• How online learning platforms facilitate NACEP accreditation

    by Julie Cavanaugh, Customer Success Specialist & Educational Consultant, Pearson

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    Now more than ever schools are turning to online learning, so why not utilize online learning platforms to help your program with accreditation?

    NACEP accreditation recognizes programs that have consistently met or exceeded rigorous, peer-reviewed standards in six areas: Partnership, Curriculum, Faculty, Students, Assessment, and Program Evaluation. These program standards create a quality framework to ensure that students are taking authentic college courses for transcripted college credit while in high school. Becoming a NACEP accredited program requires the submission of a variety of evidence documenting practice, policy, and procedures that meet or exceed NACEP’s Standards. Online learning platforms, like those offered by Pearson, can be an important ally in working towards accreditation.

    Alignment via online learning platforms

    An accredited program ensures that college courses offered by high school teachers are as rigorous as courses offered on the college campus. Coordinating online platforms between the college and the high school keeps assignments aligned and curriculum tight. By having identical content, the programs are meeting equivalency standards and comparison criteria (exams, homework, lab exercises, essays, etc.). Grading policies and rubrics can be the same within digital platforms to ensure continuity (number of tries, points deducted per wrong answer, extra credit, rubrics provided within the platforms, etc.) which helps programs demonstrate alignment with NACEP’s Assessment and Curriculum Standards.

    Embedded professional development

    Providing the depth and breadth of professional development needed to keep dual enrollment faculty up-to-date can be a challenge. Pearson offers weekly, discipline-specific, live and on-demand webinars for MyLab® and Mastering® that cover registration, assignment creation, testing, best practices, and other topics that help meet training criteria. Plus, you have access to training documents like how-to videos and planning toolkits. These resources can assist with documenting faculty professional development to meet NACEP’s Faculty Standards.

    Downloadable assessment data

    Programs need fast access to accurate data reports that highlight key course performance metrics including student pass/fail rates, content mastery, assignment completion, and formative assessment scores. With online platforms, course data can easily be downloaded and exported to Microsoft® Excel files for detailed analysis, allowing programs to make data-driven decisions and laying the foundation for program evaluation.

    Viable alternative to in-person labs and hands-on experiences

    Online platforms offer alternative learning experiences for students, especially during COVID-19 when the flexibility of online learning is essential and budgets are being stretched. Pearson’s Mastering platform is one example of a versatile tool, providing virtual laboratory exercises and dissections that engage students as if they were in the physical lab space. Struggling to offer content because the high school laboratory lacks necessary equipment? Mastering can help bridge the gap so that all students have equivalent laboratory experiences.

    In addition to science offerings in Mastering, MyLab provides less expensive, virtual experiences for other “hands-on” Career and Technical Education fields, including automotive technology, culinary science, carpentry, and more. Creating real options for hands-on exercises provides your program maximum flexibility in instruction to help students continue to thrive despite COVID disruption. MyLab and Mastering present dual enrollment programs with an opportunity to document the ways they ensure equivalent content, even in the midst of a rapid shift to online coursework.

    Pearson: your accreditation ally

    Our MyLab and Mastering online learning platforms offer all these important benefits to help you document your activities in preparation for NACEP accreditation, while also improving the student and teacher experience. In addition, instructors have maximum control over their course, offering the flexibility to easily create courses to fit program needs. Courses can be shared with colleagues and adjuncts, copied for next semester, linked to an LMS, and more.

    With the uncertainty of COVID-19 weighing heavily on instructors and programs, a solid back-up plan is needed for online and remote learning that has academics integrated with realistic experiences. By partnering with Pearson for your dual enrollment program, you can get:

    • award-winning digital learning platforms that can be personalized for each student
    • online homework and tutorial services that engage students and improve results
    • preparation, intervention, and assessment diagnostics that gauge student readiness
    • technology and services to provide in-depth data and analytics for your program
    • college and career readiness tools that promote personal and social skills

    Want to know more?

    Watch this Pearson & NACEP on-demand webinar to learn more about how online platforms facilitate NACEP accreditation

    Explore MyLab & Mastering features for educators.

    Learn more about NACEP and accreditation.

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  • The road to dual enrollment: After accreditation

    by Julie Cavanaugh, Customer Success Specialist & Educational Consultant, Pearson

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    In The Road to Dual Enrollment (Part I), I discussed a few of the challenges experienced by dual enrollment programs, including lengthy accreditation processes and access to professional development opportunities. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the obstacles instructors face after they become accredited, including standardization, access, and the affordability of materials. See how online learning resources can help tackle these problems.

    Developing a collegiate-level course with minimal resources

    After receiving my accreditation and transitioning from high school teacher to dual enrollment instructor for Lee College in Baytown, Texas, I was given a college textbook and a sample syllabus from my department mentor. Within around two weeks I was expected to develop the learning objectives, scope, depth, breadth, and rigor for an entire course, Biology I for Science Majors. The curriculum of this course needed to match the scope and rigor of a collegiate curriculum.

