Improving Transfer Pathways: the Impact of Statewide Articulation Policies
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CitationSpencer, George. 2017. Improving Transfer Pathways: the Impact of Statewide Articulation Policies. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
AbstractStudents who first enroll in a community college may experience barriers to attain a bachelor’s degree if they lose credits in the process of transferring to a four-year institution. Statewide articulation policies establish curricular agreements between state colleges to prevent credit loss. Although there are various articulation approaches, few studies have disentangled differences in their effectiveness or examined their effects on directing students to optimal transfer pathways. This dissertation features two papers employing difference-in-differences strategies to estimate the articulation impact in this effort.
In the first paper, I examine whether an articulation approach featuring the associate degree as a transfer mechanism compels community colleges to increase degree completion. Using institution-level data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, I exploit variation in the introduction of these policies across multiple states as a natural experiment. I find that such policies increase rates of associate degree completion but the magnitude of this effect varies across states. In the second paper, I investigate the effectiveness of course guides to help students identify transferrable prerequisite credits. Using student-level data, I exploit variation in the rollout of guides across Ohio colleges in 2005 as another natural experiment. I find that effects on prerequisite course-taking differed across academic majors, and the effects were lower for students enrolled in their first year compared to returning students.
The findings from both papers suggest that articulation policies may redirect students’ transfer pathways, but the effect may vary contextually—across states, as well as by the preparedness level of students.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33052858