As I mentioned in yesterday's post, U.S. Department of Education data suggest that in the 2007-08 school year, just under 7 out of 10 public high schools offered "dual enrollment for high school and college credit". The theory for this 30% non-participation rate put forward in yesterday's post was that these high schools may be in rural areas, in which collaboration between high school and postsecondary faculty may be complicated by long distances for staff to travel to collaborate face-to-face.
Another theory may be that these high schools are in states in which students do not automatically receive both high school and postsecondary credit for completing a dual enrollment course. While researching the ECS 50-state dual enrollment database launched December 2008, I was surprised to discover that in 13 states, state policy does not specify whether students automatically earn both high school and college credit. In several other states, students earn only high school or postsecondary credit automatically, and must go through an application process to earn credit from the other education "silo". In still other states, one type of dual enrollment program automatically awards both high school and postsecondary credit, while another program does not, which must create confusion for students and parents, and a headache (and loads of paperwork) for school counselors and postsecondary staff.
Given that many states have put processes in place to ensure the quality of dual enrollment offerings (i.e., requiring teachers to meet adjunct faculty criteria, requiring postsecondary institutions to approve course syllabi, textbooks, or requiring high school instructors teaching dual enrollment courses to use the same syllabi, textbooks, end-of-course exams and grading practices as used when the course is taught to traditional postsecondary students), it would seem that any state requiring dual enrollment courses to undergo both high school (or district) and postsecondary approval and/or meet clear standards of quality should automatically award both high school and postsecondary credit. There are enough other issues to go around to save our headaches and paperwork for.