    I spent days reading through an entire textbook that I hadn’t previously used in my Advanced Placement® courses and brainstorming appropriate labs for the equipment that I had. I didn’t have a single test, assignment, or lab manual to follow. While my mentor gave me some of his most successful labs, I needed to make sure they didn’t use materials my school didn’t have in stock or couldn’t afford. The scope of the task seemed almost insurmountable.

    The impact of online resources

    Finally, after making little progress, I reached out to the department chair and department secretary to see what online resources were available. I was provided with an educator account for the associated digital learning platform for my text and was overwhelmed with the quality and quantity of material available to me.

    Digital access to platforms such as MyLab™ and Mastering™ are imperative to dual enrollment teachers who are often starting from scratch. The pre-built assignments, test banks, online laboratory simulations, and study modules would have taken years of collaboration and effort to develop. Delivering course materials with such a platform provides instantaneous access to collegiate-level resources.

    They also let instructors create coordinator courses. In these instances, college professors can actually create and maintain a set of nested courses for dual enrollment classes at various high schools — pushing the same assignments, tests, and content from the college to the high schools.

    Digital learning platforms address affordability

    30% of respondents to our surveys at the national and regional NACEP conferences indicated that funding and affordability of materials is one of their greatest program pain points. An additional benefit to using online learning platforms is the affordability for the high school partners.

    During my first years as an instructor for Lee College, I would drive 50 minutes each way after school to run student samples on equipment such as PCR machines or high-speed centrifuges because my high school couldn’t afford the $10,000 investment for this equipment. But if a high school has access to the laboratory simulations found in Mastering Biology, they can provide engaging, application-based experiences that can replace thousands of dollars of equipment.

    Online learning platforms also provide additional affordability through eTexts. These platforms often contain eTexts so students can avoid the separate cost of purchasing a print textbook.

    We’ll continue to explore additional challenges faced by dual enrollment programs in subsequent blogs. Read part I of this blog series and stay tuned for future posts centered around high school student readiness and preparation tools for college courses.

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  • What does the road to dual enrollment look like for high school teachers?

    by Julie Cavanaugh, Customer Success Specialist & Educational Consultant, Pearson

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    Ensuring that dual enrollment courses match the rigor and quality of traditional higher education courses requires thorough teacher training and accreditation, access to collegiate curricula, affordable student materials, and student readiness programs. It can be a challenge to coordinate all of these vital elements for every dual enrollment class, especially considering the myriad of dual enrollment course models available. Courses can be taken on the college campus, on the high school campus, remotely online, and even in hybrid versions comprised of online and face-to-face instructor interaction.

    Overcoming obstacles to accreditation

    The extensive initial accreditation process and training is an issue that I have personally experienced as the first dual enrollment science instructor for Lee College in Baytown, Texas. Previously, I had been teaching various levels of secondary science curricula from remedial to advanced placement (AP) when I received accreditation from Lee College to teach biology and related subjects at Hargrave High School in Huffman, Texas.

    To receive this accreditation, I had to provide documentation of undergraduate and graduate school transcripts, proof of completion of my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and a CV outlining my research projects and publications.

    The biology department developed an internal committee to review my paper credentials before beginning a three-step interview process. I had an initial sit down interview to discuss my experience before being asked to design and teach a sample lesson at the college campus. Finally, I had to undergo a skills assessment to test my laboratory acumen.

    Facing professional development challenges

    While necessary to ensure instructor quality, the accreditation process often creates a bottleneck effect for dual enrollment programs. Student interest far exceeds a school’s ability to vet instructors. A focus of many dual enrollment coordinators, policy makers, and school officials is simplifying the process of identifying and accrediting qualified instructors. This resonated with the attendees of the 2019 regional and national NACEP conferences who completed the survey at our Pearson booth. In fact, 41% of respondents indicated teacher professional development and accreditation was one of their largest program pain points.

    The College Board Advanced Placement program offers week-long, intensive summer institutes on college campuses nationwide where teachers receive certification to teach AP courses. Can collegiate systems work in conjunction with governing bodies such as NACEP to hold similar dual enrollment institutes?

    While the process of obtaining credentials can be cumbersome, it is equally difficult to maintain a schedule of professional development opportunities for dual enrollment instructors. Hargrave High School was more than a 50 minute drive from Lee College, prohibiting me from attending most on-site training. Travel to department meetings, team meetings, and faculty-wide technology and platform training could feasibly take an entire day, when in actuality high school teachers are only granted one or two 50 minute planning periods per school day.

    The need for creative solutions

    The most effective dual enrollment programs will solve these problems with outside-the-box solutions. Many collegiate partners are now offering evening, weekend, and summer professional development opportunities to accommodate the traditional high school teacher’s schedule. In addition, on-demand and webinar-based professional development can help bridge the distance gap between high school and college campuses.

