proposal.   The EAC will create a transition team to provide oversight and guidance of the prerequisite policy implementation while making suggestions to improve the process.

Casual Students and Waivers
In order to reduce barriers for casual students who may have the prerequisite skills, but who may not want to go through our testing procedures, more pronounced language will be included in the Schedule of Classes and PCC Catalogue emphasizing the "instructor permission" option. Students who already possess an accredited degree beyond high school should also be able to waive these requirements.

Additional Recommendations

  1. The administration should work toward increasing the number of students acquiring college-level survival skills courses (particularly those who don't meet the prerequisites or who show themselves to be unable to perform with minimal academic success).
  2. SACs affected by these prerequisites should either consider implementing them prior to the fall of 2007 or, as an alternative, establishing language encouraging "Strongly Recommended: WR 115, RD 115, and MTH 20" as an interim transitional step.  Such an interim step could be made effective by fall term of 2006.
  3. The following research should be undertaken immediately to prepare for the successful implementation of the prerequisite policy by fall term, 2007:
    1. Institutional research should look closely at the population of students who will be most likely directed to DE or English-language learner courses because of the prerequisite policy.  The backgrounds of these students (by financial aid, ethnicity, and head-of-household status) should be determined so that a forecast can be made of DE or English-language learner needs during the transition phase and thereafter. In addition, we recommend that these students be tracked to evaluate this policy’s effectiveness.
    2. The Basic Skills Task Force should be consulted to help determine what would improve student success in basic skills and tutoring specific to students of DE or English language.
    3. SACs should identify any courses appropriate for students with pre-college skills, so that a list may be compiled for (and promoted to) these students of DE or English language as they work to strengthen basic skills while qualifying for FT status (for financial aid purposes).
    4. Prerequisite policies implemented at other community colleges (like Mt. Hood and Clackamas) should be more carefully examined as well as any relevant studies in the research area of basic student preparation for academic success (including student retention).