Do intense high school programs help students?

22 Jul

Catherine Gewertz reports in the Education Week article, High School Rigor Narrows College-Success Gap

Students from some racial- and ethnic-minority groups and those from low-income families enroll in college and succeed there at lower rates than their white, wealthier peers. But a new study suggests that if teenagers are adequately prepared for college during high school, those gaps close substantially.

The “Mind the Gaps” study, by ACT, draws on the Iowa City, Iowa-based testmaker’s earlier research showing that taking a strong core curriculum in high school and meeting benchmark scores in all four subjects of the ACT college-entrance exam enhance students’ chances of enrolling in college, persisting there for a second year, earning good grades, and obtaining a two- or four-year degree.

The ACT defines a college-ready curriculum as four years of English, and at least three each of mathematics, science, and social studies. The study found that “college-ready” scores on the ACT exam correlate with earning good grades in entry-level, credit-bearing college courses. Fewer than one-quarter of students currently meet those benchmarks in all four subject areas of the exam, however. (“Rate of Minorities Taking ACT Continues to Rise,” Aug. 25, 2010.)

A lot of the foundation for success in high school is built by a solid grounding in the basics during elementary school and that is where we are failing a lot of children.

Joel Vargas has an excellent article in Education Week, Early-College High Schools: ‘Why Not Do It for All the Kids?’

Hidalgo, Texas, has one of the most successful school systems in the United States. The dropout rate is nearly zero, and the high school regularly lands on a top-school list published by U.S. News & World Report. Last June, when members of the high school graduating class crossed the stage to receive their diplomas, 95 percent of them could proudly point to their college credits as well. Two-thirds of the graduating seniors had earned at least a full semester of credits toward a college degree.

It’s time for the nation to pay attention when any community boasts results like these. These are especially remarkable in one of the most economically depressed areas of the United States, just across the Rio Grande River from Mexico, with one of the lowest number of college-educated adults. Nine out of 10 students in the high school are considered economically disadvantaged, 99.5 percent are Hispanic, and 53 percent entered with limited proficiency in English.

The story of Hidalgo is not only one of success, but of turning around an entire school district. In the late 1980s, student achievement in Hidalgo ranked in the bottom 10 percent in Texas. But local leaders took giant steps to improve student performance, and they gained support from every segment of the surrounding community. Over the next two decades, everyone—from bus drivers to principals, from teachers to school board members—began to focus on doing what it takes to raise the achievement levels of all 3,500 young people in the Hidalgo schools.

You can’t be afraid of change,” says school board President Martin Cepeda. “It starts from the superintendent all the way to the custodians. … Everybody counts. Everybody.”

One key to the turnaround came when Daniel King, the superintendent of the school district at the time, enlisted four partners: the University of Texas-Pan American, the University of Texas System, the Communities Foundation of Texas/Texas High School Project, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Together, the partnership formulated an innovative plan to create an “early-college high school.”

Over the next two decades, everyone—from bus drivers to principals, from teachers to school board members—began to focus on doing what it takes to raise the achievement levels of all 3,500 young people in the Hidalgo schools.”

The early-college design is a vehicle for providing traditionally underserved students with an opportunity to earn a substantial number of college credits along with a high school diploma. Students spend fewer years and less money achieving a college credential. Hidalgo took this cutting-edge idea and extended it: By embedding a college and career culture in everyday activities, from elementary school through middle school and into high school, the school system motivates all of its students to believe that they can and will go on to postsecondary education.

The Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University has an interesting report by Katherine L. Hughes, Olga Rodriguez, Linsey Edwards, and Clive Belfield

Here are the policy recommendations of Broadening the Benefits of Dual Enrollment:

Policy Recommendations

Policymakers and community leaders can build on the lessons learned from the Concurrent Courses initiative and further reduce the barriers to program development and student participation. Based on the experience and outcomes attained in high schools and colleges across California, here are three high-value recommendations for state policymakers.