    The University of Texas OnRamps program employs a hybrid model wherein high school dual enrollment teachers attend an intensive summer institute followed by continual web-based support from a tenured faculty member. This allows the program to be administered throughout the entire state of Texas, helping to alleviate both the accreditation and professional development distance gap. Another unique solution is the development of dual enrollment satellite campuses such as the Lee College South Liberty Education Center. This center is located an hour away from the main campus of Lee College, allowing for a different subset of area high school students to convene to take dual enrollment classes from a qualified instructor, thus also helping to alleviate the burden of teacher accreditation and training.

    These issues represent a small subset of the challenges faced by dual enrollment programs. In subsequent blogs, we’ll explore additional pain points we’ve discovered, share best practices, and present ways that Pearson is here to ensure equitable access to quality dual enrollment courses. Stay tuned for future posts addressing access to collegiate curricula, affordable student materials, and student readiness programs.

    For more information on the OnRamps program, please visit visit https://onramps.utexas.edu/. For more information on the Lee College South Liberty Education Center, please visit http://www.lee.edu/south-liberty/.

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  • Dual-ly noted: What's the fuss?

    by Julie Cavanaugh, Customer Success Specialist & Educational Consultant, Pearson

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    Seven years ago I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to envision an ideal high school, and to turn that vision into a reality. My school district had recently acquired a state-funded grant to found an Early College High School, a new and burgeoining concept melding secondary and post-secondary education.

    As an educator, program coordinator and instructional coach for Sheldon Early College High School in Houston, Texas, I, along with my colleagues, was able to create a unique environment where underserved and underrepresented student populations were given the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree and high school diploma at the same time. We were able to accomplish this with a non-traditional high school course model: dual enrollment.

    In the 2017-2018 school year, more than 3 million students participated in this now fast growing sector of education. Dual enrollment, also known as concurrent enrollment and dual credit, is the practice of allowing students to be enrolled in two institutions at once: a high school or middle school and an institute of higher education (IHE).

    In most models, the students tandemly earn credit towards their high school diploma and credit towards their associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Dual enrollment has grown by over 67% since 2002, with some states such as Texas experiencing growth rates of over 1000%! With substantial dual-enrollment offerings, the first graduating class of Sheldon Early College, or SECHS, earned over 4,000 college credit course hours with over 65% actually earning their associates’ degrees!

    Dual enrollment, however, is not just found in early college high school models. This model has also spread to traditional high schools. Studies published by the Community College Resource Center indicate that successful completion of dual enrollment classes decreases the timeline in which students attain a college credential after high school graduation.

    In fact, 46% of students who took a dual enrollment course in high school went on to complete a certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree within 5 years of graduation compared to 39% of students who did not participate in dual enrollment attaining a credential in 6 years. Additional studies from What Works Clearinghouse indicate that dual enrollment has positive effects on student attendance, grades, high school graduation rates, college enrollment and college completion.

    The positive effects are especially significant with minority and first-generation college students. I’ve witnessed this first-hand with my students at SECHS, where over 50% of our student population were first generation college students and over 85% were classified as low-socioeconomic status, yet 100% graduated with their high school diploma.

    As high schools, community colleges, and 4-year universities discover the benefits of dual enrollment, the partnerships between these institutions have become more frequent and more unique to best serve the needs of all student populations. Dual enrollment courses can be taken physically at a community college or 4-year university campus, digitally through online courses, and many are being offered directly at the high school with high school faculty attaining college teaching credentials. State legislation is now in place in 47 states governing the relationship between the high school and IHE to ensure equitable access to dual enrollment for all students.

    As enrollment and class offerings have increased, ensuring the quality and rigor of dual enrollment has become a core focus. As such, institutions have arisen to accredit these partnerships, the largest of which is NACEP, The National Association of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships. NACEP accreditation is the preeminent distinction among secondary and higher ed partnerships and reflects meeting measurable criteria in 5 different categories: curriculum, faculty, students, assessment, and program evaluation.

    Currently more than 100 programs are NACEP accredited. Pearson is proud to be a sponsor for both the National and Regional NACEP conferences and looks forward to presenting how our engaging, student-driven platforms can enhance student success.

    I am thrilled that Pearson recognizes this fast-growing sector and is committed to providing solutions and services as unique as these programs themselves. When I reflect back on my experience designing Sheldon Early College High School, the suite of Pearson products and services could have helped us to improve student course grades, provide personalized tutoring, and create a college-growing culture. As Customer Success Specialists dedicated to those using Higher Ed Courseware in K-12, we have been hard at work to ensure a smooth Back-to-School Fall 2019. Our initiatives include expansion of Pearson’s Dual Enrollment website, a customized Dual Enrollment Instructor Handbook, and launch of Dual Enrollment Customer Success Journeys.

    For more information on the studies mentioned in this blog and more, visit: http://www.nacep.org/, https://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/, https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/EvidenceSnapshot/671.

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