Building Capacity for Dual Credit in Southwest Ohio: The Promise of Regional Practices

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[box class=”grey_box”]Deanna Hill conducted interviews with participants in dual credit symposia and wrote up this report describing her findings. The symposia brought together university faculty with high school teachers who teach mathematics courses that students receive university credit for completing.[/box]

In 2008, West Wind Education Policy Inc. (West Wind) received a grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation (Jennings Foundation) to develop and manage the Teacher Development Collaboratives (the Collaboratives)—a project designed to support the recruitment, retention and development of teachers in Ohio. The project created four Collaboratives1 across the state, one of which was the Southwest Teacher Development Collaborative hosted by the Hamilton County ESC.

Since the inception of dual credit in Ohio in 2007, the Hamilton County ESC has been a leader in bringing education leaders in K–12 and in Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs or higher education) together to provide opportunities for high school students to earn college credit in mathematics, science, and foreign language courses in high school. Hamilton County ESC Assistant Superintendent Kathy Thornton, in collaboration with partners from K–12 and higher education, was instrumental in obtaining and managing three consecutive state dual credit grants to Region 132 to support these collaborative efforts.

In its first year, the Southwest Collaborative focused on building capacity and creating a sustainable model for dual credit coursework in the region. Prior to the award of the second year of funding, the Hamilton County ESC leveraged resources it garnered through its 2009 dual credit grant to implement some of the ideas that were generated by the Southwest Collaborative. One such idea was to host symposia focused on content alignment that would further position schools and universities to prepare and partner on dual credit programming.

In February 2009, the Hamilton County ESC collaborated with the University of Cincinnati’s Clermont and Raymond Walters branch campuses to develop and deliver a symposium on dual credit for pre-calculus courses. The symposium was facilitated by the ESC, with presentations from Clermont and Raymond Walters faculty and a “voluntary adjunct” (a high school teacher approved as an adjunct, as is required to teach dual credit courses). Participants included K–12 administrators and teachers (some of whom had dual credit in their schools and/or were already approved as voluntary adjuncts) as well as higher education administrators. The focus of the first symposium was on helping participants understand the concept of dual credit, networking across the system, and beginning to investigate alignment of the high school and college pre-calculus curriculum.

In April 2009, with support from the Jennings Foundation and West Wind, the group developed and delivered a second symposium. The second symposium was again facilitated by the ESC, with presentations from the higher education faculty and voluntary adjunct. In part because the second symposium was promoted as an opportunity for participants to earn university credit, there were fewer participants overall and a few new K–12 participants who had not attended the first symposium. The focus of the second symposium was on networking and rigor, with K–12 teachers and higher education faculty examining textbooks and scoring exams together.

The overarching objectives for both symposia were to:

  • [Help participants] understand the concept of dual credit;
  • Increase the awareness of dual-credit and networking opportunities throughout the region;
  • Deepen the alignment between pre-calculus courses in regional high schools and institutions of higher education;
  • Increase rigor, access, and success for students in college-level courses in high school.

Following the symposia, higher education administrators and faculty met with interested K–12 administrators and teachers to provide additional information about dual credit and to assist teachers in applying for voluntary adjunct status.

To continute reading, download the full report.

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