March 22, 2016

It’s Not About Some Students Getting College Credit. It’s About ALL Students Getting College Credit.

With all of the ways for high school students in Ohio to earn college credits, how do you choose the one that’s right for you?

The Norwalk Reflector recently completed a five-part series discussing the many options available for high school students. (Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.) The whole series is a great example of reporting that brings in many different perspectives. I really want to focus on the fourth and fifth articles in the series, which look at College Credit Plus (CCP) and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. For me, to read students success stories is a powerful tool for conveying the message to legislators and community about successful programs that are government-funded.

Norwalk High School senior Ashley Pechauer talked about her decision to take advantage of CCP to get the first two years of college credit while still in high school. She also estimated that it saved her nearly $43,200 in college debt. This is perfect situation and should be made available for all students in Ohio!

Two teachers from the Norwalk City School District discuss whether CCP is better that AP. Ultimately, both teachers see benefits of either option for earning college credit. But I think they’re missing a key point.

It all comes down to the rigor of the class. If a district spends a large amount for teaching AP courses but students can’t score high enough on the AP exams to earn college credit, is that a good investment? If first generation, low-income students can’t meet the GPA and entrance exams required by CCP, is CCP really for all?

Early college high schools across Ohio and the US have delivered results. Independent research around the data shows that early college students not only are able to earn an Associate Degree while in high school, but those who are shy credits towards degree completion will continue on in college after graduating high school to not only complete not only their Associate Degree, but also persist to a 4-year degree.

As we celebrate Early College High School Week, we need to ask ourselves some questions:

  • How do we make CCP a program for all students across Ohio?
  • How can other programs across the US support students who require more help so they can be successful in school, career and life?

While the number of early college high schools in the United States is increasing, there are many students being left behind. Let’s take the good programs being implemented and utilized in schools and make them ever better by building on the lessons of early college.

Let’s ensure that all of our children have the same opportunities for access and success in college.

Chuck Pollington

Written by: Chuck Pollington

Chuck Pollington is the Director of Business Development for KnowledgeWorks.

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