News

AHA Issues Best Practices Statement Regarding Dual Enrollment/Concurrent Enrollment

AHA Staff, March 2016

The AHA Council recently approved a statement regarding best practices in dual enrollment/concurrent enrollment (DE/CE) courses. The statement (below) was drafted by the Teaching Division.

The statement reflects the AHA’s desire to promote educational quality as more students gain access to postsecondary history courses through DE/CE programs. Additionally, at the January 2016 meeting, Council authorized Elaine Carey, professor of history at St. John’s University and former vice president of the Teaching Division, to act as the AHA’s representative on DE/CE issues and begin working with other disciplines to develop a comprehensive picture of the DE/CE landscape.

The full statement includes both an assessment of the current state of DE/CE and statements of how various participants in DE/CE can meet the standards of educational quality envisioned by the AHA. We welcome comments on the dual enrollment statement in the Teaching and Learning History section of AHA Communities (communities.historians.org).

For additional background, please see the September issue of Perspectives on History, which carried a forum on DE/CE (historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/september-2015).

Dual Enrollment/Concurrent Enrollment: AHA Recommendations

Dual enrollment/concurrent enrollment (DE/CE) courses have increased during the past 10 years and continue to grow at a rate of 7 percent a year. Administrators, politicians, parents, and other stakeholders view these courses as a means to reduce the cost of higher education and encourage more students to attend college by allowing them to earn college and high school credit simultaneously. The types of courses offered range from workforce training to humanities and social sciences, including history.

DE/CE agreements between institutions of higher education and local school districts vary from state to state and from institution to institution. Some institutions have limited partnerships while others have those that extend across school districts and state boundaries. Delivery methods of courses vary between classroom settings in which high school students gain college credit by completing additional assignments to fully online classes taught by a university or college professor. High school teachers offer the majority of DE/CE classes, but frequently have little contact with the host college or university and little oversight despite the guidelines of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) that specifically outline best practices.

NACEP has accredited 97 DE/CE programs, and it has over 300 member institutions as of January 2016. At its most recent conference, over 800 people attended from member and nonmember institutions seeking to add or expand DE/CE offerings. The organization has created standards for universities and colleges, but these recommendations are simply guidelines to follow, not specific to any discipline. A department may not request accreditation, only an institution. Significantly, a college or university does not need to be a member or accredited by NACEP to offer DE/CE classes.

The AHA recommends that institutions offering DE/CE pursue accreditation from NACEP. In preparation for that accreditation and upon completion of it, the AHA encourages universities and colleges to strive to improve history education in which professors and teachers share resources and ideas, and that academic history departments have greater oversight of curriculum and instruction of DE/CE. Even with accreditation, departments offering DE/CE must continually ensure that the institutions, schools, and departments maintain communication to ensure a college-level class is being offered, that assessments are completed, and that proper funding and oversight is maintained. To meet the standards of the American Historical Association (AHA),

Colleges and Universities Must:

  • Share data, recruitment, and retention information of DE/CE students with history departments  
  • Administer the programs in keeping with the best practices as recognized by the profession and the college or university history department that oversees the program  
  • Protect the academic freedom of teachers teaching DE/CE courses  
  • Provide academic departments with proper funding and support to oversee and administer the courses taught in high schools  
  • Respect the decisions of the history department in regards to credentials, hiring, and syllabi of teachers
  • Maintain the academic integrity of the history department—courses taught in high schools must have the same course numbers, titles, designations, and credit as equivalent courses in college or university departments
  • Offer teachers in DE/CE opportunities to continue their education in the fields that they are teaching
  • Organize workshops and orientations for host departments, professors, and teachers  
  • Offer and support teacher and student access to library and university resources needed to teach a class  
  • College and University History Faculty Must:  
  • Recruit, interview, and hire all history teachers involved in DE  
  • Annually review and approve the teachers, syllabi, and courses to ensure that these meet the academic standards of the department  
  • Promote ongoing trainings and support for teachers to ensure best practices in course curriculum, assessment, and pedagogy  
  • Provide annual professional development for teachers and professors to promote collegiality and to address course content and historiographical shifts, course delivery tools and platforms, and evaluation and assessment procedures  
  • Designate a faculty member to visit campuses, review teachers, and promote collegiality between the university and its DE/CE partners  

High School Principals and Districts Must:

  • Ensure that teachers are given ample time to attend workshops and events at the partner colleges and universities  
  • Recognize and acknowledge that teachers must have academic freedom to teach college-level classes  
  • Provide adequate planning to ensure that teachers have sections or classes that are designated college level  
  • Designate sections of history classes that are exclusively for dual enrollment students—students may not gain DE credit by simply taking a history class and paying tuition  
  • Respect the decisions of the hosting college or university academic department regarding hiring, syllabi, and teaching methods  
  • DE/CE Teachers Must:  
  • Annually submit their syllabi and teaching plans to the host department for approval  
  • Participate in workshops and discipline-specific professional development activities to address content, assessment, evaluation, and historiography  
  • Follow, complete, and submit assessment materials that are required by the partnering college or university department  
  • Have a master’s degree or at least 18 graduate credit hours in history

A version of the introduction to this article and the statement itself appeared on AHA Today (blog.historians.org) February 4, 2016.


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