In the waning days of January, the Ohio Department of Higher Education gained approval from the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review for two new regulations regarding College Credit Plus (CCP) that will take effect during the quickly approaching summer term of the 2018-19 school year. Here’s a brief look at two of the most significant changes.
One of the new rules divides available college courses into two categories: Level I and Level II courses. Level I is defined as any of the following:
- A transferable course, which is defined in detail within the rules
- A course in computer science, information technology, anatomy, physiology, or foreign language that is not eligible to be a transferable course
- A technical certificate course, which the rules define as a course that is part of an organized program for a technical certificate offered by a public institution
- A course included in a model pathway, which are developed by each secondary school in accordance with state law
- A course designed to teach study skills and other skills for academic and career success to first-year college students
- An internship
- Any other course approved by the chancellor
Level II courses are all the other classes offered at an institution of higher education.
The rule mandates that students who wish to have their CCP courses paid for by the state must complete fifteen credit hours of Level I courses prior to enrolling in Level II courses. However, there are some notable exceptions. For instance, students who successfully complete a Level I course in a specific subject are permitted to take a Level II course in the same subject area prior to completing the required fifteen hours.
The rules also prohibit high school students from taking certain classes, including those that involve one-on-one private instruction (like instrumental music or art), require excessive fees, or are study abroad, physical education, pass/fail, remedial, or religious courses. Previously, the only courses that were prohibited were those deemed remedial or religious.
By creating more stringent rules, students can no longer take classes that school officials deemed inappropriate and contrary to the original intent of the program—such as Zumba and Pilates. This is a smart adjustment that will ensure that taxpayer dollars are used for academic purposes.
Consequences for poor performance
The other new rule addresses students who struggle while enrolled in the program. Students will be deemed as “underperforming” if they have a cumulative grade point average lower than 2.0 in their CCP courses or if they withdraw from or receive no credit for two or more courses in the same term.
High schools are responsible for placing such students on CCP probation and notifying the student, her parents, and each college or university in which she is enrolled. While on probation, students are permitted to enroll in only one college course per term, and this course cannot be in the same subject area as the course that the student previously failed or did not receive credit for. Students move out of probationary status when their cumulative college course GPA rises to a 2.0 or higher. If a student enrolls in a course while on probation and their course grade fails to raise their cumulative college GPA to 2.0, she will be dismissed from CCP.
Dismissed students are able to request reinstatement after one full term. Reinstatement decisions are made by the student’s high school based on high school and college academic records and a measure of academic progress that is defined by the school. A student’s high school may maintain the dismissal decision, re-enroll the student into the program but with probationary status, or fully reinstate the student without restrictions. The rule also outlines an appeal process for dismissed students.
These changes are important because CCP courses are included on a student’s high school and college transcripts, and the F is calculated into the student’s GPA at both institutions. While the new rules can’t and won’t prevent some students from earning poor grades, they will prevent them from racking up multiple failures or withdraws. It also underscores the importance of rigorous entrance requirements—only students who are fully prepared to succeed at the post-secondary level should be allowed to enroll in the program.
Plenty of information is still needed about CCP, including deep dives into passage rates, the rigor of courses taught on high school campuses, and the underrepresentation of minority students. But overall, these rules will better ensure that CCP is used to advance the education of Ohio’s most academically able high schoolers.