Credit Courses in High Schools
July 30, 1996
This policy item applies to:
Many campuses of the State University of New York (University) have developed college credit in the high school programs to increase access to college-level learning for high school students and to enhance learning productivity by shortening time to degree.
Presidents and other University officials have requested the development of guidelines for such programs which provide a reasonable process through which campuses may work together to ensure quality instruction to many of the New York State’s high school students.
The University encourages campuses to collaborate with high schools to deliver quality collegiate courses to interested and qualified secondary students. The University is committed to meeting this need as an integral part of its public education agenda, which is intended to help raise academic standards and make it possible for more students to meet those standards.
The following guidelines are divided into two sections; the first section address academic good practice and the second section addresses geographic/service area considerations. The section on academic good practice is intended to apply to the first method of delivery only. The section on geographic/service area considerations applies to the first and second delivery methods. None of these guidelines are intended to apply to the situation in which secondary students are enrolled in courses on campus.
These guidelines are intended to help assure University campuses, other colleges to which students may want to transfer credits, the schools, students, and parents of the academic quality of University credit courses completed in high school. The guidelines also seek to minimize the tension among University campuses over academic quality and geographic/service area issues.
The University encourages the expanded offering of quality college-level coursework to qualified high school students in order to enhance student learning in high school and better prepare more students for the transition into the freshman year of college. Such an expansion is one way for the University to meet a genuine State of New York need in public education – making the twelfth grade more rigorous and directed for more students.
A campus that offers college credit coursework in a high school must maintain evidence that the following processes and procedures are in place: the course syllabus is to be reviewed and approved by the college at each high school site as comparable to a course offered by the college; the college academic officer responsible for the course is to reaffirm this comparability annually; the high school instructor’s qualifications are to be judged by the college as comparable to those of the college instructors teaching the course on the home campus.
The quality of the teaching in the course is reviewed at each offering by means such as the following, all of which are especially important in the initial offering of the course and whenever the course is taught by a new instructor: review of course materials, assignments, and expectations of students, by full-time college faculty/chair; peer observations/mentoring by full-time college faculty/chair; review of student work samples by full-time college faculty/chair; student evaluations of the course; and the end-of-term instructor evaluation by the chair.
Assessment of student learning in the course is comparable to that in its campus counterpart. Such comparability might be ensured by the faculty’s/chair’s reviewing the exams or other assessments of student learning used in the course taught in the high school, by using the same assessment instruments in the course delivered in the school and the campus course, and by review of student work. The course is recorded on the college transcript in the same manner as all other college courses.
The Guidelines for the Administration of Credit-Bearing Off-Campus Instructional Activities form the basis for geographic/service area considerations and are intended both to respect longstanding partnerships between University institutions and high schools, and to recognize that such partnerships may need to change over time.
Although there is no University restriction on the amount of credit a student can take in any year, college credit coursework offered in high school is essentially a program designed for part-time students. While state-operated campuses have a statewide service area for full-time students, no University campus has a statewide service area for high school students taking college courses in the high schools. The mission of University campuses, both state-operated and community colleges, to deliver part-time instruction within their immediate geographic/service area should be respected.
Should a University campus be approached to offer college credit coursework in a high school outside its own geographic/service area and within a geographic/service area where another University campus or campuses are located, or where a community college has a sponsored service area agreement (Section 601.5 of Title 8 of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York: 8 NYCRR § 601.5), the president of the campus that has been approached notifies the presidents of all other university campuses within the area to inform them of the request.
The notification includes a letter from the high school confirming its wish to make the proposed college credit coursework available to its students, and describing any other arrangements within the last five years whereby University campuses have offered college credit coursework in that school.
If the home campus has the capacity to offer and is willing to offer the requested coursework, the outside campus should not proceed unless it can develop a mutually acceptable arrangement with the home campus for the delivery of courses.
Cooperative efforts between University campuses to provide better service to the schools and their students are encouraged. The dialogue between University units on this subject includes the high school. If an agreement cannot be reached between two University institutions about the offering of college credit courses in a high school, the conflict is submitted to the provost for final resolution.
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