Establishing a Systemwide California Community College General Education Advanced Placement (CCC GE AP) List

Articulation Officer, Allan Hancock College

Whenever systemwide policies are proposed there is a natural and understandable concern expressed by faculty. Local district control of curricular policy is critical in maintaining effective learning environments that are relative to each district's unique demographics. In this case, however, a systemwide community college GE AP list would not compromise local district control. The intent of the CCC GE AP list is to equate AP scores to broad general education "area" requirements that are required across all campuses (Title 5 55063. Minimum Requirements for the Associate Degree), thus leaving campus specific "course" equivalency determination as a responsibility of the local discipline faculty as required by Title 5 (Title 5 55052. Advanced Placement Examinations). Because the GE "area" requirements are the same across all campuses (as defined by Title 5), it is appropriate to have a systemwide CCC GE AP list. On the other hand, courses that are specific to individual campuses should have "course" AP equivalency determined by the discipline faculty on those campuses (as defined in Title 5). The adoption of a systemwide CCC GE AP list will not replace the responsibility of individual campus faculty to determine campus specific "course" AP equivalency.

A Systemwide CCC GE AP List-Why?
A systemwide CCC GE AP list would provide students and counselors a clear and consistent reference for applying AP scores towards associate degree GE "area" requirements. Community college students often attend more than one college and the awarding of AP credit differs significantly among community colleges. Students may receive associate degree GE credit at one college but not at another because there is no course equivalency at the second college or the faculty have not established an AP GE "area" equivalency list. For example, a student with a score of three in AP Physics B will receive GE equivalency credit at Santa Barbara City College because the "course" equivalency is in their GE Area A, but the student would not receive GE credit if the student transferred to Allan Hancock College because there is no "course" equivalency for AP Physics B at Allan Hancock College and is therefore not on their GE list. If a CCC GE AP list were instituted students and counselors would know what GE requirement an AP score would fulfill regardless of which, or how many, of the 110 community colleges the student attended.

Academic Senate Resolutions and Rostrum Articles
The need for a California CCC GE AP list has been well established. Beginning as far back as 1994 (S94 4.05 Advanced Placement Three-Year Degree) and as recently as 2006 (F06 4.02 Advanced Placement (AP) Credit Policies and F06 4.06 Advanced Placement (AP) Equivalency Lists) there have been Academic Senate resolutions calling for research on AP credit policies and procedures. In addition, a number of Rostrum articles addressing AP concerns have also been written including "AP, IB 5-6-7, 3-4-5 What is it All About and Why Should Faculty Care?" (February 2007), "Now Is the Time for Systemwide Advanced Placement (AP) Policies and Procedures" (February 2008) and "California Community College (CCC) General Education (GE) Advanced Placement (AP) List" (May 2008). Last spring all this interest and research culminated with the Academic Senate passing a resolution calling for the development of a California CCC GE AP list (S08 4.04 CCC GE Advanced Placement (AP) Equivalency).

CCC Articulation Officer's Survey
After the passage of Resolution 4.04 S08, a California CCC GE AP survey was conducted among the California community college articulation officers. There was a 100% response rate to this survey with 109 out of the 110 articulation officers supporting the need for a GE AP list. The survey provided the impetus for a proposed CCC GE AP list. During the 2007-2008 academic year the system offices of the CSU and UC worked with their appropriate academic senates to revise the CSU GE AP list last reviewed in 1998, develop an IGETC AP List and closely align both lists. In the GE AP survey all 110 articulation officers responded that if a CCC GE AP list is developed it should be aligned with the CSU GE and IGETC AP lists. The proposed CCC GE AP list is not only aligned with the Title 5 general education requirements, but also with the CSU GE and IGETC AP lists. This spring, the proposed CCC GE AP list will be presented to the delegates in attendance at the Academic Senate plenary session for adoption. You can find the proposal on the Senate website at

Advanced Placement Statistics
There are an ever-increasing number of students enrolling at California community colleges with AP examination scores requesting credit for these scores. The number of AP examinations taken in the United States in 2008 was 2.7 million. California led the nation with 453,166. The next three closest states were Texas with 270,466, Florida with 235,030 and New York with 200,609. In the past ten years the number of AP examinations taken has substantially increased with California again leading the nation from 175,182 in 1998 to 453,166 in 2008. This increase is contributing to the fact that we are seeing more and more students with AP scores arriving on our college campuses and requesting credit for their AP scores. In addition, considering the current budget crisis and future state funding projections there will be even more CSU and UC bound students beginning their bachelor degree program at our colleges.

Next Step
As noted above, a resolution will be brought forward at the Academic Senate 2009 Spring Plenary calling for the approval and adoption of the proposed CCC GE AP list. Local academic senates should begin a discussion about the proposed CCC GE AP list. It would be advisable to include the articulation officer and transfer director in these discussions as they are the most knowledgeable campus resources when it comes to general education and AP scores.