Frequently Asked Questions about High School/ROP/Adult Education Articulation

  1. What are articulated High School, ROP and Adult Education courses?
  2. What does Credit by Examination (CBE) mean?
  3. What does the former "2+2" High School/ROP articulation mean?
  4. Why isn't credit granted toward the associate degree itself for articulated High School/ROP/Adult Education courses?
  5. What value does articulation of High School, ROP and Adult Education courses have if they don't produce actual college credit?
  6. What is the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges: Statewide Career Pathways: Creating School to College Articulation Program?
1. What are articulated High School, ROP and Adult Education courses?

An articulated high school, ROP or Adult Education course is one in which a determination has been made that a course offered at the secondary level is comparable to a specific community college course. At Foothill College, this determination is made by the discipline faculty from the high school, ROP or Adult Education and Foothill College, through a formal process approved by the Foothill College Curriculum Committee. Courses which had previously been identified as 2+2, fall into this area, and should now be referred to as "Noncredit Articulated High School Courses".

Articulated high school, ROP and Adult Education courses can be applied to Foothill College requirements, but cannot (per Title 5 Code) be granted college credit, unless the student or course has also qualified under the Credit by Examination process. There are several advantages to pursuing articulated courses at the high school level. Students moving from high schools, ROPs and Adult Education to Foothill College will be much better prepared if the expectations of the college faculty are met through the preparation provided by high school and ROP instructors. Articulated courses can also meet certificate and major requirements for some degrees, especially for vocational and technical programs at Foothill College. This enables students to go directly into the more advanced courses when they reach college. Students still need to meet full unit requirements for these certificates and degrees. Articulated courses will be clearly noted as such on college transcripts, even though no credit will be assigned.

2. What does Credit By Examination (CBE) mean?

Through the Credit by Examination process, high school/ROP/Adult Education students may receive credit at the college level for some articulated courses. Credit by Examination means that a student has satisfactorily passed an exam approved or conducted by Foothill College faculty for a course offered by Foothill College.

The Foothill College faculty members who normally teach the college course must determine the nature and content of the exam. Such credit may be granted only to a student who is registered at the Foothill College and in good standing, and only for a course listed in the Foothill College catalog. As an enrolled Foothill student, you may be able to obtain Credit by Examination in subject matters or fields you are especially qualified through training, experience or a high school/ROP/Adult Education class, but for which you have not received credit or advanced placement. Unit credits for courses successfully challenged through Credit by Exam, will not be awarded until you have successfully completed 15 units of additional work at Foothill. (Board Policy 6030)

The examination may include written, oral or skills tests or a combination of all three. It will determine whether you have essentially the same knowledge and skills as students who have successfully completed the course. You must be enrolled in the course and the grade you receive on the exam will be entered on your permanent record.

Additionally, in some instances, a high school/ROP/Adult Education instructor can obtain approval from the Foothill College discipline faculty to give a final exam at the high school/ROP/Adult Education level that meets Credit by Examination criteria. In either case, student's transcript will be noted to show that credit was earned by examination. These units do not count towards the 24-quarter unit credit residency requirement of the college for Associates degrees. A maximum of 20 units of credit may be earned by examination.

Although the University of California and California State University systems accept, within certain limitations, appropriate credits obtained by examination, Foothill College cannot guarantee that they will do so or that other educational institutions will do so.

You can obtain petitions for Credit by Exam from a Foothill College counselor during the first week of classes. The examination will normally be completed by the end of the second week. Units earned under Credit by Exam will be identified as such on your transcript.

The fee for Credit by Exam is equal to the per unit enrollment fee set by the State of California Community Colleges. If a student is eligible for the Board of Governors (BOG) fee waiver it does not pay for credit earned through Credit by Examination. Credit by Examination units are not counted for Financial Aid purposes.

3. What does the former "2+2" High School/ROP Articulation mean?

In the past, Foothill College allowed articulation with local area High Schools and ROPs under agreements known as "2+2". If the High School/ROP's and college faculty determined that 2 courses were comparable, based on course outlines, then students received college credit for this work.

