When the Georgia legislature passed the bill commonly referred to as Move On When Ready, we immediately noticed the potential for dual enrollment programs to become a force for change in Georgia’s secondary school systems. Today, high school students comprise a significant portion of the total enrollment at many of Georgia’s two year colleges and schools (25%-50%). The overall purpose of the program is to allow qualifying high school students the ability to take a college class and to allow the credit from that college class to also count as a high school credit. The program is funded through the Georgia Student Finance Commission, and
Dual enrollment takes on many forms as some students leave their high school each day and drive to the college campus to take classes on the college campus. Other students are taking online college classes. Other high schools work with their university partners to bring in college professors who teach the dual enrollment classes on the high school campus.
The growth of dual enrollment programs has prompted great discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of both AP and dual enrollment programs. AP classes offer a standardized curriculum and test that is recognized nationwide. A qualifying score which can be very difficult for some students to attain, may or may not result in a student being awarded college credit depending upon the policies of the universities and their various departments. Highly selective colleges and universities acknowledge the validity of the tests and know what material has been covered. A student who successfully passes a dual enrollment class are guaranteed college credit which can be transferred to Georgia colleges and universities, most large state universities throughout the nation, and some private colleges.
Westfield decided to launch a pilot program with one dual enrollment class several years ago. We have been continually evaluating the efficacy and role of such classes. We believe that a small offering of dual enrollment classes is a great fit for the community that we serve. However, we also believe that the AP program has great merits because of the rigor, the difficulty of the exams, and the nationwide recognition of the program. As such, we are striking a healthy balance between the AP and dual enrollment programs. We currently offer four dual enrollment classes and hope to add two more. We plan to maintain five AP classes. We will continue to monitor the changing landscape of dual enrollment and AP programs. Our guiding philosophy when making changes is being true to our mission statement, and our desire to give exceptional value to the families that we serve.