Dual Credit Programs
Multiple Pathway/Dual Credit
Dual Credit provides students with the potential to earn high school and college credit at the same time. Dual credit options can be course or exam based. These options include: Advanced Placement (AP), Cambridge International (CI), International Baccalaureate (IB) courses with exams, Running Start, College in the High School (CHS), and Career and Technical Education (CTE) Dual Credit. These tests or courses may result in college course credit.
Why dual credit? In today's world, two-thirds of all jobs require some post-high school training or education. Taking dual credit is connected to higher high school graduation rates, college enrollment, and degree completion.
Exam based dual credit allows a student to take an exam (AP, IB, or CI) and apply to receive college credit with a score of 3 or better (for AP), a score of 4 or better (IB), and E or better (CI).
In course based dual credit (concurrent enrollment), a student enrolls in a class that has the potential to earn both high school and college credit. Course based dual credit classes can be offered at the college (Running Start) or at the high school (CHS and CTE).
Washington Dual Credit Summit
Strengthening Programs and Addressing Equity
March 16–17, 2020
Focused on promoting equitable access and participation of dual credit programs, the conference will allow participants to share best practices, apply solutions to common challenges, and actively engage with education partners, organizations and agencies. Learning and applied areas of focus are: Designing Pathways; Data, Measurement, and Research; Student and Family Support; Partnerships; Funding and Policy.
The summit will take place March 16 & 17 at Seattle Airport Double Tree. There are rooms available at a discounted rate.
We are currently accepting proposals for presentations. Presentation RFPs are due by January 24, 2020.
Registration is now open. The registration fee for the event is $225.
OSPI is providing K–12 partners with an opportunity to apply for a competitive grant to help cover registration and travel expenses. iGrant 940 is now open and can be accessed by logging in to the iGrant System.
Program Specific FAQ Documents
Most Commonly Asked Questions about Dual Credit
Students who take a class, either in the high school, skill center or at a college, which has the potential to earn high school and college credit, are considered to be enrolled in a “dual credit” class.
- Some courses (Career and Technical Education [CTE] Dual Credit, College in the High School and Running Start) allow students to earn college credit through completing the course.
- Other courses (Advanced Placement [AP], Cambridge International [CI] and International Baccalaureate [IB]) give students the potential to earn college credit through passing a standard exam or series of exams.
Regarding student readiness:
- Taking rigorous coursework in an area of interest and/or skill can increase a student’s success.
- Taking dual credit courses that have exams (AP/IB/CI) gives students a chance to try a college preparatory course and either not take the exam or not send the score if s/he doesn’t want to.
- There is more potential for earning actual college credit, and also some risk, with Running Start and College in the High School since the student actually starts an official college transcript by taking college courses.
- There is also potential for future impacts on federal and state financial aid for students who start earning college credits as early as 10th grade. See the Running Start FAQ for more information.
Regarding transfer of college credits or exam scores:
- The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) maintains a document that compares program information, costs, and other variances between the different dual credit programs.
- The WSAC Dual Credit Lookup Tool allows students to compare how their AP/IB exam scores will transfer in to any of Washington’s 2/4-year colleges.
- The Washington 45 is a list of college courses that students can take via Running Start or possibly College in the High School that are the most likely courses to transfer into any public 2/4-year college in Washington.
- Each college maintains its own webpage dedicated to “transfer credit”, which is the term most colleges use when referring to “dual credit”. Going directly to the college where the student wants to enroll will guarantee the most accurate information.
(see the Resources link on the OSPI Dual Credit webpage for more information)
While most federal and state-funded resources are available to students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, students should always ask their counselor if there are any other school or community based resources that can help.
For all dual credit programs, schools annually receive Academic Acceleration Incentive Program funds based on the previous year’s dual credit course enrollment. These funds can be used to help students with the costs any dual credit program.
For college preparatory courses with exams (AP/IB/CI):
- Washington’s test fee program provides funding each year to reduce the cost of AP/IB/CI exams for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.
- Schools can also use Federal Title IV funds to help with test fees.
For concurrent enrollment courses through College in the High School (CHS):
- Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch and are enrolled in qualifying high schools that have applied for state-funded subsidies (using iGrant #732, due July 1 annually) can get 5-10 college credits covered by subsidies.
For concurrent enrollment courses through Running Start:
- Colleges must make available fee waivers for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.
- Many colleges also provide assistance with books for low-income students.
