Dual Credit Opportunities on the Rise in Hoonah
Providing dual credit opportunities in rural schools is a challenge for many reasons, but the Hoonah City School District has been working hard to ensure that dual credit courses are beneficial to students and offer a structure that is not isolated from the rest of their high school experience.
Simply offering the classes is nothing new; what makes this program unique is the way that the dual credit courses are integrated with and supported by the district standards and curricula. Oftentimes, students enrolled in dual credit courses complete them in relative isolation at school, navigating college-level material and lifestyle expectations that are unfamiliar to high schoolers.
Three years ago, Hoonah introduced a model in which students are able to take asynchronous (i.e. course content can be accessed at any time and the course does not have a set meeting time) versions of the University of Alaska Southeast’s English 111 and 211 and Math 101, 151 and 251 as a cohort of students in a class that is facilitated by one of the current high school teachers. This class is incorporated into the students’ typical school day, and this means they have support from both their peers and the administration as they navigate more rigorous material and higher quality of work expectations. The asynchronicity of the courses means that students can take them at their own pace but the mentoring teacher is there to help ensure that they are still completed on time.
Since making this change, success and participation rates in dual credit courses have risen rapidly. Since they began offering these cohorts of staff-supported dual enrollment courses, 9 students completed a total of 27 credits to take with them to college.
Students take the AccuPlacer and ALEKS tests to measure English and Math placement, respectively, prior to enrollment in any dual credit courses. These tests are already what the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) and other colleges use to determine placement within their course curriculum. This consistency from Hoonah’s dual enrollment procedure with UAS standards is another benefit as it simplifies or even eliminates the credit approval process for schools and students transitioning from secondary to post-secondary education.
In an effort to further align with UAS standards, Hoonah has adjusted its math curriculum in Grades 3-12 to be more consistent with ALEKS readiness measures. They are able to use data from ALEKS tests to find and fill gaps of knowledge for students to aid in their efforts to give their students a better shot at post-secondary success.
If you’d like to be involved in future conversations with the Post-Secondary Workgroup with STEPS Alaska, please reach out to Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Content provided to the AASB by Ralph Watkins, Superintendent of Hoonah City Schools