Remove funding penalties: To encourage dual enrollment, California should adopt a “hold harmless” funding model for dual enrollment, in which neither participating institution loses any ofits per-pupil funding for dually-enrolled students. State policy should also require, rather than allow, colleges to waive student fees.

Make dual credit earning consistent and portable: State policy should mandate that dualenrollment students automatically earn dual credit — both high school and college credit — forcollege courses they complete. In addition, a statewide system that facilitates the portability of college credits would ease student transfer and help ensure that students do not repeat courses theyhave already taken. This would benefit all California college students.

Standardize broad student eligibility: At present, California policy sets no statewide academic

eligibility criteria for dual enrollment participation but stipulates that participating colleges may do so. Following the standard of student eligibility for community colleges, the state should encourage broad access and prevent students from being disqualified by grades or test scores alone. The experience of dual enrollment implementation partners leads to five recommendations for institutions.

Continue to make dual enrollment available on both the high school and college campuses.Courses on the college campus provide a fuller and more authentic college experience; college opportunities must also be available at high school for students who lack transportation.

Explore ways to ensure authenticity of the high school-based program format. Courses delivered at high school must have the same rigor and quality as college campus-based courses, andstudents must be held to the same standards of achievement as those in campus-based programs.

Provide professional development to dual enrollment instructors. High school teachers mayneed greater assistance in creating a college-like atmosphere, and college instructors may need insights into scaffolding and other pedagogical strategies to support high school students.

Identify dedicated college staff to smooth logistical challenges. In particular, colleges should identify a student services staff member knowledgeable about and responsible for registration of dual enrollment students.

Obtain student consent to share college records. High school administrators and counselors need to be aware of how students are doing in their college coursework; monitoring progress is essential to providing needed interventions.          http://www.concurrentcourses.org/files/CCI_policy_brief_2012jul16.pdf

Citation:

Broadening the Benefits of Dual Enrollment

By: Katherine L. Hughes, Olga Rodriguez, Linsey Edwards & Clive Belfield — July 2012. New York: Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University

This study suggests that career-focused dual enrollment programs—in which high school students take college courses for credit—can benefit underachieving students and those underrepresented in higher education. The study found that California students who participated in dual enrollment as part of their high school career pathway were more likely than similar students in their districts to graduate from high school, enroll in four-year colleges, and persist in college. They also accumulated more college credits and were less likely to take remedial classes. The three-year study, funded by The James Irvine Foundation, examined the outcomes of almost 3,000 students participating in eight dual enrollment programs across California. Sixty percent of participants were students of color, forty percent came from non-English speaking homes, and one third had parents with no prior college experience.
–A practitioner brief and a policy brief are available at:
http://www.concurrentcourses.org/publications.html.

–Read the technical report at: http://www.postsecondaryresearch.org/index.html?Id=News&Info=New+NCPR+Working+Paper+on+Outcomes+for+Dual+Enrollment+Students.

As with anything there are pros and cons for each student regarding whether a dual enrollment program should be part of their school experience.

Studypoint has a great article, Dual Enrollment Programs: The Pros and Cons:

There are a number of benefits to dual-enrollment programs. Earning college credit while still in high school sounds like a dream for many students. In addition, these programs introduce students to the rigors of college coursework early, and recent studies have shown that students who participate in dual-enrollment programs are more likely go on to get a college degree. But is dual enrollment right for your child?

Why Should My Child Consider a Dual-Enrollment Program?

