0353_Edviews.org_Are Dual-Credit Courses Helping Poor, Minority Students in Texas? – Aug. 10, 2018

Donna Jack
August 10, 2018

From below:

it is time to rethink the long-term goals of dual-credit programs and whether they have expanded too aggressively without maintaining the rigor students need to succeed in college.

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From: Donna Garner <wgarner1@hot.rr.com>
Sent: Friday, August 10, 2018 4:40 PM
To: Donna Garner <wgarner1@hot.rr.com>
Subject: EDVIEWS.ORG – ARE DUAL-CREDIT COURSES HELPING POOR, MINORITY STUDENTS IN TEXAS? – DMN – 8.10.18

8.10.18 – Dallas Morning News

 “Are Dual-Credit Courses Helping Poor, Minority Students in Texas?”
By Dallas Morning News Editorial Board

 https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/2018/08/10/dual-credit-courses-helping-poor-minority-students-texas

 Excerpts from this article:

 …Dual-credit education programs were supposed to be one of those critical, difference-making strategies, allowing high school students — especially minority and low-income kids — to earn college credits. The idea was to inspire students who otherwise might not consider college, give students a chance to earn college credits earlier and cheaper, and ultimately increase college enrollment and completion rates.

Texas has been solidly behind these programs, eliminating a cap on the number of dual-credit courses a student may take and requiring that all school districts offer students the opportunity to earn the equivalent of at least 12 hours of college credit. As a result, dual-credit enrollment swelled from slightly below 80,000 students in 2008 to over 151,000 this past school year. 

This is why a draft report presented to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board analyzing dual-credit programs in Texas from 2001 to 2015 is so disquieting. The report found that the programs have barely moved the needle on college enrollment and performance. In addition, minority and low-income students are less likely to enroll in the courses and more apt to struggle with the rigors of college work.

…It’s reasonable to ask what gives, so we posed the question to Raymund Paredes, commissioner of the coordinating board. “Dual credit doesn’t help if you aren’t prepared to do college-level work,” he said. His fear is that teachers aren’t rigorous enough, rendering some courses little more than another high school course.

That is an eye-opening remark, because other studies show that dual-credit programs and early college high schools — specialized campuses with demanding courses designed to put kids on track to earn an associate’s degree while in high school — are effective.

 If Paredes is right, it is time to rethink the long-term goals of dual-credit programs and whether they have expanded too aggressively without maintaining the rigor students need to succeed in college. If the goal for dual-credit classes is just to have students graduate from high school with college credit, then we’re missing the point. High school students taking college-level courses must be able to do college work, not just amass college credits.

Getting students into college is only part of the battle. Equipping them to earn a degree is just as  important. Students must arrive on a college campus prepared for the work. If they don’t, it’s worth asking whether dual-credit programs have created a false sense of preparedness that, in the long run, benefits no one.  

By the numbers

151,669 — Dual-credit enrollment in Texas    

42 — Percentage of first-time students in Texas entering college not college-ready

 24.7 — Percentage of dual-credit participation for white students 

15.6 — Percentage of dual-credit participation for Hispanic students 

10.6 — Percentage of dual-credit participation for African-American students

SOURCES: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, 2018 Texas Public Higher Education Almanac, American Institutes for Research’s Dual-Credit Education Programs in Texas, Phase II   

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 10.7.16 — “Dual Credit Courses in Question” — Article by Dr. Raymund Paredes, Comm. of Higher Education Coordinating Board — Comments from Donna Garner – EdViews.orghttp://www.educationviews.org/dual-credit-chance-prepare-students-competitive-world/

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Donna Garner – Wgarner1@hot.rr.com

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