New Report Identifies Four Factors Essential to Effective College Credit in High School Programs
New Report Identifies Four Factors Essential to Effective College Credit in High School ProgramsZachary Goldberg, Senior Director, Media Relations
The College Board Policy Center today released a report from the College Credit in High School Working Group, a collection of leaders from K-12 and higher education that has identified four factors essential to strong college credit in high school (CCHS) programs.
From early career and technical education offerings, to the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs, to several different models of dual enrollment and early college high schools, CCHS programs now serve millions of students each year. These programs are intended to increase academic rigor, to engage students more effectively, and to better prepare students for college and career opportunities.
Rapid growth in CCHS offerings has been accompanied by concerns about consistent delivery of rigorous academic coursework, impact on college success, equal access to the benefits for disadvantaged students, and the extent to which families realize savings in college costs.
To better understand the challenges and opportunities provided by CCHS programs, the College Board Policy Center convened 18 experts and educators with diverse perspectives and expertise in relevant policy, research, and practice. Participants focused on how policymakers can understand how CCHS programs and practices can be most effectively implemented and targeted, which questions policymakers should ask about the programs they fund and create, and what is known and unknown about the research and evidence behind different programs.
The Working Group’s report identifies four factors essential to strong CCHS programs:
- Program quality and accountability: Are programs rigorous, and are there clear accountability structures for student outcomes?
- Value for time and dollars invested: Are students, institutions, taxpayers, and the workforce seeing positive outcomes?
- Equity and access: Do all students have access to programs, and are efforts made to help a diverse population of students succeed?
- Transparency around credit transfer: Do students know up front if and how CCHS credits will transfer to a college program, credential, or degree?
The report contains a checklist of related questions for each factor, to guide state and local policymakers and school leaders as they implement CCHS courses and programs. The report also includes: key background facts to inform anyone making decisions about CCHS programs; guiding principles for effective CCHS programs and profiles of three programs that exemplify one or more of those principles; core outcome metrics for researchers and those analyzing data about program effectiveness; and research questions to inform smart CCHS decisions for researchers and policy staff.
To ensure best practices across CCHS programs, policymakers, educators, researchers, and students must ask more questions about educational quality, costs, access, and credit portability. They should also insist on transparency about program outcomes and costs for students, families, and taxpayers. Every student deserves the opportunity to prepare for and participate in rigorous coursework that puts them on a successful path to higher education and the workforce. The Working Group believes that the tools provided in this report can help make that aspiration a reality.