  • Dual enrollment gives students an idea of what full-time college coursework will be like, says ecampustours.com. By trying out a few classes while still in high school, your child can get used to the academic environment before he or she leaves the comfort and support of home.
  • Your child may be able to take classes that aren’t offered at his or her high school.
  • College courses can give your student a closer look at his or her area of academic interest. If your child is currently loving AP history, a college course next year on the Civil War or the Great Depression will help him or her explore that period in greater depth and precision.
  • According to collegeboard.com, most students change their majors at least once. Taking a college class as a high school senior can help your child find his or her area of interest before the pressure is on to declare a major.
  • If your student didn’t qualify to take AP courses, or if those courses weren’t available at your child’s high school, taking a college-level class will help him or her demonstrate the ability to handle more difficult coursework, according to ecampustours.com. This ability is something every college admissions officer wants to see.
  • Due to the large number of online and virtual classes offered by many schools, dual-enrollment courses may be conducted right at your child’s high school, says ecampustours.com. Ask your student’s guidance counselor about dual-enrollment options in your area.
  • Perhaps the biggest benefit of dual enrollment is that your student may start accumulating college credits, helping him or her graduate on time or even early.

Dual Enrollment Sounds Great! Is There Any Reason My Child Shouldn’t Participate?

  • If a course is already available at your child’s school, it might be best to take it there. Colleges may wonder why a student has chosen to take an intro class at a community college if there’s an AP class in the same subject available at the high school level. (High school AP classes may well prove more challenging than an intro-level college course.) If the college course won’t give your student something above and beyond what’s available at his or her high school, take a pass.
  • If a college class will interfere with your child’s regular coursework or extracurriculars, it may not be a good idea. A college course should enhance a student’s resume, but not at the expense of other resume-enhancing activities. When considering scheduling, be sure to take into account not just the normal class schedule but breaks as well, cautions Nevada’s Great Basin College; your local high school and community college may not operate on the same academic calendar. A different holiday schedule could cause conflicts with class trips, family vacations, or out-of-town athletic commitments.
  • A college course in music appreciation is a great resume booster—as long as your child plans to go into music. If he or she is planning a career in chemistry, the music class won’t help, and could raise questions about the academic rigor of your child’s senior year courses. Carefully consider the academic value of any class your child is considering.
  • Dual-enrollment courses are real college courses for real college credit; the grades will go on your student’s permanent record. Before enrolling, make sure your student is ready for the demanding work a college class will require, or it could hurt his or her chances at college acceptance down the line, recommends Florida’s Valencia Community College. Furthermore, if a student fails a dual-enrollment course, it could mean he or she won’t graduate high school on time.
  • If your child is considering a dual-enrollment program for the purpose of earning college credits, be sure of the value of the credits. For each college where your child may apply next year, check to see how many credits (if any) a dual-enrollment class would earn your child. The credit policy will depend on the school.

Where Should We Start?

  • Rules for dual-enrollment eligibility vary from state to state, so students should check with their high school guidance counselors to find out if they qualify, says ecampustours.com. Usually, students must be at least 16 years old and have a GPA of at least 2.5; they may also have to take placement tests. Students will also need permission from parents/guardians and a guidance counselor or principal.
  • Your child’s guidance counselor will also be able to provide information about financial obligations. Many states pay for dual enrollment; in other states, students must pay. http://www.studypoint.com/ed/dual-enrollment/

In The GED as a door to the future, moi said:

This world is in a period of dislocation and upheaval as great as the period of dislocation which ushered in the “industrial revolution.” The phrase “new, new thing” comes from a book by Michael Lewis about innovation in Silicon Valley. This historical period is between “new, new things” as the economy hopes that some new innovator will harness “green technology” and make it commercially viable as the economy needs the jump that only a “new, new thing” will give it. Peter S. Goodman has a fascinating article in the New York Times, Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs

Unless, children are given a meaningful education which provides them with basic skills to adapt to a changing environment, the education system is producing a permanent underclass which will not be able to participate in the next “new, new thing. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/the-ged-as-a-door-to-the-future/

Resources:

Dual enrollment may not benefit every student http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/30867913/ns/today-parenting_and_family/t/dual-enrollment-may-not-benefit-every-student/#.UAw88JFDS1R

Do high school dual-enrollment/AP classes push kids too far ahead in college? http://blogs.ajc.com/momania/2012/05/17/do-high-school-dual-enrollmentap-classes-push-kids-too-far-ahead-in-college/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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