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Educational experiences that provide high school students with the opportunity to earn college credit while in high school are known in Oregon as “accelerated learning” programs.
Students participating in accelerated learning are building a bridge between their high school experience and their future. These opportunities reduce gaps in college access and academic achievement. They can better prepare students for their next steps after graduation and smooth the transition into a college or university. Students who participate in these programs attend school more regularly, graduate at higher rates, are more likely to pursue further education, and are more likely to persist into a second year of college. These opportunities are a powerful equity tool.
To ensure equitable participation in programs schools need to start young. Course content should be aligned from middle school through introductory college courses. Teachers from middle school through college faculty should meet to discuss expectations and skills students will need to succeed. Advisors and teachers need to be trained on college programs and access so they can help students choose education pathways and courses that match their aspirations. College level experiences should be purposeful to help a student achieve future goals. Districts should carefully monitor programs to avoid potential bias in advising and teaching practices. Student supports need to be in place. When implemented well these opportunities can empower all Oregon students.
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