College ready by 11th grade

Students who pass exams at the end of 10th grade could take college-level technical or academic classes under an ambitious pilot program called Excellence for All. High schools are having trouble preparing students for college by the end of 12th grade.

Also on Community College Spotlight:  As North Carolina high schools raised graduation rates, remediation rates rose at community colleges.

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  1. Catherine says:

    Isn’t this just grade acceleration in high school, rather like AP classes except they’re not taught by high school teachers? As such, I love programs like this, especially because they allow motivated students to 1) save money on college, 2) leave high school environments that often socially penalize focused students, and 3) start college while living at home and still subject to parental monitoring. The last is important to help them develop good study habits and not succumb so easily to the wide-scale substance abuse that happens in campus dorms and housing near campus.
    Of course, my experience colors my opinion. I skipped 12th grade altogether, moving on to college instead. A relative at my high school told me I was missing out on THE BEST YEAR SOCIALLY by doing so–her argument was completely unconvincing to me, for the first three years had been unpleasant socially and I was ready to get out and go to a place where I could study in peace without being constantly reminded that I “didn’t fit in”. (I never did get a high school diploma, but my employers have been satisfied with a J.D.)

  2. I like the PSEO (Post Secondary Enrollment Option) that MN has; qualified kids get to attend the local CC or 4-yr college of their choice and the home district pays their expenses. It was designed for juniors/seniors as an alternative to AP or in subjects the HS didn’t offer APs, but I’ve known of kids who never attended HS but went right to CC. Despite the HS-are-the-best-years-of-your-life crowd, it isn’t always the case and I think it’s particularly not the case for very smart kids who don’t have interest/talent in the sports/social aspects of HS and/or are bored with the academic offferings. The option could be expanded to cover voc ed. I think NH has recently created a program that has kids select either voc ed or college prep after sophomore year. However, there should be entrance standards, just as there are for the PSEO program and I’m not all that confident that the “exam” in question is really going to be sufficient because there have been so many of this type that have been otherwise.

    Still, this programs sounds a bit like another chapter in the “high expectations” playbook that often ignores the reality that high expectations cannot compensate for a lack of ability, motivation and/or preparation, particularly at the HS level. I remember reading recently about a girl who wanted to be a physician but had something like 5th-grade reading/math skills as a sophomore or junior. I’m sorry; med school (or nursing school) is just not a realistic, achievable goal for a kid at that level and telling her otherwise is dishonest and just plain cruel. She’d be better advised to work very hard at remediation work and to look at other options in the medical field that can be done in an CC or certificate program.