Dual Credits require consideration

When it comes to dual credit classes, the university should be looking into the opportunities they provide, while still paying attention to some of the issues that come up with implementing them.

In Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting, Business professor Larry White, Eastern’s representative for the Illinois Board of Higher Education’s faculty advisory committee, talked about the committee’s concerns about these kinds of programs.

One concern the board had was that while students have the class credit, they might not be mentally prepared for college.

This is a valid point. Obviously, academics are the main point of why universities exist. Keeping up with a college curriculum as a high schooler is something to be proud of, and while dual credit courses can prepare them for the work that they might encounter at the university level, there are other aspects of college life that students deal with that they might not. For instance, while a high school student might have gotten straight A’s in a college level math class, they still might not be ready for the part of college that includes living on one’s own for the first time.

Academically, there are also questions on whether or not credits received at the high school-level can really substitute for a university class. As one Faculty Senate member said, when establishing partnerships with these schools, the university relinquishes some control over who teaches the courses. This means we do not necessarily know the level of training the students got, or what kind of education they received.

That being said, many high school teachers are excellent at their jobs, and very well-trained in their field and could probably provide students with a quality college-level education. With the right collaboration and by working together, college campuses and high schools can probably work out a way to teach students together, while also giving the student the benefit of having college credit that can possibly save them money on tuition down the road.

And of course, dual credit courses give Eastern more visibility, especially in areas where Eastern might not originally be on most people’s radars. When students get credit from Eastern, it makes them more likely to come to the university to make sure their credit counts in the future. They get a taste, however small, of how college classes could potentially be for them, all while saving a little money on tuition and time in general education classes in the future.

Being careful when considering the implementation of dual credit classes without squandering the opportunities they bring could do the university a lot of good.