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NYU Downgrades Dual Enrollment

May 22, 2008

Dual enrollment programs may be in vogue, with increasing numbers of students taking college courses while in high school and more than half of colleges offering such courses. But New York University, for one, isn’t impressed.

The university has announced that it will no longer award academic credit for college classes that also count for high school credit, beginning with students who enter in the fall of 2009. The change, one of several made in the university’s admissions policies, was necessary because NYU officials have concluded that dual credit courses are not “verifiable” in terms of academic rigor, said Barbara Hall, associate provost of enrollment management at the university.

“It was led to based upon trying to validate that a course is comparable to something that would be taught here,” said Hall, who noted that the decision was made by a group of NYU's undergraduate deans.

The university will still accept credit from Advanced Placement exams. Hall said that is because the credit received for AP courses is based on a standardized exam, rather than on a course taken in high school, which can vary widely in quality and rigor.

Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, said that NYU’s decision was not “particularly stunning" and is "one that a number of other institutions have opted to follow.”

Bruce Johnstone, a professor emeritus of higher and comparative education at the State University of New York at Buffalo, has studied college level learning in high school. He noted that there is significant political pressure on many four year colleges to accept dual enrollment courses, many of which are offered through community colleges, without question.

However, many faculty members at these institutions are suspicious of such credits and, when the courses are taught by a high school teacher in a high school setting, this suspicion is raised even higher, Johnstone said.

 

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