Improvements recommended for college credit programs
By Denise Dick
Improvement in programs to allow dual high school and college credit is an important component as the state strives to bolster students’ college and career readiness and postsecondary success, according to a report from the Ohio chancellor.
Chancellor John Carey made his recommendations on the College Credit Plus program last month in a report to Gov. John Kasich and the state Legislature. He was required by law to issue the recommendations regarding the program that enables high school students to earn credits through Ohio colleges and universities.
“Ohio’s current dual-credit system is underutilized and is administered across the state with varying degrees of efficacy and quality,” Carey’s report says. “The General Assembly’s charge creates a great opportunity to transform this system into a highly effective and indispensable component of the state’s education infrastructure.”
While programs that enable Ohio’s high school students to earn college credit are many, most don’t take advantage of them, Carey’s report says.
Only about 5 percent of the state’s high school students participate in dual-credit programming, and that number has been consistent for several years. Nationally, however, participation has seen a 60 percent growth during the past eight years.
Participation by Ohio’s minority and low-income students is even lower in terms of percentage of the population.
Youngstown State University offers high school students dual credit through its College in High School program.
This year, participation includes 42 schools in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Portage counties with students taking 17 classes including calculus 1 and 2, physics, English literature, English composition, general chemistry 1 and 2, biology 1 and 2, French, Italian, history, communication foundations, general psychology, investigations into economic class and science by design. To be eligible for the classes that are available at participating schools, a student must be a junior or senior with a 3.0 grade-point average with ACT scores of 18 in English, 21 in reading and 22 in math. In the past, ACT scores of 23 composite and 23 in English were required.
YSU, in conjunction with the Youngstown City Schools, also offers Youngstown Early College. YEC students, most of whom are city school students, take college courses during the junior and senior years of high school and sometimes rack up enough credits to earn an associate degree upon high school graduation.
Carey’s goals as outlined in the report are to clearly define the College Credit Plus program, expand dual-credit participation among all demographic groups, create a transparent dual-credit funding system in which school districts and colleges equitably share in the costs, make each course purposeful and meaningful for the student, ensure parents and students receive comprehensive communication regarding the program and ensure data regarding the program are collected, reported and tracked.