College Credit Plus program prompts excitement, concerns
Keith Manos teaches English Composition 1 through the College Credit Plus program at Riverside High School in Painesville Township on Nov. 2. Tawana Roberts — The News-Herald
|By Tawana Roberts, The News-Herald
POSTED: 11/06/17, 7:57 PM EST
While there are many benefits to students receiving college credit prior to graduating from high school, there are some concerns.
According to the Ohio Department of Higher Education, the College Credit Plus program is open to any Ohio student in seventh through 12th grade, which means a 12-year-old could take courses at any Ohio public or participating college.
“That’s when it gets challenging,” said Riverside Guidance Director Scott Bailis. “What we have found here is even when our ninth-, 10th-, 11th- and 12th- graders taking English composition, who have different backgrounds in writing, all of a sudden come together, the ninth- and 10th-graders who did not have as much writing experience struggled more. The instructor could not just stop and say, ‘I have to bring these students up to speed’, they have to just keep going.”
Keith Manos, who teaches CCP English Composition 1 at Riverside, said he treats every student the same.“I treat them like college students, because they are college students,” said Manos, who is also an adjunct professor in English at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland.
Despite questions about a student’s ability to complete advanced work, high schools are not allowed to place any restrictions on student participation in College Credit Plus. The ODHE said each institution of higher education sets its own standards for measuring students’ college-readiness.
However, Bailis said he tries to provide students and parents with as much information as he can to help them make an informed decision. “When we have a College Credit Plus meeting and introduce the program, I talk to them about the social and maturity side of things,” he said. “Most ninth-graders don’t have the writing background and most are just not emotionally ready for the rigors of college-level English class. We stress at our meeting — don’t just be in a hurry to accumulate college credits. I know they’re free and it’s a great program, but it is a maturity component of it.”
CCP students are expected to be accountable, so being mature is essential.
Manos and Bailis emphasized that because of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act, CCP students’ grades and progress are not shared with parents or guidance counselors.
Bailis said this is a challenge for the guidance department, because counselors do not know if a student is on-track to graduation until after they receive the final grades.“It’s hard to tell a student that they will not graduate because they did not pass a CCP course that they needed to meet graduation requirements,” he said.
Meanwhile as more students are signing up for CCP, there may be fewer students in advanced placement classes.“It definitely hurts the AP program,” Bailis said. “There are a lot of advantages to the AP program. Colleges really like it because of the consistency and I see a lot of our top students sticking to AP.”
While the future of CCP and AP are unclear, both programs support college readiness. Overall, parents, students and educators find them advantageous.