KC's dual credit program a success

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Kaskaskia College is perceived as one of the state and national leaders in providing dual-credit courses in partnership with the area high schools.
All dual-credit courses are college-level curricula, with the same quality, competencies and course objectives as those courses offered on the main campus or at an educational center.
Currently, KC offers dual-credit courses at 14 public high schools, two private high schools and one vocational school, all within the KC district. The program has grown to an enrollment this past year of 2,932 high school students, who generated nearly 18,000 credit hours with a tuition cost savings to parents in excess of $1.6 million.
Dual credit allows academically prepared high school students to simultaneously earn credits that count toward a high school diploma and a college degree. Dual credit instruction delivers a “win-win” arrangement for all parties – students gain access to challenging college-level coursework to make high school more productive; students can prove to others and themselves that they have the ability to succeed in college; college costs can be reduced for parents and students; time to degree completion at college can be shortened; and the enhanced high school and college faculty dialogue can contribute to a better alignment between secondary and postsecondary education.
Salem High School Superintendent John Boles said that the dual credit program has been a tremendous asset to students.
“The dual credit provides a tremendous savings to the students and their parents. Several parents have contacted me, expressing their thanks for the program and classes offered. We have students entering KC with as many as 20-plus credits. As a KC alum, I really like the idea of our students receiving incentives to attend KC," Boles said.
Kaskaskia College President Dr. Jim Underwood agrees that being in a partnership with all the high schools in the KC district for the offering of dual-credit courses is a win-win for everyone.
“Kaskaskia appreciates very much the support of the faculty and administration of each high school,  and we are grateful for the coordination by the KC faculty and deans.
Through these college-level courses high school students will be able to experience the vigor of higher education and get a jump-start on their college education with tuition savings," Underwood said.
KC officials noted that the college's dual-credit procedures are in alignment with the recent Illinois Community College Board guidelines. Thus, the impact of the new guidelines will not have a noticeable impact on area high schools participating with KC in dual-credit offerings.
Of particular importance is that the college open admissions policy is applicable for dual-credit offerings.  Therefore, high school students admitted into dual-credit courses are considered to be in accordance to the KC admissions policy.
KC and the area high schools are working together to ensure that the dual-credit learning outcomes and course objectives are consistent with college courses. Further, the credentials for high school faculty members teaching dual-credit offerings are consistent with those required of college professors.
Classroom visits, assessment of learning, faculty orientations and a review of course materials are ways in which college professors and high school teachers are sharing and working together to ensure a high quality of instruction.
As assistance to high school students and parents, a dual-credit guidebook has been prepared. This document responds to those frequently asked questions about dual-credit offerings. The guidebook can also be found at www.kaskaskia.edu/dualcredit.
The guidebook is helpful to those students considering taking dual-credit courses, as well as, those students presently enrolled.
Over the past few years, KC has seen a large number of secondary teachers retire who were also teaching dual-credit courses; however, the school administrators have been very effective at hiring faculty members who are dual-credit qualified. Nevertheless, there continues to be opportunities for high school faculty members to become qualified to teach dual-credit courses with KC.
For more information, contact Cheryl Boehne at Kaskaskia College at 545-3184 or visit www.kaskaskia.edu/dualcredit.