Saturday, January 16, 2010

In Suburban Schools, an Alternative to A.P.

Published: January 8, 2010

JERICHO, N.Y. — In a St. John’s University English class the other day, 10 students tackled George Orwell’s “1984” like generations of collegians before them. But while there was plenty of higher-order thinking, the class — and the students — were technically still in high school.

The college class is one of 16 being taught at Jericho High School here on Long Island, half of them added in the past two years through new partnerships with St. John’s in Queens, Molloy College in Rockville Centre and the Rochester Institute of Technology. The Jericho students simultaneously fulfill their high school graduation requirements and, for a reduced fee, earn college credit.

These so-called dual-enrollment courses have long been used in urban schools to provide some higher education to poor and minority students and encourage them to go on to college. But now many top suburban high schools are embracing dual enrollment as a way to challenge their brightest students and ward off senioritis once college applications are done. They say the college courses offer an alternative to the high-pressure AP program, in which students receive college credits or advanced placement based on their performance on an exam at the end of the year. The courses are also attractive in the current economy because they award college credit for a fraction of the normal tuition cost. (At Jericho, for example, students pay $250 for a three-credit course, while the cost for a St. John’s student would be $2,934.)


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