April 6, 2017
To increase college and career readiness in Washington, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is strengthening the state’s capacity to offer quality dual-credit options and ensure equitable access and course completion for all students. The Northwest Comprehensive Center (NWCC) at Education Northwest is partnering with OSPI in this effort.
In late March, OSPI released data analytics on current programs and student participation in each district (see the OSPI press release). Along with the data reports, OSPI and NWCC provided a companion tool designed to help districts understand how dual-credit programs support students’ career and college success and make data-driven decisions to improve dual-credit opportunities and close gaps.
According to Nettie Legters, one of the guide’s coauthors, the dual credit companion tool is designed to be useful to state and district leaders in several ways. “First, it helps them make the case for prioritizing dual credit by situating their local programming in the context of statewide and national efforts,” she said. “Second, it encourages them to assess dual credit as a cross-sector system that requires communication and coordination between K–12 and postsecondary organizations and data to inform continuous improvement. Finally, the tool supports collaborative action planning.” Legters was told by OSPI partners that they “view the tool as a model for companion guides in other areas that they are producing analytic reports for—ninth-grade transition, for example.”
In addition to NWCC’s support of dual credit in Washington, REL Northwest has conducted research in this area in Idaho and Oregon, and Education Northwest is conducting evaluations of dual-credit programs in Oregon. In fact, the Institute of Education Sciences released a report from REL Northwest in March that offers the first comprehensive look at community college dual-credit options in Oregon and the students who participate in them. “The work by NWCC and REL Northwest has contributed to Education Northwest’s growing institutional capacity on this topic,” says Ashley Pierson, lead author of the REL Northwest report and coauthor of the NWCC guide. “We are excited to help other states in the region and beyond inform and expand their dual-credit initiatives by providing technical assistance and research in this area.”