Earn Credit in High School
"Earn Credit in High School" submitted by SchoolGrantsfor Editorial Team and last updated on Friday 27th May 2011
Jump Start complements your high school experience and is part of your academic day. Students participate in apprenticeship training and post-secondary courses, earning dual credits that count towards their high school diploma and their post-secondary diploma, degree or apprenticeship certification.
Look into taking Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses in high school and then take the exams to earn college credit. AP and IB exams are offered in a number of subjects, but some colleges limit the number of units you can earn this way. You may be able to take community college courses while in high school through a dual enrollment program. If your school doesn’t offer one, try enrolling directly on your own.
The benefits are numerous! Earning college credit while in high school has many benefits, including saving money on future college tuition, graduating from college earlier and being more prepared for rigorous college-level study. There are a variety of programs which enable students to start college with a number of credits under their belt. You earn college credit that may be transferred to a four-year college or university, can explore career options, and receive tuition reduction and other financial assistance, if eligible.
Students over the age of 16 who have failed a high school class or are short of credits toward graduation are eligible for high school credit courses. Students and parents must work with their local high school guidance counselor or at-risk coordinator in determining the best educational plan. Local school districts will continue to issue diplomas, align curriculum, determine what constitutes a credit, establish a credit award system, identify assessments, set school calendars, select and purchase textbooks, etc. Local school boards and districts will continue to have flexibility to determine "how" to implement these new graduation requirements and when students have earned the credits.
Challenging Courses = Big Rewards
Earning college credit in high school is not new. The Advanced Placement program has been around for decades. Students take college-level AP classes at their high school. To earn college credit, they then must get a high score on a nationally administered test. Many students who take the classes never take the tests, and many don't make a high enough grade to earn credit.
In dual credit, students simply must pass the class to receive college credit – a much better deal, counselors tell students. The Dual Credit Program may provide a more stimulating environment for some students, helping them to succeed. The number of students taking dual-credit classes has more than doubled in the last five years, primarily because of changes in state law requiring high schools to offer students the opportunity to earn at least 12 college credit hours while in high school.
But the increasing number of students getting more and more credits raises issues about how prepared the students really are. Having credit accepted doesn't mean it will help a student graduate earlier. The classes may or may not count toward a specific degree.
Students who take strong academic courses in high school are more likely to enroll in college and earn a degree. That's important, because higher education pays: On average, college graduates earn more than a million dollars more over a lifetime than those with only a high school education. High school graduates earn 42 percent more than high school dropouts
Learn and Earn Early College High Schools allow students to jump start their college education or gain career skills for free. Students in early college high schools attend a high school located on a college campus and can earn a high school diploma and two years of college credit or an associate degree in up to five years - for free!
Schools may waive the definition of "credit" to the extent that students must complete a course that includes a minimum amount of instruction. This allows schools to award credit based on demonstration of proficiency against the academic standards in a course that meets the requirements. Courses taught for high school credit in middle school must be equivalent to the high school course and cover the same Academic Standards. In addition, grades and credits for the course must be included on the student's high school transcript and factored into the cumulative GPA. These courses and credits may be used to fulfill the number of credits required for graduation.
Students can earn units of credit in the following ways:
- Qualified students in public high schools can take online college-credit courses in the areas of science, technology, and mathematics at no cost to them or to their families
- Students may receive at least 180 minutes of instruction per week throughout the school year (i.e., 108 hours of instruction for a full year course), or the equivalent, and demonstrate their mastery of the learning outcomes in the course. Five quality points may be awarded upon completion of selected courses in the 100-200 range and 6 quality points for 300 and 400 level courses. Interested students should speak with their high school guidance counselors who will have more information.
- Students earn both high school and college credit for completed courses. Access to these courses is provided during the regular school day or after school.
- Students may earn a maximum of 6 ½ units of credit by passing a state-developed or state-approved examination with a score of 85 percent or higher and passing an oral examination or completing a special project
- Transfer students may be awarded units of credit for work done outside the registered State high school in which he/she is enrolling.
- Students may obtain the unit of credit in visual arts and/or music, dance or theatre by participating in certain specified performance groups or advanced activities
- Public school grade eight students may be awarded credit for successful completion of high school courses and passing related examinations if certain conditions are satisfied. Grade eight acceleration for diploma credit is offered to students who demonstrate readiness as determined by the superintendent or his or her designee
- Under specific circumstances, students may earn credit via summer school
Note: Everything may vary from State to State, even school.