Dual Enrollment Observations
Since the sudden announcement that the future AP classes have been canceled forand SHS, I’ve been trying to get more information to see how this impacts my kids. The decision to cancel AP classes was made last year, but teachers at HHS were not even aware of the change. Teachers learned that their AP classes were not being offered when they were reviewing their students’ schedules. We still have not received any information from HHS so I’ve been sending out emails to get as much information as possible. Getting information in this fashion is slow.
The decision to cancel AP classes was based on two factors: cost and results. The money spent on AP classes is not seen as getting a good return on investment. This is the first response that I received about why the AP classes were canceled:
For those of you encountering resistance or pushback regarding the loss of or replacement of Advanced Placement classes with Dual Enrollment…During the 2010-2011 school year, 230 students took AP classes at SHS and HHS. Of these 230, 79 students scored a 3-5 (college acceptance level at various colleges or universities). This equates to a 34% success rate.
Percentage-wise, out of fourteen courses between the two schools, five had a 50% or higher pass rate ((3-5) on the AP exams (36%). Three had a higher than 60% pass rate (21%).
Based upon the 2009-2010 data available, SHS had one of five courses where more than 30% of the students scored a passing score (3-5).
Looking at the 2010-2011 data, HHS had tremendous success with their AP Calculus courses. More than 75% (23/26) of the students in these courses scored a passing score on the AP exam. The math teachers at HHS are to be congratulated!
Given the fact that, by policy, all students must take the AP exam if they are enrolled in the high school course AND there is no subsidy for this exam (parents must pay the $100 per exam), the end does not justify the means. We are not providing the customer service level appropriate to the investments required by our students and/or parents.
Therefore, we must find a better solution. It is my recommendation that our students be provided the maximum opportunity to complete dual enrollment classes at each high school. This will allow them to maximize their lottery scholarship opportunities as well. It will increase the rigor and relevance of our curriculum as we prepare students for post-secondary work. (Given the statistics previously presented, the current AP offerings, for the most part, are not meeting this objective.)
At SHS this school year, a number of our students will graduate with 3-18 hours of college credit through the dual enrollment program. This will be accomplished at no cost to them or their parents. Had they been dependent upon the AP courses/exams, the costs would have been on them and, statistically, they would have had little chance of passing the exams.
It is time for us to stop worrying about “tags” on a transcript and class rankings. We must focus on whether or not our children are truly ready for the world of work and college when they cross the stage in May.
Finally, according to the Complete College Tennessee Act, every public college/university in Tennessee MUST accept community college credit as transfer hours. It is my belief that most of the private schools will do so too. If not, the rigor of the coursework in the dual enrollment program will prove far more beneficial to the student, as he or she prepares for the next level, than the AP courses where less than half of the participants are prepared for the examination designed to measure the success/rigor of the instruction/learning of that high school course.”
If you have further questions please feel free to contact the board office or myself.
At this time, only one teacher at HHS has the proper credentials to teach a dual enrollment class. The school district is looking to augment the teaching staff with online resources from local institutions like NSCC or APSU, but these details have not been worked out. My high schooler is due to select her classes for next year, and I’ve not seen a list of which classes are dual enrollment classes. I’m still wondering if this will be the second major change to negatively impact my daughter’s transcript. The cost for dual enrollment is from state and district money. The State Dual Enrollment Grant is funding $300 per class, and the school district has committed to the extra $117 to fully fund the cost. I’ve been told that the district is committed to funding the costs over the $300 from the State grant money. In comparison, parents are paying the $100 test fee, rather than the district.
Previously a high school student could schedule as many approved AP classes as they could fit into their schedule. A student is limited to 4 dual enrollment classes in the junior and senior year. Any additional classes will reduce their HOPE scholarship money.
At this time the dual enrollment credits are not as widely as accepted as the AP credits. The standards for the AP classes were tightly controlled by the College Board, the same company that administers the SAT. Most colleges and universities accept AP credits, but dual enrollment credits are relatively new to Tennessee. The amount of credit is usually based on the score received on the AP test. It’s somewhat more confusing for dual enrollment credits. All Tennessee state institutions will accept the credits, but acceptance varies widely for private and out of state colleges. We’ve received more negative responses from a few universities. For example, Stanford will not accept dual enrollment credits, but they will take AP credits. Vanderbilt University will not award college credit for courses which were already granted high school credit, but they will grant AP credits. On a good note, the smaller private colleges in Nashville seem to accept the dual enrollment credits. This may change in the near future. Tim Webb is working with Claude Pressnell, who is president of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA), to get private colleges/universities to accept dual enrollment credit. These details have not been ironed out, yet the AP classes have already been cut.
The rigor of the dual enrollment classes is being put forth as a measure of college preparedness. The rigor and the low success rates on the AP tests is being cast in a different light. Perhaps the students that did not fare well on the AP tests would not have been prepared for a college level class in that subject. Unfortunately the scoring on the AP tests is outside of the district’s control, but the district does have some input into the curriculum and scoring of a dual enrollment classes.
The decision to cancel the AP classes has not been a popular decision with some students or parents. An online petition has been created to get the AP classes back into the curriculum. The AP credits are more worthwhile to students that are looking at out-of-state universities. I have to admit that I was really happy that I could reduce my class load by 15 hours during my freshman year thanks to a 5 on an AP Calculus exam. This may work out in the end, but I’m surprised that the district moved forward on cutting the AP classes without finalizing all the details on the dual enrollment classes.
Update, 2/8, 11:30AM: The School Board received a petition by HHS students to reinstate AP classes next year at the high school, and the School Board rejected the petition.