Martin Center: Concerns Raised Over NC’s Dual Enrollment Program

Shannon Watkins of the Martin Center for Academic Renewal has the details:

Recently, concerns over dual enrollment have been raised at Cleveland Community College in Shelby, North Carolina. The school’s problems, however, may go beyond dual enrollment; they appear to extend to issues involving improper college governance, lack of oversight, and lack of transparency.

First, let’s look at the dual enrollment program. All 58 of North Carolina’s community colleges participate in a program called Career and College Promise. In the 2013-2014 academic year, state funding for it totaled nearly $57 million dollars.

The program’s “Career and Technical Education” pathway stipulates that to be eligible, a prospective student must have a 3.0 high school GPA or have permission from his or her principal. Additionally, students have to take an assessment test (called PLAN) to demonstrate college readiness in English, math, and reading. These scores “should be considered” by administrators when determining students’ eligibility.

Now-former Cleveland Community College (CCC) instructor Ginger Bullock, in a recent Martin Center interview, argued that few mechanisms are in place to ensure accountability and enforce those academic standards. She said that many ill-prepared high school students are allowed to take college courses, and that leaders at her institution ignore the problem because of an obsessive focus on increasing enrollment. Bullock claims that instructors, feeling pressure from both college and high school administrators, let students filter through substandard classes.

One wonders how many North Carolina community colleges have similar issues.  It is certainly worth a closer look.

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