Commissioner Reiterates Concerns about Dual Credit

Texas Commissioner of Higher Education Raymund Paredes has again raised serious concerns about dual credit programs in our state. Of prime importance is the robust expansion of such programs in recent years, due to a statute removing restrictions on colleges and school districts.

Dual credit now includes many students who are not college-ready, according to the commissioner, as reported in this article in the Austin American-Statesman, by Ralph K.M. Haurwitz, during a recent press conference with the commissioner on a variety of subjects. Please read the entire article. The passage relating to dual credit is included below.

The commissioner’s observation mirrors frequent comments by community college faculty members, who are particularly worried about dual credit courses taught by high school teachers, especially in classes that include high school students not enrolled for college credit. In addition to concerns about the readiness of students, college instructors say it is difficult to maintain academic standards and rigor in such an environment. Furthermore, dual credit students now include individuals who are barely teenagers, who may not have the maturity to handle college-level work.

TCCTA members may wish to attend a special session on dual credit offered at the forthcoming TCCTA annual convention. Here is the link (please scroll down to the dual credit program).

Here is the excerpt from the AAS piece.

Texas Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes expressed serious reservations Wednesday about the expansion of courses that allow students to take courses for which they receive high school and college credit simultaneously.

Paredes suggested that students who are not prepared for the classes are being placed in them anyhow, amid the rush to get them early college credit. About 150,000 Texas high school students are taking such dual-credit courses, but only 110,000 students in the state have met college readiness standards in both English and math on the SAT, ACT or Texas Success Initiative tests, he said.

“That’s 40,000 over the numbers we have data for that are demonstrably college-ready,” he said in a conference call with reporters. “We need to consider whether we’ve expanded too quickly and whether we’ve compromised the integrity of these courses.”

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, of which Paredes is the chief executive, is conducting a study of dual-credit programs that is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The agency’s preliminary conclusion is that the programs were working “quite well” until 2015, but expansion since then has raised concerns, he said.

The commissioner’s definition of college readiness isn’t the same one that school districts use for dual-credit enrollment. School districts are allowing students who meet, say, just the English standard to take a dual-credit course in that field but not in math, and vice versa. Paredes said dual-credit students should be college-ready in both English and math.

On the other hand, students who want to take a dual-credit course in a career or technical field — such as agriculture and food — that could lead to a certificate don’t have to be college-ready, said Kelly Carper Polden, a coordinating board spokeswoman.

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