“Results and Conclusions from Recent Pathway Initiatives” Presented by Pelham Matthews and John Mitchell (Algoma University)
The discussions of November 2010, dealt with the following: The use of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) Uniform Final Examination (UFE) Prequalification Competencies, and University Undergraduate Degree Learning Expectations (UUDLEs) as the basis for defining the common elements of an Ontario baccalaureate degree in Accounting; The gap analysis that was done based on the diploma and degree learning outcomes; the ICAO practice of mapping the alignment of Accounting baccalaureate courses to the UFE Competencies for the purpose of accreditation was used What it would take to get multiple university commitment to a pathway model; and Formulating a clear statement of diploma level learning (in Accounting, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Statistics) that is needed BEYOND the set provincial program standards and the curriculum offerings of some colleges.
ACCOUNTING LEARNING GAPS were identified and categorized: RESEARCH SKILLS CRITICAL THINKINGS AND PROBLEM SOLVING BROADER BUSINESS KNOWLEDGE HOLISTIC VIEW OF THE DISCIPLINE IN THE LARGER BUSINESS SYSTEM COMMUNICATION SKILLS EXPOSURE TO THE GLOBAL BUSINESS CONTEXT
There was agreement that: The two year diploma competencies have been covered, although they have been pursued at a more operational level and with a narrower focus. This was reflected in the gap analysis. References to the lack of diploma preparation for “strategic initiatives”, “organizational evaluations”, ”external reporting”, “analysis”, “evaluation”, and “decision making” were made The acquisition of these skills tend to require a greater depth of course theory and breadth of application within a corporate framework, but not a justify a full repeat of the accounting courses.” The accounting competencies have been met by “B” GPA diploma graduates. This was based on the gap analysis done and the supporting evidence of York University’s transfer student grades.
Complicating factors: these identified gaps do not shrink when looking at 2-year College graduates with “A” averages. colleges dedicate some course time, including accounting courses, on remedial studies. So the issue for universities is - for any university degree program, how can such courses be counted as equivalent. There is a need to address course specific learning gaps, without having the student repeat the same course in a degree program. As result universities will have to look to other courses to bridge the learning gaps. Are these courses to be diploma courses or degree courses, and when will these courses would be taken by the students? some cases only a university degree is required for the professional accounting designation, not specifically a business degree; so a seamless transfer system will have to have some flexibility in its design – as student needs may differ Some marketplace realities: some duplication of College and University accounting programs will always exist The acceptance that if specialty college-level courses are accepted by professional accrediting bodies that the university would also accept these courses as equivalent for the professional learning competencies or capabilities This project did not pursue the 3-year diploma transfer option beyond indicating that a 3 plus 1 could not be justified in Accounting for both residency and competency gap reasons.
These complicating factors when combined with the marketplace realities result in the realization that, to make the college to university transfer, whether it occurs after year 2 or 3 of a college accounting program, some form of bridging should occur, and that the bridging courses would not necessarily have an only an accounting focus
When these pathway goals were combined with the research findings on other “successful” college-to- university transition or bridging programs, it was decided that a Block-Transfer pathway was best suited for a multi-partner approach, as opposed as the a course-for course articulation model that has been traditionally followed in Ontario
“It is expected that college courses would be mapped to only one university and that mapping can be transferred to other partner universities. It was agreed in principle that a transfer model committing to ½ of the credits towards a baccalaureate degree must also stress that each university program would specify the degree completion requirements which could include courses at all levels of the degree. There was agreement that a GPA of “B” or “75%” in the last 10 courses of the baccalaureate transfer stream of the 2 year business-accounting diploma program and successful completion of the “bridge” would be acceptable for a block transfer worth ½ the credits of a baccalaureate degree. It was agreed that the model would facilitate the integration of transfer students into regular business classes of current business degrees and that restrictions would be clearly stated in marketing literature. There is the need for an annual assessment of effectiveness, identification of issues and the timely correction of problems. “ – CUCC Final report on the Accounting Bridge (November 2010)
In conclusion, it is the belief of the conference group that the agreed upon pathway model satisfies the first three of the MTCU’s goals for improved Credit Transfer: Expand and improve student transfer pathways that respond to student demand Improve transparency and access to information about pathways and credit transfer Improve access to pathway opportunities by streamlining entry grade requirements Improve access to pathway opportunities for students holding international credentials Support student success "POLICY STATEMENT FOR ONTARIO’S CREDIT TRANSFER SYSTEM." Ministry of Training,Colleges and Universities. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Nov 2011..