ST. JOHN | Lake Central and Crown Point students earned the lion's share of dual high school/college credits garnered in Northwest Indiana last school year, a report says.
Nearly 40 percent of the dual credits sought by high school students in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper, Newton, Pulaski and Starke counties were earned at Lake Central and Crown Point high schools, according to The Center for Workforce Innovations' recent Dual Credit Report.
Dual credit courses allow students to earn college credits while still in high school.
Lake Central students earned more than one-quarter of all the dual credits garnered by students at 41 Northwest Indiana schools in the 2011-12 school year, according to the report.
Lake Central students earned 2,444 credits, while Crown Point students earned 1,017 college credits during that school year.
Five universities partner with Lake Central to offer the dual college credit — Purdue University Calumet, Purdue North Central, Indiana University Northwest, Indiana University at Bloomington and Ivy Tech Community College.
Lake Central students have a choice of 33 dual credit courses in such subjects as English, government, history, math, business, foreign language and auto repair, said Marty Freeman, assistant principal. All are part of the general education courses that college freshman typically take.
“Dual credits are important for preparing our students for college. It’s a nice transition for students before they go to campus,” he said. “They are introduced to college work.”
Most dual credits are earned by juniors and seniors, and the courses are “completely different than advanced placement courses,” he said.
AP classes prepare high school students to take the AP exams that, if passed, allow them to enroll in upper-level courses in their majors.
The cost of dual credit courses taken in high school also helps families save money while their children are earning college credits, Freeman said.
Ivy Tech dual credit courses are offered free to Lake Central students, while the university undergraduate courses are $25 per credit hour. By contrast, Indiana residents pay more than $265 per credit hour at PUC and more than $220 per credit hour at IUN for undergraduate classes.
Freeman said the college credits earned by high school students have been approved by the state for transfer anywhere.
It’s a rigorous process to establish and maintain that high school-college partnership, he said.
The colleges review the Lake Central curriculum and the instructors who teach the dual credit classes. There are five requirements that the high school must meet before the post-secondary partners approve dual credit.
“They look at the core library classes. They observe the instructors and examine the assignments for each class for inter-reliability,” Freeman said. “Purdue Calumet even swaps papers (assignments) with our instructors.”
What the universities are looking for is the rigor of the coursework offered at the high school.
“The university has to be sure they keep their accreditation,” he said.