Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dual enrollment

Many gifted young people are ready for college-level work before they officially graduate from high school. When they enroll in college courses at the same time they attend high school classes, this is called "dual enrollment" and, according to this recent article in the Omaha World-Herald, the practice is catching on. At least four districts in the Omaha area, the paper notes, are planning dual enrollment programs.

Of course, if this conjures up images of kids actually going to college campuses, that appears not to be the case in Omaha. Local colleges contract with high school teachers, approve a syllabus, and the teachers teach at the high school itself. So on some level, one could just call this more rigorous high school classes... which (unlike, for instance, AP classes) students have to pay for by the credit hour.

On the other hand, they don't have to pay much, and they do get college credit. Since college isn't cheap these days, this means students who enroll in local colleges can save some serious money on tuition (a point the particular reporter who wrote this piece seems mildly obsessed with). Even those who don't will probably benefit from more challenging coursework. So, on the whole, if this is catching on, I think it's a positive development.


Kevin said...

In places that have been doing dual enrollment for a while, the high schoolers are generally enrolled in real community college classes. Although these classes are sometimes located in high schools, that is not the common way to implement it. Most community colleges are not willing to give credit for classes taught at high schools by high school teachers.

Amber and Tom said...

We only had one option for dual enrollment, which was the first 2 college English classes (1301 and 1302 here in Texas). We were taught the college course by our high school English teacher, but we went to the community college to take exams. I was in a rural district, so maybe it was like that because it would be so inconvenient to get to the community college (45 mile drive).

Anonymous said...

I did dual enrollment after I was denied admission to IMSA. I would go to HS during the day and then take classes at the local community college at night. It was a confidence booster and also gave me a head start on my college career. I think it is an excellent idea. AP classes are fine, but you are doing the college level work (and sometimes they are harder classes) with no guarantee for credit. I would really like to see this as an option for more students.