Each program of study, regardless of major, contains specific phases of progression that each student must successfully complete before being allowed to graduate. In other words, there is a planned, purposeful order to completing a program or earning a college degree—an individual does not just apply for admission and have complete autonomy over the courses taken, the sequence of coursework, when/where/if practica or internships are completed, and so on. The institution makes those decisions after carefully designing each given program of study. They decide things such as:
- Admission and enrollment criteria
- General education requirements
- # of semester hours required for graduation
- Minimum GPA required to pass each course
- Clinical experiences, internships, practica
- Exit examinations required for graduation (or state licensure, depending on the program)
Transition points are sometimes referred to as “gateways”—they are specific points at which a student passes from one stage in his or her program to the next. As long as a student meets the stated expectations, the journey continues and he or she moves ahead toward graduation. If the student fails to meet one or more expectations in a given stage, the institution implements a plan for remediation, additional support, or in some case, counseling out of the program.
I have created a Transition Points framework that may be useful to some educator preparation programs. Of course, Transition Points must be tailored to fit each unique program but could include gateways such as:
- Transition Point I: Applicant to Pre-Candidate Status
- Admission to the program
- Transition Point II: Pre-Candidate to Candidate Status
- Completion of Block #1 Coursework & Preparation for Formative Field Experiences
- Transition Point III: Candidate to Pre-Graduate Status
- Completion of Block #2 Coursework & Formative Field Experiences
- Transition Point IV: Pre-Graduate to Graduate Status
- Completion of Block #3 Coursework & Culminating Clinical Experiences
- Transition Point V: Graduate to Program Completer Status
- Pass Required Licensure/Certification Examination(s)
Do you see the progression? When detailed out, a complete Transitions Points or Gateway table should paint a portrait of a student’s journey from matriculation to program completion; the sequence should represent a logical flow with at least some detail relative to minimum expectations.
I hope this has been helpful to you. Need more ideas? Have ideas to share? Want to collaborate on a project? Feel free to reach out to me.