Interstate Passport | Phase II

Structure of Interstate Passport

Interstate Passport offers a new framework for block transfer of lower-division general education based on learning outcomes and transfer-level proficiency criteria. The framework contains nine knowledge and skill areas that map to the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes developed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The Interstate Passport, with its focus on the quality and coherence of the learning experience in lower-division general education across institutions, provides students with an early milestone on their path to a credential. As such, the Passport Learning Outcomes nest within the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP), which provides a set of reference points for what a student should know and be able to do upon completion of associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in any field of study. The Passport, like the other initiatives, uses a tuning-like process from the Tuning USA project to reach consensus among faculty from institutions in multiple states on the Passport Learning Outcomes and Transfer-Level Proficiency Criteria. This work was conducted in two phases and is now complete. For more information on that work, click here.

The Passport framework consists of three components for each knowledge or skill area, developed by faculty members from the Passport institutions who have expertise and classroom teaching experience in the appropriate disciplines. The first component is the features for each knowledge or skill area – topics that help to index or categorize the PLOs. The second component is the Passport Learning Outcomes (PLOs) – what a student should know or be able to do. The number of PLOs varies among the nine different areas – from five to 15 – but students are required to achieve all of the learning outcomes in each knowledge or skill area. Along with the PLOs, faculty members identified a number of proficiency criteria for each PLO – the third component of the framework. The proficiency criteria (PC) are how students demonstrate proficiency – through successful completion of a wide range of course assignments and exercises. The Passport proficiency criteria are examples only, not requirements, and many of them are currently in place at participating institutions.  Sample activities come from different disciplines, may span multiple learning outcomes, and cover a range of formats (written, oral, visual, performance, individual, group). Indeed, each faculty member will have his/her own ways for students to demonstrate proficiency with the PLOs. The PC, in effect, serve as a communication tool among faculty to establish an understanding of the rigor of the academic experiences of Passport students who transfer among their institutions. 

Foundational Skills

Proficiency in oral communication requires the development not just of the ability to prepare a well-organized argument that is grounded in credible information and effectively delivered, but development of the ability to hear, accurately summarize and evaluate oral presentations by others. 

Relationship to Institution's Passport Block: An introductory speech course or equivalent demonstration of speech proficiency is required.

Proficiency at writing is imparted by at least one formal writing course that includes the use of sources, writing process knowledge, convention and mechanics, self-assessment and reflection. This area further includes at least an introduction to analysis of the content of others’ writings, critical thinking about that content, and logical reasoning in addressing that content in an appropriate context.  

Relationship to Institution's Passport Block: An introductory writing course or equivalent demonstration of writing proficiency is required, with an expectation that students have opportunities to write as part of other lower‐division courses.

Quantitative literacy requires comfort and capability with fundamental quantitative methods, and incorporation of quantitative concepts into the student’s worldview so the student does not hesitate to apply quantitative skills in any appropriate context. Specific quantitative skills that must be addressed are mathematical process, computational skills, formulation of quantitative arguments, analysis of quantitative arguments, communication of quantitative arguments, and quantitative models.

Relationship to Institution's Passport Block: A course in mathematics or equivalent demonstration of quantitative literacy is required.

Knowledge Areas

Proficiency in the natural sciences entails exploration and comprehension of the universe that requires an informed understanding of the scientific method and its scope, an appreciation of the inherent beauty and wonder that one can find in science and its possibilities, and its application in conducting research to gather and subject empirical evidence to quantitative analysis. Proficiency also demands understanding and appreciation of the requirement that all applicable evidence must be integrated into scientific models of the universe, and that scientific models must evolve.

Relationship to Institution's Passport Block: This area includes basic proficiency in the knowledge of concept in disciplines such as astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, physics, and others.

Proficiency in human cultures increases student knowledge and appreciation of the human condition in different cultures in relation to each other and of cultural diversity and/or cultural evolution over time. Subject matter may include study of the similarities and differences among cultures including cultural values, traditions, beliefs, and customs, as well as the range of cultural achievements and human conditions through time.                                                    

Relationship to Institution's Passport Block: This area includes disciplines such as history, anthropology, archeology, political science, geography, ethnic studies, gender studies, languages, and others.

Interpretive and creative expression of the potential and limits of the human condition relies on critical analysis of specific texts or works to support its claims. 

Relationship to Institution's Passport Block: This area includes disciplines such as music, visual arts, design, theater, film, media, literature, architecture, and others. Studio and performance courses that develop technique or skills alone do not meet the standards established for this area.

Human society and the individual explores human behavior in social settings through scientific inquiry within the context of value systems, institutions, economic structures, social groups and/or environments.

Relationship to Institution's Passport Block: This area inclues disciplines such as sociology, geography, history, criminology, psychology, economics, and others. 

Crosscutting Skills

Critical thinking is a cross-disciplinary process based on information literacy that uses inquiry and analysis, and leads to problem solving. Critical thinking is also a habit of mind characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating a judgment or conclusion. Critical thinkers deeply reflect on the process and each of the steps below and return to each step as necessary.

Relationship to Institution's Passport Block: This crosscutting skill may be embedded in any of the knowledge and skill areas or across multiple courses in any areas in the institution’s Passport Block.

Teamwork is collaborating towards a common purpose through shared responsibility and mutual accountability, while maintaining healthy relationships. Value Systems are a coherent set of ethical standards adopted and/or evolved by a team as a standard to guide its behavior. Teamwork and Value Systems may be embedded in any of the content areas or across multiple courses in the institution's Passport Block.

Relationship to Institution's Passport Block: These skills may be embedded in any of the knowledge and skill areas or across multiple courses in the institution's Passport Block.