Friday, October 17, 2008

Getting a head start on college

This from the Boston Globe:

Dual-enrollment program
gives high schoolers a jump

The University of Massachusetts at Boston instructor scribbled algebraic equations on the blackboard at a breakneck pace, a blur of variables and exponents. As the chalk flew, three students in the class took notes just as furiously, filling page after page in their college-ruled notebooks.

Sitting side by side, they stood out from the other students. They were a little smaller, a little shier, and sat up a little straighter. They are, after all, still in high school.

Jeanne Tran, a senior at Excel High School in South Boston, is taking three college-prep classes this term, but said the UMass-Boston math course runs at a different speed. It isn't easy, but she's learning to keep up.

"Everything is so much faster," she said. "I just have to adapt."

Tran is one of hundreds of high school students in Massachusetts taking college courses this fall for an early introduction to college-level work and a head start on a degree. Now in a few schools, such as UMass campuses in Boston and Dartmouth, state education leaders this fall are expanding the programs to public colleges and universities across Massachusetts to expose more students to advanced classes. The goal is that a greater number of students will attend college, and be better prepared when they do.

State lawmakers approved $2 million this summer for what are known as dual-enrollment programs, which allow students to receive high school and college credit simultaneously. State education officials are urging high schools, which steer students to the college programs, to target students from families who have not attended college, and students interested in math and science...

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