Glossary of academic terms



For those who have never attended college before, the following brief explanation of common terms used at Porterville College is provided.

A.A., Associate in Arts: Degree granted by California Community Colleges.
A.A.-T, Associate in Arts for Transfer: Degree granted by California Community Colleges and intended for students who plan to complete a bachelor's degree in a similar major at a CSU campus.
A.S., Associate in Science: Degree granted by California Community Colleges.
A.S.-T, Associate in Science for Transfer: Degree granted by California Community Colleges and intended for students who plan to complete a bachelor's degree in a similar major at a CSU campus.
Academic Disqualification: Students are placed in this status after being on probation for three consecutive semesters.
Academic Probation: Status of students who have cumulative GPAs below 2.00. A meeting with a counselor is required to register for any future semester.
Articulation: Articulation agreements identify specific courses or sequences of courses at one institution that are considered comparable to, or acceptable in lieu of, a course or course sequence at another institution.
Assessment: The process of collecting student information through standardized tests, academic transcripts, surveys, and interviews for the purpose of assisting students with the development of educational plans.
ASSIST: ASSIST is a computerized student-transfer information system that can be accessed over the World Wide Web ( It displays reports of how course credits earned at one California college or university can be applied when transferred to another. ASSIST is the official repository of articulation for California's colleges and universities and, therefore, provides the most accurate and up-to-date information available about student transfer in California. For further information, see a counselor.
Bachelor's Degree: Degree granted by four-year colleges. Usually the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or the Bachelor of Science (B.S.).
Catalog Rights: Refers to the right of the student to elect to meet the graduation requirements in effect the academic year of first enrollment, as long as continuous enrollment is maintained, or at the time of graduation. Catalog rights apply only to Porterville College graduation and program requirements. If other institutions change their requirements for entrance, graduation, satisfaction of general education patterns or in other ways, it may be necessary for the student to meet the new requirements upon transfer, even if continuous enrollment has been maintained.
Certificate of Achievement: A certificate of achievement is awarded for the completion of a formal instructional program, with a minimum of 18 units, which is designed to give the learner the skills, knowledge and attitudes required for a specific field or endeavor.
Class Schedule: The listing of courses including hours, instructors, and room assignments offered each semester.
Community Education Classes: Fee-funded avocational and recreational classes. These classes carry no credit value.
Credit Course: Courses for which units are granted.
Electives: Courses taken by the student which do not fulfill any specific requirement but provide units toward the degree.
General Education: Certain groups of courses required of all degree candidates regardless of their major. These may differ for the A.A. and A.S. Degrees and for transfer.
Grade Point Average (G.P.A.): The average of a student's grades.
Hybrid Course: A course utilizing more than one mode of instructional delivery. Instruction may be delivered by such modes as, for example, the Internet, email, video, and the classroom.
Job Skills Certificate: The Job Skills Certificate (less than 18 units) document the satisfactory completion of training in a specific area of study. Job Skills Certificates are not included on transcript.
Lower Division: The first two years of college work, i.e., freshman and sophomore years and/or courses. By law, only lower division work can be offered at Porterville College.
Major: The major field of study a student plans to pursue, i.e., biology, nursing, etc.
Student Success: A process to assist students in attaining their educational goals consisting of orientation, assessment, counseling and student educational plans.
Non-Credit (ungraded) Course: Course for which no units are given.
Online: Courses delivered via the Internet. Students must have access to a computer and Internet Service Provider (ISP) with an e-mail address. Online courses allow students to attend class “anytime, anywhere.” Course content and requirements are the same as traditional Face To Face (F2F) courses on the main campus.
Open Entry/Open Exit: Open entry/open exit allows a student to enroll in a class any day or evening throughout the school year and to finish a course any time during the school year.
Orientation: Orientation is recommended for all new students and should be done after assessment testing.
Pass No-Pass Grading: A grading system allowing a course to be taken for a grade of Pass No-Pass rather than for a letter grade of A, B, C, D, F.
Placement: The process of advising a student to enroll in a particular course based on valid prerequisites, valid standardized tests, and other multiple measures.
Prerequisite: A requirement which must be completed prior to enrollment in a course. If required, it is listed in the course description. Prerequisites are expressed as minimum requirements. For example, with a grade of “C” means that a grade of “C” or higher is acceptable.
Progress Disqualification: Status of students with 50 percent or more of their units with grades of W, I, or NC for three consecutive semesters. Students can only be readmitted by petition.
Progress Probation: Status of students with 50 percent or more of their units with grades of W, I, or NC. Students must see a counselor before they can register for a future semester.
Recommended: If a course has “recommended preparation” it means that it is possible, but difficult, to successfully complete the course without the recommended preparation.
Semester Unit: In general, a semester unit represents one hour of lecture or three hours of laboratory per week for a semester. Graduation requires that at least 60 semester units be completed. One semester unit is equivalent to one-and-a-half quarter units.
Student Educational Plan: A plan developed for each student which identifies the student's educational objectives and the courses, services, and programs to be used to achieve them.
Transcript (of Record): Copy of student's college record prepared by the Office of Admissions and Records .
Update: Students must update their basic information before they can register for any semester. This can be done in the Counseling Office.
Upper Division: The last two years of college work, i.e., junior and senior years and/or courses. Upper division work is not offered nor generally accepted in transfer at Porterville College.
April 29, 2015