A new pilot program that would allow high school students to graduate as early as the end of 10th grade is a creative way to grant more options for high school students looking to follow a non-traditional path.
The initiative will be launched in eight states in an attempt to improve the performance of high school students and to reduce the number of students taking remedial college courses at universities. At this time, North Carolina is not participating.
Students who graduate early by passing a series of standardized tests will be given the opportunity to immediately enroll in community college.
If they fail to pass the tests the first time, they will have the option of taking them the next year.
If students are taking courses in community college when they would normally be taking high school electives, they will have some core requirements knocked out of the way before they attend a selective university.
The 10 to 20 participating schools from each of the eight states will start the program for the 2011-12 school year.
While most students might prefer the more traditional route of taking all four years of high school, this gives a fast-track option for students who want a jump start on their collegiate career.
While North Carolina is not a participating state, it would do well to consider implementing a program like the one created by the National Center on Education and the Economy.
The NCEE created the program to imitate similar programs in place in many European countries. Even if the program turns out to be unsuccessful, it is certainly worth pilot testing.
The examinations will give teachers the opportunity to assess weak points in a student’s education.
These teachers would then be able to create customized programs of study for the students so they have a better chance of passing the test the next time around. Students who pass these tests may also opt to remain in high school and study in a program designed to prepare them for acceptance into a selective college.
The more options students have in high school, the better chance they have for success. The NCEE has promoted this educational philosophy in a creative yet realistic manner, and North Carolina should keep a close eye on its development in other states.
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