ST. GEORGE – High school students today are concerned about more than just entering college: in many cases, they hope to enroll with up to half the credits needed for a bachelor’s degree.
Based on data provided by the state of Utah and the local schoolIn Southern Utah Districts, Southern Utah High School Students Are On Track To Earn More College Credit Than Ever Before.
“The real limit is having qualified instructors and being able to offer the opportunity,” said Principal Dennis Heaton of Canyon View High School. “If you have that, you can always ask the kids to go to class. “
In Washington County and Iron County school districts, the vast majority of college credit is available through concurrent enrollment and advanced placement courses. Concurrent enrollment is attracting significantly more students to high schools in the region, in part due to the variety of courses offered and the recent emphasis from state and local administrators.
In 2020, high school students in Iron County earned 148 credits through Advanced Placement, which would translate to a total enrollment of approximately 250 students. Compare that to the total concurrent enrollment of over 1,300 students between the three high schools in the district.
“For us, I think the AP fills some of the gaps,” said Roy Mathews, principal of secondary education at Iron County School. “We are quite heavily invested in simultaneous registration. Our AP (enrollment) will remain stable or likely drop.
Washington County School District Assistant Superintendent Richard Holmes said the story is roughly the same in his district, although AP enrollments and concurrent enrollments are increasing.
For the Washington County School District, AP courses had a total enrollment of 2,038 students in 2021. Enrollment is up about 10% from 2020, with 183 more students than last year.
Concurrent enrollments in Washington County increased 12% in 2021 to 6,700 students from 5,998 in 2020.
One of the most marked differences between AP courses and concurrent enrollment is the method of assessment.
Concurrent enrollment courses are structured very similarly to the middle class of a high school or college: students get a grade for their attendance, classes, and exam results. A passing grade qualifies this student for college credit.
“Students can take concurrent enrollment courses and receive college credit, and you can see that there is a big draw for a student,” Holmes said. “They might say, ‘You know what, I’m going to go ahead and get my associate degree, so when I go to college I’m way ahead of the game.’
AP courses generally consist of one year of teaching ending with a final exam. High school teachers do their best to prepare students for the exam, and students earn high school credits regardless of the exam results, but college credits are only awarded to successful students. the test. Usually that means scoring three or more out of five possible points.
Mathews said the choice between concurrent enrollment and AP classes can often come down to the student’s intended destination after high school. Most AP courses will be accepted by universities and colleges nationwide for some type of college credit, while concurrent enrollment credits are often only transferable between public schools.
“Both offer the same thing,” said Mathews. “With the concurrent class, if you pass the class, you have college credit. With the AP exam you run the risk that if you do not pass this exam it is for nothing. But if you can pass an AP exam, I would definitely say you are ready for this content at the college level.
AP courses are delivered in schools using programs created and overseen by a national nonprofit organization known as the College Board. Sherry Bushnell, testing coordinator at Dixie High School, said the College Board has significantly expanded the resources available to teachers and students in recent years, adding more online learning tools.
“The kids are enrolled from the first week of school, and from there the teachers have an AP classroom that has all kinds of instructions and videos that go along with the program,” she said.
On the other hand, concurrent enrollment courses are delivered in a variety of ways and at a number of locations depending on the school and district.
In Washington County, college credit is typically earned through Dixie State University. Most courses are offered on the DSU campus, but in some cases a teacher may be qualified and approved by the university to teach concurrent enrollment courses at each high school.
In contrast, most concurrent enrollments in Iron County are either conducted face-to-face at local high schools by qualified instructors, through broadcast, or through online-only instruction. Students in Iron County primarily receive their college credit through Southern Utah University.
It should be noted that students with specific career / professional goals may be able to earn concurrent enrollment credits through Dixie Technical College or Southwest Technical College, depending on their high school.
While fees may vary by district, there is a significant difference in the cost to students between AP courses and concurrent enrollment.
“With AP, you’re looking between $ 90 and $ 115 (per test), depending on the test,” Heaton said. “So if you take multiple AP courses, you are looking at $ 500 or $ 600 to take all of those tests with no guarantee that you will pass and get college credit. Concurrent enrollment courses – in the case of SUU – I think it’s like $ 25 or something and then they pay $ 5 per credit.
Generally speaking, concurrent enrollment in Iron County and Washington County school districts is cheaper than AP. However, there are resources available for students who may find it difficult to afford the fees associated with their college courses, including AP.
“We’ve been working with our high schools on this, and they’ve assured us that if a student is struggling financially and needs help taking that AP test, the school will step in and help,” Holmes said. . “We don’t want this as a roadblock. We can help, and we will.
Holmes said that while high schools have the budget and counseling staff to handle most of these cases, the district can step in and help if needed.
School counselors help students assess the benefits, format, and cost of competing approaches to earning college credit in high school. Ultimately, it’s up to each student and their family to decide what works best for them.
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