Double-dipping in Higher Ed

What I really don’t get is the utterly insane practice of counting high school courses as college courses. Students come out of high school with two years of college already “done” when in reality they’ve done nothing but attend high school. We are supposed to take these two completely fake years of college seriously and let them graduate in two years. This is completely crazy.

I don’t know of any other country that allows two last years if high school to count as college. In Canada, there’s CEGEP but you do that after graduating high school.

We had a presentation by the admissions office people yesterday, and the numbers are crazy. This fake college credit is being assigned to crowds of students. As we were told, it’s normal to graduate high school with an Associate degree. What’s next, then? Counting kindergarten towards the PhD?

Why can’t everything count for itself? High school is high school. College is college. The worst part is that these high school courses we are forced take seriously and give college credit for are total shit. They are nothing like an actual college course.

12 thoughts on “Double-dipping in Higher Ed”

  1. I’m not sure I agree, or at least not entirely. AP (Advanced Placement) courses count as college credit only if the student takes (not all students do) and passes a national-level exam with a high enough score. Otherwise, it counts only as highschool credit.

    However, I agree that college instruction is different from whatever the kids have in highschool and most kids who have earned AP credits would benefit from seeing the same material in the college setting.

    Some universities, like the one where I work and which my eldest attends, do realize this at least for some STEM courses. They will still have entry-level testing of incoming freshmen in certain subjects, like math, to see if the kids indeed have the requisite knowledge to be placed into higher-level coursework. Many kids with AP credits fail these tests and end up having to retake their highschool AP courses. But the strong students pass and can get to advanced coursework sooner.


    1. It doesn’t have to be AP. I don’t mind AP. But local community colleges accept all sorts of courses for their credit. And we have to accept anything these community colleges accept. So we are stuck.

      I’d have no problem with a few AP courses at all. But it’s so far beyond that.


    2. A friend of mine (university English prof) reads AP essays every summer. I quote: “I have read some beautiful AP essays, fully deserving of the highest marks. Not a single one of those students should have been allowed to skip freshman comp in college.”

      It also occurs to me that AP is another example of an educational signifier that benefits wealthy students and schools.


  2. We have dual enrollment classes in lots of high schools, and a mandate from the state to count them as college classes. We can’t mandate placement tests or anything, though we can recommend them. They can’t take the class again in college for credit even if they clearly don’t know the material. A few such classes helps them get to more interesting material sooner. Asking them to function as a junior in their first semester helps them flunk out.


    1. Exactly dual enrollment. Which is a completely separate thing from AP. We have no control over it because community colleges decide what’s dual enrollment, and it can be anything. It’s a mess.


  3. I agree, but also, many topics are given for college credit where I work that would not count where I went to college. There, for instance, the most basic math course that could count was beginning calculus, and it was called Math 1A. They had Math P, advanced algebra and trigonometry, that you could take if you needed it, but you did not get credit. You couldn’t take beginning algebra, geometry or anything more basic — these were things you had to have taken in high school to get into college. But where I work, the equivalent of that Math 1A is a junior level course. All the math I did in junior high and high school is freshman and sophomore math here. So I don’t know what to think.


  4. At the root of much of this is the devaluation of education as anything more than glorified vocational training and credentialism. The idea that education functions to improve the person and that any experience, no matter how mundane or exotic, is a part of that process is a foreign concept to much of society.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right. And it used to be although some levels of some topics, e.g. foreign languages, calculus, were taught in both high school and college, you could only get credit once for each level. That is: you did not have to repeat in college (which my institution was making people do at one point, to make tuition money), but you couldn’t get college credit for what you did in HS, you had to do something more advanced than whatever you had already done, something new.


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