Every other month we get an update on what’s been happening recently at ourImmanuel Lutheran High School, College and Seminary in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
One of the more significant changes in higher education over the last two decades has been the rise in popularity of dual-credit courses, which high school students take for both high school and college credit. According to the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, ninety percent of high schools in the United States now offer dual-credit courses, and one-third of U.S. students take college courses in high school. The benefits of these courses include students’ ability to take college courses at a reduced price and to lessen their time to graduation (thus also reducing their overall college costs).
While Immanuel Lutheran High School has already been offering a high school class in calculus that is available for college credit, as well as an AP® statistics course, this summer the Board of Regents approved having Immanuel expand their offerings of dual-credit courses. These courses offer a number of benefits. With our staffing and student population, it is difficult to provide a broad range of elective options for our high school students. Dual-credit courses allow us to expand those elective options without hiring additional staff. Furthermore, high school students who complete these courses can transfer these credits for general education courses at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire (or potentially at other institutions), or use them to reduce their college load at Immanuel. Students, then, are potentially able to save both time and money in college, for they are reducing the number of courses required at college and are paying significantly less for them. In addition, students are introduced to college courses at Immanuel and get a better idea of what the content and workload in these classes are. Most importantly, these students receive instruction on these subjects from a biblically based, Christian perspective.
During this academic year, we are offering college-level courses in science and psychology to our high school students. Junior and senior high school students who enrolled in Science 101 earned an elective credit for high school as well as three college credits, while students who enrolled in Psychology 102 will earn elective credit for high school as well as three college credits. We began with these courses because it is especially beneficial for our students to gain knowledge on these subjects from a Christian perspective. These courses have been quite successful. In the fall, seven high school students enrolled in Science 101, and this semester twenty-one high school students are enrolled in Psychology 102. Not only do the enrollment numbers speak to the success of the program, but we have also received positive feedback on these courses from our students. For example, one Science 101 student from last fall writes, “If you take one of these classes, you get high school credit, which is nice, but you can also get the college credits for it, so you don’t have to take them again later. It also gives you a look at what college classes will be like in difficulty level and covering of material.”
While we at Immanuel certainly do not want to follow every popular trend in secular education, we definitely feel that dual-credit courses offer meaningful benefits for our students. We will continue to explore possibilities for expanding our dual-credit offerings, especially focusing on the Christian foundation for these courses, which is the greatest benefit for our students.
Professor Mark Weis teaches Psychology 102, one of the dual-credit courses at ILC.
501 Grover Road, Eau Claire, WI, 54701