University Business October 2017 - 38

Concern: Dual enrollment credits
might not be counted.
Response: Provide academic advising
on course selection.
The credits earned through dual enrollment programs are often accepted by
colleges not directly involved in working
with high schools to offer the courses. A
2016 American Association of Collegiate
Registrars and Admissions Officers survey,

DUAL ENROLLMENT TO-DO:
START COLLECTING DATA
A failure to gather data-not rigor
or readiness-may be the biggest
issue facing early college programs,
believes Jason Taylor, an assistant
professor of higher education at the
University of Utah who has devoted
his career to studying dual enrollment.
"There is not a lot of empirical
evidence on whether the benefits
outweigh the costs," he says.
Tracking data on student
success and degree completion is
imperative as institutions expand dual
enrollment programs (once limited to
high-achieving students) to middleachieving and low-income students,
Taylor says. Proposed changes in
federal funding aims to allow students
to take out loans to participate.
But he acknowledges the
challenges in tracking data. "High
schools and colleges are separate
organizations that have different data
collection mechanisms, different
administrative record systems, and
different reporting requirements and
structures. This makes collecting data
and conducting research on dual
enrollment more difficult."
Moreover, states lack regulatory
mechanisms to ensure quality, leaving
decisions about program design
and instruction up to colleges and
universities, which means quality can
vary widely between programs.
"We've seen access [to dual
enrollment] expand without any
accountability mechanisms in place
and very little good research," he
says. "We need to be doing a much
better job of tracking outcomes."

38 | October 2017

conducted in partnership with Hobsons,
found that 86 percent of institutions accepted dual-enrollment credits for transfer. Public institutions are more likely than
private schools to accept the credits.
So the issue isn't with transfer credits,
per se. Instead, Jenkins says, "Students
often take random classes that aren't applicable to a major."
Research from The Greater Texas Foundation, an organization that awards scholarships to students enrolled in early college
high schools, in 2015 found that just 73
percent of transfer credits were accepted
toward their majors.
More robust academic advising-which
directs students toward core classes like
English 101 over niche offerings-could
help students increase the odds that their
dual enrollment credits will transfer, says
Jenkins of the Community College Research Center. "If colleges are offering these
courses and generating income, as part of
their accreditation as degree-granting authorities, students should receive advising
to put them on a path to complete college."
Concern: Academic rigor suffers when
high school instructors teach dual
enrollment classes.
Response: Vet instructors carefully and
also train them.
There are anecdotal examples of lack of
rigor, says Adam Lowe, executive director
of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, an accrediting body.
"Most schools vet credentials, but it's not
uncommon for high school instructors to
be handed a syllabus and sent off to teach,"
he says.
As one condition of accreditation,
NACEP requires high school instructors to
undergo training and ongoing professional
development to teach dual enrollment
courses. College professors mentor high
school teachers and drop into classes to ensure appropriate college-level curriculum is
delivered. In many early college programs,
high school teachers take classes and are
certified by colleges to teach the curricula.
Jordan Patterson, dual enrollment
program director at Missoula CollegeUniversity of Montana, calls teacher credentials "the hardest thing" about offering

TODD GOODRICH

IS EARLY COLLEGE WORKING?

CREDIT CONVERSATION-Conferences
of the National Alliance of Concurrent
Enrollment Partnerships help ensure
dual enrollment students experience a
seamless transition into college.

the programs. High school instructors who
teach dual enrollment classes at the twoyear college must have the same credentials
as professors. Finding high school teachers
with advanced degrees can be so challenging that the college is sometimes unable to
offer certain classes.
Teachers with the right qualifications
must use college syllabuses and communicate with professors to ensure the classes
meet college standards. Even so, Patterson
says, "The students taking dual enrollment
at their high schools do get more handholding and have more interaction with
their instructors than they would with college professors."
The City University of New York takes
a different approach to ensure academic
rigor: College professors teach all of the
dual-enrollment courses. High school
instructors can teach only if they are also
adjunct professors.
"High school teachers are not qualified
to be adjuncts. These are real college classes-not AP courses," says Brian Donnelly,
CUNY's director of early college initiatives. "By using our instructors and monitoring the classes on our campuses, we can
protect the integrity of the program."
Jodi Helmer is a North Carolina-based
writer who frequently contributes to UB.
MORE ONLINE

State and federal actions for
improving early college access
UBmag.me/earlyaccess

www.universitybusiness.com


http://www.UBmag.me/earlyaccess http://www.universitybusiness.com

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