Dual enrollment is a successful acceleration mechanism that allows students to pursue an advanced curriculum relevant to their individual postsecondary interests. Over 37,000 students participated in Florida’s dual enrollment program last year. According to the U.S. Department of Education, college credit earned prior to high school graduation reduces the average time-to-degree and increases the likelihood of graduation for the students who participate in these programs. There is also evidence that dual enrollment increases academic performance and educational attainment.
As the emphasis on career planning increases, more students will be encouraged to select an advanced curriculum that aligns with their postsecondary goals. With hundreds of dual enrollment courses available, there is great potential to further engage and motivate students to take academically rigorous courses that capture their interests. As with all acceleration options, students must be advised based on individual needs and carefully monitored to ensure continued success. Guidance counselors plan an important role in communicating accurate information to students and parents, fostering a positive understanding of the merits of dual enrollment and developing collaborative relationships with college advisors and peers.
In 2006, legislation was passed as part of the A++ initiative that clarified statutory language relating to district GPA weighting requirements for dual enrollment courses. In addition, the legislation made a strong statement regarding the need to increase access to dual enrollment courses for all eligible students. Specifically, subsections (5) and (16) of s. 1007.271, F.S., now read:
(5) Each district school board shall inform all secondary students of dual enrollment as an educational option and mechanism for acceleration. Students shall be informed of eligibility criteria, the option for taking dual enrollment courses beyond the regular school year, and the minimum academic credits required for graduation. District school boards shall annually assess the demand for dual enrollment and other advanced courses, and the district school board shall consider strategies and programs to meet that demand and include access to dual enrollment on the high school campus whenever possible. Alternative grade calculation, weighting systems, or information regarding student education options which discriminates against dual enrollment courses are prohibited.
(16) Beginning with students entering grade 9 in the 2006-2007 school year, school districts and community colleges must weigh dual enrollment courses the same as advanced placement, International Baccalaureate, and Advanced International Certificate of Education courses when grade point averages are calculated. Alternative grade calculation or weighting systems that discriminate against dual enrollment courses are prohibited.