Accelerating Articulation: Final Report from the National Articulation Forum

Colleges and universities want to create more opportunities for students to progress seamlessly between study in further and higher education. This means more students need to be supported to avoid repeating levels of study across different qualifications. Known as “articulation”, this has been an option for learners for over twenty years and runs very effectively between some institutions and as a route into some courses.

The current challenge is how to scale-up this route, make it more accessible in every college and university and make it more desirable to a much bigger group of students. Achieving this would offer learners more choice and help to widen access to university education. Colleges and universities worked together, and with other stakeholders, as part of a National Articulation Forum throughout 2019/20 to listen to student views, review progress and to put together a set of 14 recommendations which can accelerate progress with articulation. This has been pulled together in a report, with thanks to considerable support from the Scottish Funding Council, called the National Articulation Forum Final Report. This builds on, and from, the Commission on Widening Access.

You can read the full report or if you don’t have time, here are 9 things you need to know.

The Forum’s work was done with students, for students

Almost 100 college and university students shared their experience of articulation, the good and the bad, to inform the research. In total, the Forum held 13 focus groups in locations across Scotland. On the whole, students felt that articulation had been an empowering experience, helping them to achieve their potential. The importance of well-managed transitions was one of the strongest recurring themes. Students also told us that they felt supported to make decisions if they knew about the options and support that would be available. Another strong theme was the need to have good articulation options locally; many students said they wouldn’t want to or couldn’t move to pursue articulation in another area of Scotland due to family and caring responsibilities and/or a job. Watch student Myles discuss his experience articulating from college into university:

Key Points:

  • Over 4,000 learners articulated from college into university with full credit for their Higher
    National (HN) qualification in 2017/18.
  • Learners now have articulation options at a broader range of universities. Institutions that previously had no, or very limited, engagement in articulation before are developing new pathways to offer students more choice.
  • Articulation has a role in Scotland’s recovery and renewal after COVID-19, particularly in supporting young adults. The report’s findings are focused on creating more flexbile opportunities for learners and closer collaboration between colleges and universities.

Further Reading


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