Changes in California Educational Code have now set a much higher standard for granting college credit for high school work, with key points of the new policy being:

  • Credit for High School/ROP/Adult Education work can only be earned through the College's Credit by Examination Policy.
  • The college curriculum committee must oversee the process.
  • Articulation agreements must be periodically reviewed to ensure continued comparability of both the outline and the final exam.

Status of previous "2+2" agreements:

  • Students who completed High School/ROP "2+2" courses in academic year 2002-2003 will receive college credit.
  • As of fall 2003, all existing "2+2" agreements were converted to Noncredit Articulation agreements valid for 2 years, through Spring 2005.
  • If a High School/ROP/ Adult Education wishes to extend the agreement or apply for Credit by Examination, they must apply for a Request for Consideration of Articulation of High School/ROP/Adult Education Course to the college using the current High School/ROP/ Adult Education Articulation process.
4. Why isn't credit granted toward the associate degree itself for articulated High School/ROP/Adult Education courses?

The law requires that the associate degree include at least 90 quarter units of college coursework. An articulated high school, ROP or Adult Education course, while reviewed as comparable by Foothill College faculty, still is not fully equivalent to a college course in several ways.

College faculty have minimum qualifications beyond that required for high school, ROP and Adult Education teachers. The level of preparation of students in college courses is generally higher. Degree applicable college courses have required levels of reading, writing, and computational skills usually above that required for high school/ROP/Adult Education courses. University-transferable college courses usually have even higher standards.

College students go through rigorous assessment and, in many cases, must meet specific prerequisites, to assure that they have these essential skills.

These standards and practices are in place to assure students that the college

courses they take meet the rigorous requirements of four-year universities, in the case of transfer courses and of employers, in the case of technical and vocational courses.

If high school/ROP/Adult Education courses were known to be counted toward the overall associate degree requirements in California, our associate degree would come into disrepute with the four-year public segments, with independent colleges and universities, and even with community college systems in other states. It would be contrary to accepted higher education practice to count high school, ROP or Adult Education coursework toward a college degree.

Also, if high school/ROP/Adult Education courses were allowed to result in community college transcript notations that misleadingly give the appearance that the student has actually taken the articulated college class, our system's transcripts would come to be regarded with suspicion by other higher education institutions and by employers.

5. What value does articulation of High School/ROP/Adult Education courses have if it doesn't produce actual college credit?

Articulation has many values. Most occupations require some post-high school education, and community colleges are the primary source of that education. Students moving from high schools, ROPs and Adult Education programs to community college will be much better prepared if the expectations of college faculty are met by the preparation provided by high school, ROP and Adult Education teachers. The dialog required for articulation is designed to assure this alignment.

Students who take advanced, articulated high school, ROP and Adult Education courses and master competencies of comparable entry level college courses do not have to retake those courses, but may be placed directly into second-tier courses. Let's suppose an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) degree requires 24 units in the major, consisting of a set of courses in a sequence: EMT 1 which is required before taking EMT 2 and so on. If EMT 1 is articulated with a comparable high school/ROP/Adult Education course that the student successfully completes, that student can start at the college immediately with EMT 2.

6. What is the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges: Statewide Career Pathways: Creating School to College Articulation program?

Statewide Career Pathways: Creating School to College Articulation provides an opportunity for high school/ROP/Adult Education and community college faculty to meet, collaborate and develop articulation agreements. Agreements that result will vary by discipline and may include alignment of course skills, concepts and sequences, advanced placement possibilities and credit by examination options.

While our schools and colleges have already participated in many efforts to align curriculum and develop articulation agreements especially through Tech Prep programs, faculty have indicated several unmet needs which this project addresses.

This project has:

  • A database of articulation agreements, accessible across the State.
  • Opportunities and support for faculty at schools and colleges to meet and develop agreements.
  • Outreach strategies to encourage participation of students, parents and schools/college personnel.

The project is being led by a steering committee with members from community college and high school faculty and administration, the California Department of Education, the System Office for the California Community Colleges, Tech Prep and RCPs. The committee is began its work in July 2006. For information about the project, please contact the faculty coordinator, Nancy Jones at or Katey Lewis at or the Academic Senate Office at (916) 445-4753.

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