Prerequisite checkingfor summer 2005

Alicia Edquist, Advertising Manager/Lab Aide

Cerritos College, with the help of the new Peoplesoft system the college has started using, will begin a new procedure when students begin registering for classes Summer 2005.

Prerequisites for classes will automatically be checked and enforced at the time students register for courses via telephone and Internet. The system will start in May, at the start of registration for Summer classes.

The system will prevent students from registering for classes they have not completed the prerequisites for.

Carol Patrick, administrative dean of counseling, said “All students that are enrolled in Cerritos will automatically know when registering for classes if they can take the class or not.”

The process will help instructors move quickly through the first week of classes, and will save them time because they will no longer have to check student records for prerequisites to determine if they are eligible for the class.

The college hopes the new process will be able to give the first week of school back to instructors, so they can begin class the first day instead of using that time to check for prerequisites.

The inside cover of the Spring 2005 Schedule of Classes is dedicated to this new procedure. There you can find out some details about the new system.

Here are some quick facts about prerequisite checking:

Prerequisite courses completed at Cerritos College will clear for current students to enroll.

Prerequisite courses in progress at Cerritos College will clear for current students to enroll.

Students need to take assessments (Math, English and Reading) and enroll into the recommended courses.

Students with prerequisite courses completed at another college need to bring those transcripts to their counseling appointment.

To receive units for courses completed at another college, an official transcript (in a sealed envelope) is needed.

“It is best for students to make counseling appointments after Jan 24, 2005,” Patrick said.

If the student is not eligible for the class, a letter or postcard will be sent out to notify the student that they have been dropped from the class because the courses’ prerequisite was not completed.

The system will even check the waiting list to see if those students are eligible for the class they are waiting in line for.

Bob Chester, faculty senate president and instructor, has been a part of the discussions about the prerequisite checking procedure.

He said that there are many questions faculty is currently examining as it moves toward the procedure.

Most of the questions deal with issues relating to how the faculty will educate students about the process, and how they will serve to address general questions and particular concerns during enrollment.

As to the faculty position, the primary purpose for prerequisite checking is to assure that students are enrolling in classes for which they are reasonably well-prepared.

This means that prerequisites have been “validated,” and essentially found to be directly related to the course, and appropriate preparation for students, enhancing successful completion of the course the prerequisite is assigned to.

Faculty members have been involved in a long process of validating prerequisites.

Faculty’s current concern is that the process of prerequisite checking does not interfere with student registration, and they can be sure students understand why they are not allowed to sign up for a specific course.

Faculty is also worried that students will not fully understand the procedure for what they should do if they are blocked from enrolling in a particular class, Chester said.

Some of the questions faculty is currently considering include, who will be reviewing and deciding individual enrollment appeals when a student believes that a prerequisite has been met? How will prerequisites be challenged or over-ruled?

“Faculty members believe that appropriate prerequisites are beneficial to long-term student success, but we want a procedure in place that assures us that students will not be turned away or mistakenly discouraged from enrolling,” Chester said.

He also feels that the final decision about this process will not be made until all questions have been answered and the procedures are clearly understood by students and all others involved.