JEFF MEADORS: Dual enrollment vs. AP classes

I’ll get back to local history soon but news on the education front compels.

Georgia students gained a boost when Gov. Deal signed House Bill 131 this year — a mandate to school systems to weight Advanced Placement and dual enrollment classes equally. As public schools cram students into AP classes as one measure to boost annual score card performance now comes legislation leveling the playing field.

And for good reason.

College classes taken through dual enrollment at a Board of Regents location offer high degrees of transferability and are taught by faculty who put teaching first. They do not pull from HOPE credits. Students in college courses for which there is a high school EOCT do not struggle on the EOCT. College credits are now weighted the same as AP and return to the high school as a full Carnegie unit per 3-semester-hour class. Thus, a Chemistry 1152 class from August to December counts as a full year of high school science. A co-requisite science lab under House Bill 149 counts as a .5, although some school systems combine the lecture and lab into one full unit.

Students do not have to wait a year to start dual enrollment. Even when locked into an August – May high school class students may work around high school schedules to earn college credit starting January 2014.

New Jersey’s Star Ledger reported last month on agreements penned by Gloucester College and Rutgers University – Camden with local public schools.

Cincinnati educators struck a dual deal this month where Royalmont Academy and the College of Mount St. Joseph will lead students to the college pipeline.

And school board members in west Alabama found a $10K check dumped in the laps of students dually enrolled at Demopolis High School and the University of West Alabama. AT&T Alabama President Fred McCallum acclaimed, “… this impressive program …” and promised “to help these students take the next steps toward college … ”

Central Michigan University and Shiawassee Regional Service Education District are starting a dual enrollment program. Shiawassee County has no public university or community college. The demand for dual enrollment is so high that agreements for hybrid and face-to-face weekend classes attract high school students to college life.

News stories of inaugural dual enrollment agreements are plentiful, but local students in almost every area high school are within 5 to 20 miles of a dual enrollment program where, far from the jam-packed AP classes where college credit is never a given and is increasingly viewed with skepticism by four-year colleges, college campus class sizes are small, a focus on instruction is valued, science labs are state-of-the-art, and academic advisement is paramount.

Many four-year colleges now require placement exams for AP exam scores of 3 while others have raised the conversion from AP to college credit to a score of 4 or 5.

This Friday, Nov. 22, is the late registration deadline for both the Dec. 7 SAT and the Dec.14 ACT. Both exams are proctored locally at Georgia Perimeter College and one battery is required for dual enrollment.

I urge sophomores and juniors to test now.

Columnist Jeff Meadors may be reached at pjeffreymeadors@gmail.com