DUAL ENROLLMENT

TEXAS

A number of elements included in Texas Administrative Code are instructive for states interested in creating pathways that create a bridge to college for students who have been historically underrepresented in postsecondary education.

Texas legislation requires all school districts to provide every high school student with an opportunity to earn up to 12 college credits free of charge. Eleventh and twelfth-grade students can enroll in dual credit courses if they pass the state’s reading, writing, and mathematics assessments.  In addition, students who perform at a sufficient level on the SAT or ACT test and receive permission from a high school principal or college official can enroll in more than two dual credit courses per semester. Dual enrollment students have access to all campus support services made available to traditional college students.

State statute stipulates that college officials oversee the quality of dual enrollment instruction and provide professional development to faculty members regarding state college-readiness standards. The courses can be taught in secondary schools or on college campuses. In either case, all dual enrollment instructors must meet relevant standards for employment at a community college. High school teachers who teach college courses must be designated as adjunct college faculty at a partnering institution.  In addition, institutions of higher education must also ensure that “a dual credit course and the corresponding course offered at the main campus of the college are equivalent with respect to the curriculum, materials, instruction, and method/rigor of student evaluation.”

Since 2003, Texas has provided per-pupil funding to school districts and their partner colleges for dual enrollees. Postsecondary institutions frequently waive some or all tuition and fees for dual enrollees. In 2010, Texas public universities provided discounts and waivers valued at approximately $63 million. Districts or families must cover any remaining costs for dual enrollment coursework after the per-pupil funding, discounts, and waivers for students who take more than 12 credits.  

The state has also invested in the critical support systems needed to ensure that more low-income students graduate from high school ready for college. HB 1, passed in 2006, authorized a $275 per-student high school allotment that districts can use to promote dual enrollment.  

Texas reports annually to the public and the legislature on the number of students participating in college-level courses taken for dual credit. The data illustrate the state’s commitment to broadening access. The number of students enrolled in dual credit courses has grown from 11,921 in 1999 to 90,364 in 2010. In 2007-08, 17.2 percent of low-income students in Texas completed a college-level course by the end of the senior year through dual enrollment, AP, or IB courses.

Through state agencies and key alliances, the state provides important leadership and guidance to local leaders who seek to improve college readiness and success through dual enrollment and early college strategies. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has primary oversight responsibility for dual enrollment, and the Texas Education Agency and Educate Texas, a public-private initiative of the Communities Foundation of Texas, nurture best practices and promote high-quality implementation.

Every two years, the Commissioner of Education and the Coordinating Board must conduct a study of dual credit programs and report on the progress of these programs and courses. The commissioner then makes recommendations to the legislature on ways to improve dual credit offerings throughout the state.

 

 

Policies

States should broaden eligibility requirements to permit students to participate in credit-bearing, college-level courses based on proficiency in those subjects even if they are not proficient in others. Student eligibility should also be jointly determined by secondary and postsecondary and use multiple measures: a combination of tests, end-of-course grades, teacher recommendations, and students’ work portfolios.

POLICY ELEMENT: Eligibility requirements are determined by the secondary and postsecondary sectors together.

Not in Evidence

Postsecondary institutions determine eligibility requirements for concurrent enrollment programs.

POLICY ELEMENT: High school students can participate in college courses based on their proficiency in those subjects, even if they are not proficient in others.

Not in Evidence

Students have to meet college admission standards for non remedial courses in all subject areas. More specifically, high school students need to meet minimum standards for state system institutions based upon scores on the ACT/SAT or a high school GPA of 3.0/4.0 and class rank.

POLICY ELEMENT: Eligibility is determined by a combination of tests, end-of-course grades, teacher recommendations, and student academic work.

In Evidence

Eligibility criteria provide multiple ways for students to become eligible for dual enrollment. For example, if students are unable to meet the minimum score on the ACT/SAT, they can still qualify for concurrent enrollment based on GPA and class rank.

POLICY ELEMENT: Eligibility requirements are determined by the secondary and postsecondary sectors together.

In Evidence:

The Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education, an elected 15-member board, write and adopt all eligibility requirements relating to the Texas Education Code.

POLICY ELEMENT: High school students can participate in college courses based on their proficiency in those subjects, even if they are not proficient in others.

In Evidence:

High school juniors and seniors are required to meet certain baseline scores on a series of statewide proficiency exams, including THEA, ASSET, PLAN, COMPASS or ACCUPLACER. Eleventh-grade students may also qualify for “related” dual enrollment courses by earning a baseline score in math or English on Texas state assessment exams. It is also possible to qualify based on SAT or ACT scores. Ninth and tenth graders may qualify for dual enrollment if they have outstanding academic performance and are approved by their principal and the chief academic officer of the college.

POLICY ELEMENT: Eligibility is determined by a combination of tests, end-of-course grades, teacher recommendations, and student academic work.

In Evidence:

Policy provides options for eligibility, including state and national tests and special approval from a principal or a college’s chief academic officer.

