Four Questions for Evaluating College Credit in High School Programs
December 7, 2017

Millions of students nationwide are opting to earn college credit while still in high school, but not all credit opportunities are created equal. A new report highlights key factors to help ensure that college credit in high school (CCHS) programs effectively serve all students.

The College Credit in High School Working Group, convened by the College Board, recommends that policymakers and advocates ask the following essential questions when considering AP, IB, dual enrollment, and other CCHS opportunities:

  • Are programs rigorous, and are there clear accountability structures for student outcomes?
  • Are students, institutions, taxpayers, and the workforce seeing positive outcomes?
  • Do all students have access to programs, and are efforts made to help a diverse population of students succeed?
  • Do students know upfront if and how CCHS credits will transfer to a college program, credential, or degree?

The report also provides background data on existing CCHS programs, profiles of exemplary CCHS opportunities, and suggested indicators that can be used as metrics of success for CCHS goals.

For additional information on the costs of dual enrollment programs, check out this analysis from working group member Marguerite Roza, director of the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University. Studies have shown that dual enrollment boosts degree attainment rates, but some common assumptions about cost savings for states are inaccurate. According to Roza’s three-state analysis, dual enrollment programs actually provide zero state savings as compared to the costs of students taking those courses later in college.

“Lawmakers may well decide that the investment in their costlier college credit in high school programs is worth it,” Roza said. “But policymakers should be clear-eyed about what they are getting and what fiscal trade-offs are involved.”

To connect with advocates working on college credit in high school opportunities, please reach out.


Christina Dobratz

Christina is PIE Network's Manager, Communications & Policy  

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