Running Start is unique because it takes place on a college campus (except in cases where a student is doing college courses on-line). Ideally, students will enroll beginning with the fall term so as to maximize eligibility. Depending upon the college and high school’s process, enrollment for the fall quarter/semester can begin as early as February of the same calendar year. Interested sophomores and juniors should begin asking for information by January of the same year in which they want to enroll in Running Start.
Interested students should start by meeting with their high school counselor. The high school counselor will help the student determine:
- if Running Start fits with the student’s interests, skill level and High School and Beyond Plan,
- what courses the student can take that will meet high school graduation requirements,
- what the eligibility, orientation and registration processes entail, and
- what, if any, resources may be available to help with the costs of fees, books and transportation.
At any time, interested students can also go to the college’s website, type Running Start into the search box, and explore what the college’s eligibility, orientation and enrollment processes entail.
Regardless of your level of interest in Dual Credit, you can find the resources to answer any of your questions below.
Dual Credit System Improvement Guide Updated August 2018
Use the materials on this webpage to learn more about different dual credit programs and/or inform others about these opportunities.
Communications from OSPI
- A Conversation Starter: Prepare to Talk with your Counselor or Teacher about AP
- Information Brochure for Students – English, Spanish
- Information Brochure for Parents/Families – English, Spanish
Washington College Access Network
- NEW! College Knowledge resources
- Printable, graphic checklists for 6-12th grades (college readiness)
Washington Student Achievement Council
Federal-Level Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
- Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the reauthorization of the federal government's Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
- ESSA will be fully operational in the 2018-19 school year.
- Read the Approved ESSA Consolidated Plan
Our ESSA plan addresses opportunity gaps in the education system, and it works to promote equitable access and opportunity for all Washington students. Our responsibility as educators is to prepare every student - regardless of background, household income, or race/ethnicity - for post‐secondary aspirations, careers, and life. That means looking closely at a more comprehensive set of student success variables that go beyond standardized tests: chronic absenteeism, ninth‐grade class failure, and dual credit opportunities.
Washington will include these three measures serve as indicator of school quality or student success (SQSS). Each measure was subject to extensive review and feedback from stakeholders. These measures are currently a part of Washington's performance management system for the purpose of reducing opportunity gaps and increasing equity in the K-12 system and are displayed on OSPIs website (OSPI Performance Indicators).
Dual Credit Participation: Washington will derive a measure of dual credit participation, as measured by the percentage of all enrolled students (grades 9-12) who complete a dual credit course. This includes Advanced Placement, Cambridge International, International Baccalaureate, College in the High School, CTE Dual Credit (formerly Tech Prep), and Running Start.
College in the High School
Conversion of College Credit to High School Credit (or "Postsecondary Credit Conversion")
Data Sources - Start by gathering information
OSPI's Dual Credit Data
Rubric/Assessment Tool - Start an improvement process with system analysis
OSPI's Dual Credit System Improvement Guide
This dual credit specific resource guides building/district staff through a four-step system improvement process:
- Explore Dual Credit - what are the benefits of increasing equitable access to dual credit opportunities?
- Data Dive - using the OSPI Dual Credit Data, guided questions help staff understand the data
- Self-Assessment - use the provided rubric to do some reflection on what is working well and where improvement is needed
- Action Planning - use the provided template to set some SMART goals and determine a plan moving forward that increases equitable access to dual credit
Strategies & Interventions for Increasing Success in Dual Credit Courses
- Having good attendance is key to ensuring success in dual credit courses.
- Addressing attendance problems, which are often a symptom of larger problems, is a crucial strategy for increasing students' potential for success in advanced coursework.
See OSPIs Attendance webpage for more information and resources.
Family or Relationships
- Students coming from homes in which they experience trauma, abuse, or neglect, or from parents who have had negative school experiences may need additional supports to be successful in college-level coursework.
- Parental expectations may not always match a student's academic interests and/or skill level, and students may need additional support in how to handle this.
- Important considerations for any student include academic preparation, interest/relevance of course and connection to High School and Beyond Plan.
- Cultural expectations
- Will the student miss class to attend cultural events or care for family members?
- Does the student have other responsibilities, like maintaining a job?
- Does the family support the student's post-high school goals?
- Students may need help problem-solving situations like those listed in the questions above.
- Ensuring a positive transition from Middle to High School is a key strategy to increasing more students' readiness for advanced coursework and dual credit later in high school.
See OSPIs 9th Grade on Track webpage for more information and resources.
