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Teacher Requirements Found to Vary for High School Dual-Enrollment Classes

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Guest blog by Caralee Adams

A new report shows there is a patchwork of policies across the country when it comes to requirements to teach dual-enrollment courses in high school.

Increasingly popular dual-enrollment programs, which can be offered online, in high schools or on college campuses, allow high school students to earn higher education credits before they graduate. And the report, "Faculty Qualifications Policies and Strategies Relevant to Dual Enrollment Programs, " released July 12, provides a detailed analysis by state of the array of credentials instructors must meet.

"There is huge diversity from very local-control states, where they leave it up to the discretion of the institution, to other states that are extremely prescriptive in the qualifications," said Jennifer Zinth, the director of high school and STEM at the Education Commission of the States, the Denver-based research organization that co-authored the report with the Midwestern Higher Education Compact,  a nonprofit regional organization.

 The report also compares the qualification policies across regional accrediting bodies and examines the various ways states help high school teachers get the training they need.

 The analysis was driven, in part, said Zinth, by the new faculty guidelines released last fall by the Higher Learning Commission, a postsecondary accrediting body for 19 states. The rules will require high school instructors in dual-enrollment programs to have a master's degree and 18 graduate hours in the subject of the course they are teaching.

 "There is a certain level of panic in some of the states where there aren't as many high school instructors who have a master's degree," said Zinth. "There is concern that some dual-enrollment programs may have to fall by the wayside because they can't up-credential enough instructors."

 There is growing attention to ensure that the quality of dual-enrollment courses and the instructors who teach them in high schools are of the same caliber as those offered in colleges, added Zinth. The report provides states with information to compare approaches, but does not issue recommendations or highlight certain states as models.

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