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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Dual enrollment: Do it right

Dual enrollment is worth doing — but do it right, argues Rob Jenkins, who’s been a dual enrollment student, parent and college dean.

Increasingly popular dual-enrollment programs let students earn college credits while still in high school. Some take classes on nearby college campuses, but often dual-credit courses are taught in the school by an adjunct professor or by a high school teacher.

Matthew Caypless, a dual-enrollment student in Alabama, will complete an associate degree in air conditioning and refrigeration and his high school diploma this month. Photo: Opelika Observer

Critics have questioned instructors’ qualifications and how programs are run, Jenkins concedes.

At eight Atlanta-area high schools, 59 percent of students earned A’s in college English classes taught by George State professors, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. At three of the schools, more than 95 percent got A’s. Only 38 percent of Georgia State students earn A’s in the same course.

“Done right, dual enrollment offers incredible benefits,” argues Jenkins. Students earn college credits at very low cost and tackle the academic challenges of college before they face the social challenges of dorm life.

However, “dual enrollment is most effective when students take courses on the college campus, rather than at their high school,” he writes.

When “college” courses meet on the high school campus, with high school teachers, is it any wonder they’re not always truly college courses? In addition . . . some high school teachers are in fact not qualified, which leads to problems with rigor and transferability of courses.

Advanced Placement tends to be “high school on steroids,” Jenkins writes.

Dual enrollment makes college possible, say first-generation Colorado students, who see it as “free college.”

A high school teacher, Education Realist sees dual enrollment courses as closet remediation.

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