States should ensure that college courses offered to high school students use the same syllabi and exams as comparable courses taught on a college campus, and that dual enrollees can receive dual-credit so they earn both high school and college credits upon successfully completing courses. In addition, the postsecondary institution conferring credit should set the qualifications for faculty teaching dual-credit courses.

POLICY ELEMENT: Students have the opportunity to take college courses for dual credit so they earn both high school and college credits upon successfully completing courses.

In Evidence:

The state requires that credits earned for dual enrollment courses count at both the secondary and postsecondary levels.

POLICY ELEMENT: College courses offered within secondary schools use the same syllabi and exams as comparable courses taught on a college campus.

In Evidence:

“The college shall ensure that a dual credit course and the corresponding course offered at the main campus of the college are equivalent with respect to the curriculum, materials, instruction, and method/rigor of student evaluation. These standards must be upheld regardless of the student composition of the class” (19.1.4. D.4.85 (2)(f)).

POLICY ELEMENT: The postsecondary institution conferring credit sets the qualifications for faculty teaching courses taken for dual credit.

In Evidence:

It is the college’s responsibility to select the instructors of dual-credit courses. The instructors must be regularly employed faculty members of the college or meet the same standards (including minimal requirements of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) and approval procedures required of faculty teaching courses on campus.

States should develop funding policies that allow high school students to take college courses free of tuition and non-course-related charges, and that allow both districts and postsecondary institutions to claim per-pupil funding allocations to support the cost of offering college courses for dual-credit. There should also be provisions or special appropriations to support the development of early college schools targeting students who are underrepresented in higher education.

POLICY ELEMENT: Funding policies to support concurrent enrollment in the state create incentives for school districts to partner with institutions of higher education to offer dual credit opportunities for students.

In Evidence:

State funding for dual credit is available to public school districts and postsecondary institutions. Higher education institutions can claim funding for dual-credit students, and school districts can claim average daily attendance funding for them.

POLICY ELEMENT: Funding policies for dual enrollment support access for low-income high school students who are interested in taking college courses.

Not in Evidence:

Higher education institutions may partially or fully waive tuition for dual-credit students. While this funding provides flexibility to institutions,  they are not required to make courses accessible to low-income students.

POLICY ELEMENT: Funding streams are flexible enough that funds can be used for professional development, books, lab fees, and student transportation.

Not in Evidence:

Policies do not specify whether/how funding can be used to pay for associated costs (e.g., textbooks, transportation).

States should report annually on dual enrollment participation and impact and develop administrative structures to support program leaders and dual enrollment partnerships. States should also designate a state board or governing body as having the authority and responsibility to guide dual enrollment policy.

POLICY ELEMENT: States should designate a state board or governing body as having the authority and responsibility to guide dual enrollment policy, and develop administrative structures to support program leaders and dual enrollment partners.

In Evidence:

Through state agencies and key alliances, the state provides important leadership and guidance to local leaders who seek to improve college readiness and success through dual enrollment and early college strategies. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has primary oversight responsibility for dual enrollment, and the Texas Education Agency and Educate Texas, a public-private initiative of the Communities Foundation of Texas, nurture best practices and promote high-quality implementation.

POLICY ELEMENT: States should report annually on dual enrollment participation and impact.

In Evidence:

Each school district submits an annual dual-credit report to the Texas Education Agency. The report includes information on credit hours earned and student participation by race/ethnicity and income.

States should develop unit-record statewide data systems that identify dual enrollees by demographic characteristics and monitor student progress longitudinally across the K-12 and higher education systems.

POLICY ELEMENT: States should develop unit-record statewide data systems that identify dual enrollees by demographic characteristics and monitor student progress longitudinally across the K-12 and higher education systems.

In Evidence:

Texas provides unique identifiers for each student and can track students as they progress from high school to college. Texas tracks transcript-level data for each student and for courses taken for dual credit, enabling it to measure success rates for dual enrollment participants.

States should require that districts and postsecondary institutions specify and document key roles and responsibilities in memoranda of understanding or cooperative agreements, including the provision of a college liaison for student advisement and support. States should also provide support and funding for programs designed to serve students who are over-age and undercredited, as well as youth who have dropped out of high school.

POLICY ELEMENT: States should require that districts and postsecondary institutions specify and document key roles and responsibilities in memoranda of understanding or cooperative agreements.

In Evidence:

The state requires approval by a governing board or designated authority for a dual-credit partnership between a secondary school and a public college. The agreement must address a number of programmatic components, including student eligibility, course eligibility, course location, faculty supervision, selection, and evaluation, course curriculum and instruction, and funding.

POLICY ELEMENT: States should require each dual enrollment partnership to provide a liaison between high school and college partners, with responsibilities for advising students, assisting with course scheduling, and linking students to support services.

In Evidence:

Texas neither requires nor supports partnerships to provide a liaison. However, “Students in dual credit courses must be eligible to utilize the same or comparable support services that are afforded college students on the main campus. The college is responsible for ensuring timely and efficient access to such services (e.g., academic advising and counseling), to learning materials (e.g., library resources), and to other benefits for which the student may be eligible” (TAC. 19.1.4.D.4.85. (g) (1-2)).

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