Compared to high school teachers, "college faculty members expect a higher level of work from students, including having them study independently, write in the discipline and be exposed to the latest research," wrote Glenn Sharfman, vice president and dean for academic affairs at Manchester College in Indiana, in an Inside Higher Ed commentary. "They are less likely to offer extra credit, or evaluate students based on an inflated high school norm."
Colleges can help ensure that classes taught at high schools are true college-level classes, says Melinda Karp, a CCRC researcher.
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The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) validates the quality of high school-based courses. To meet NACEP's standards, colleges train high school teachers in curriculum, assessment and grading for given courses, says Adam Lowe, executive secretary. College faculty observe the high school teachers and develop ongoing relationships.
It may not be the full college experience, but it's accessible for students who cannot travel to a college campus—yet.
Joanne Jacobs writes Community College Spotlight for The Hechinger Report, an independent nonprofit education news site. Jacobs also blogs about K-12 education and is the author of Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea and the Charter School That Beat the Odds.