- Students often need to feel that instruction is relevant to their lives or goals and may need help developing a High School and Beyond Plan that has meaning to them.
See OSPIs High School and Beyond Plan webpage for more information and resources.
Research & Related Reports
- Summary of SAT, SAT Subject Tests, AP, and PSAT/NMSQT test scores, by high school
- Summary of SAT, SAT Subject Tests, AP, PSAT/NMSQT test scores, by school district
College in the High School
- Research suggests early college high school participants are significantly more likely than other disadvantaged students to graduate high school, enroll in college immediately after high school and earn a degree.
CTE Dual Credit
US Dept. of Ed. 2017 Report "Connecting Secondary Career and Technical Education Students and Apprenticeship Programs"
- Five of the eight programs profiled in this report, including Washington's own Puget Sound Skills Center Construction Center for Excellence, describe CTE-based programs where both college and high school credit are offered. Education Week "Should Schools Test the 'Career' Half of 'College and Career'?" by Sarah Sparks, July 10, 2017 edition (link to document)
Dual Credit & College/Career Readiness
- Wa. Student Achievement Council's comprehensive Dual Credit Report, 2018
- OSPIs annual Dual Credit Legislative Report - 2018 Report
- An Integrated Approach to College, Career and Life Readiness: A Case Study on Personalizing Guidance; Tom Vander Ark and Mary Ryerse, Getting Smart, April 2017
- Ed. Northwest presentation on increases in advanced course taking with the Oregon Promise program; Gear Up West, 2017
For Building & District Leaders
Dual Credit is a strategy that states’ and districts are using to ensure all students graduate high school ready to succeed in college, additional training, and/or a career. Dual credit programs provide high school students with the potential to earn college credit for courses and/or exams they complete while in high school.
The Washington 45 (list of college courses that will transfer to Washington's public 4-year colleges)
Other Programs Allowing Dual Credit Through College Enrollment
Gateway to College
Students, aged 16-21, who have dropped out of school, or are in the danger of dropping out, may qualify for this program to simultaneously accumulate high school and college credits, earning their high school diploma while progressing toward a certificate or associate degree.
Designed for 16-21-year old’s who have dropped out of high school or are on the verge of dropping out and are interested in returning to school and completing their high school diploma. The target population is low-income youth, first-generation college goers, students of color, and other young people underrepresented in higher education.
Technical College Direct Funded Enrollment Programs
Provides students the opportunity to simultaneously accumulate high school and college credits, earning a high school diploma while progressing toward an associate's degree or certificate. Students have access to most of the training programs and support services at any of the three participating colleges:
- Lake Washington Technical Academy at Lake Washington Institute of Technology (formerly known as Lake Washington Technical College)
- Northwest Career and Technical High School at Clover Park Technical College
- Technical High School at Bates Technical College
- OSPI Program Brief
Meet Highlight Districts
Meet some districts identified as best practice partners for their implementation of a dual credit program
The 2017 AP Honor Roll list includes the following districts: Arlington, Everett, Lake Washington, Longview, Orcas Island, Peninsula, Shoreline and Walla Walla. These districts have seen an increase in the number of AP exams taken, and have at least held steady or improved their overall exam scores, for a three-year span or longer. >
College in the High School
Zillah HS has done an exceptional job integrating College in the High School opportunities into the master schedule of a fairly small high school
Rainier Beach HS has built a culture of high expectations and achievement through implementing a significant support structure in combination with offering more IB opportunities to all students.
If your district is finding ways to scale up dual credit opportunities for more students and/or increase equitable access to dual credit, please contact Jason Boatwright and let us know!
Live Webinars - Dual Credit is one in the series
- OSPIs Graduation: A Team Effort monthly webinars - GATE Equity Webinar Series
- OSPIs monthly webinar series with the Wa. Student Achievement Council (WSAC) - OSPI/WSAC Webinar Series
- 2016 GATE webinar on Expanding Equity through Dual Credit
Learn about Everett School District's efforts to expand AP enrollment to historically underserved students
- 2017 OSPI High School and Beyond Plan webinar slides
Professional Development (PD): Trainings/Workshops/Conference Presentations
- Visit PDEnroller to see all upcoming OSPI organized PD events
- Visit the OSSI main page for links to upcoming PD opportunities for dual credit
High School and Beyond Plan
- Use the High School and Beyond Plan to help students connect their post-high school goals with the available dual credit option(s) that fit(s) best OSPIs HSBP information page, lesson plans and model template (available in different languages!)