Credit in More Than One Content Area
In Oregon, course credit may be awarded when the student has met defined levels of proficiency or mastery on the essential learnings. In rare cases, students may be able to earn credit in more than one subject area for a single course. Often these credits are awarded in credit increments of 0.5 or 0.25 of a credit.
Why offer credit in more than one subject area for a single class?
In some cases, a class may include substantial engagement with content from more than one subject area. When students have demonstrated their mastery of content standards from more than one content area, it is possible to award the student credit in both content areas.
One example of courses that provide students the opportunity to earn credits in more than one subject area for the same course is Applied Academic Credit. Applied academics can occur in a variety of contexts that incorporate standards from one or more academic disciplines and are presented as alternatives to the traditional academic coursework in math, science, and language arts.
In all cases, awarding credit is how a school communicates to students, families, and potential colleges and careers what students know and are able to do, and an assurance that students are ready for the next level of learning. Credit is only to be awarded when a student has demonstrated mastery of all the standards addressed by the course.
Requirements for Implementation
Courses that potentially offer credit in more than one content area require careful planning.
Collaboration across content areas, careful curriculum planning, and thorough assessment should take place in order to assure that the academic content is both relevant and aligned to standards before credit is awarded. The amount of credit that is offered must be based on the state standards explicitly addressed in the course. Assessment of student learning should use a robust method of evaluation, like an ODE- or district- approved rubric, to ensure students have demonstrated mastery of the essential learnings as outlined in the standards. The ODE page Options for Awarding Credit and the ODE guidance document Credit Options: Applied Academics are good resources to use when designing and assigning credit for this kind of learning.
Effective practices for planning and offering credit in multiple content areas include:
Curriculum design that aligns to the standards from both content areas, and includes substantial academic engagement with both content areas. At least one licensed teacher from each content area should be involved in designing the course.
The amount of credit awarded should be aligned with the academic standards explicitly addressed and assessed in the course.
Assessment should include appropriate collections of evidence that demonstrate mastery of the standards from both content areas, and should be evaluated using a robust process, such as a district- or ODE- approved scoring guide or rubric.
Implications for student advising and transcribing
As with all credits, students should be advised as to how earning these credits will impact their schooling, and the impact of these classes should be included in the student’s education plan and profile. In some cases, the school will need to decide whether to transcribe a class credit as from one subject area, or more than one. This decision should be made locally and in cooperation with the student so that the result addresses both completion requirements and the student’s longer-term career and college goals.