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Accelerating Student Success through Credit-Based Transition Programs: Fact Sheets

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Fact Sheets

Types of Credit-Based Transition Programs

Credit-Based Transition Programs may be structured using a variety of models – Tech Prep, middle college high school, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate – or based on state policies or institutional arrangements. The fact sheets for each of the models briefly describe the programs and how the dual enrollment component is incorporated into the model.


Advanced Placement (AP)
Administered by the College Board, AP students may take one or more college-level courses in a variety of subjects. Though intended to be representative of introductory college study, AP courses do not use actual college curricula. AP students may earn college credit by scoring well on an end-of-course exam.
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Dual/Concurrent Enrollment
Dual enrollment allows high school students to simultaneously earn credit toward a high school diploma and a postsecondary degree or certificate. These programs have postsecondary institutions working closely with high schools to offer courses that, in many instances, are identical to those offered on a college campus. Depending on state policies or institutional arrangements, upon successful completion of a dual enrollment course, students may receive a transcript from the postsecondary institution. Transcripted credits allow students to receive college credit upon matriculation at a postsecondary institution.
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International Baccalaureate (IB)
Administered by the International Baccalaureate Organization, the IB program provides a comprehensive liberal arts course of study for students in their junior and senior years of high school. IB students take end-of-course exams that may qualify them for college-credit. Successful completion of the full course of study leads to an IB diploma.
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Middle College High Schools
Established to help students who are at risk of dropping out of high school meet their graduation requirements and transition into postsecondary education, middle colleges are located on college campuses and provide both high school and college courses. Middle colleges typically provide an array of supplementary services, such as counseling and assistance with college applications, to their students in addition to academic preparation.
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Tech Prep
Tech Prep is a sequenced program of study that combines at least two years of secondary and two years of postsecondary education. It is designed to help students gain academic knowledge and technical skills, and often earn college credit for their secondary coursework. Programs are intended to lead to an associate's degree or a certificate in a specific career field, and ultimately, to high wage, high skill employment or advanced postsecondary training.
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Program Categories

For this study, three categories based on the intensity of the program were developed. The intensity of programs varies in terms of how much of a student’s education experience the program covers, how many aspects of the postsecondary transition are included in the program, the degree to which students are integrated into a college environment and the amount of formal assistance they receive with their transition to college.The fact sheets for each of the intensity categories briefly describes the structure and primary goals of the program.

Singleton Programs
These programs typically comprise only a small part of a student's high school experiences. Their primary goal is to expose students to college-level academics, and allow students to earn college credit in specific classes/subjects. Singleton programs are usually offered through the high school and taught by high school teachers who have been specially certified to teach college courses. Students in these programs tend to be highly motivated and academically proficient.
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Comprehensive Programs
These programs encompass most of a student's junior and/or senior years. Students take virtually all of their courses through a credit-based transition program, sometimes even leaving their high school to study on a college campus. These programs typically do not address the non-academic aspects of secondary to postsecondary transitions. Generally, students in comprehensive programs are expected to be prepared for the demands of college-level study prior to entering the program.
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Enhanced Comprehensive Programs
The programs are similar to comprehensive in that they encompass most or all of a student's junior and senior years. However, they include supplemental services such as, intense counseling, college preparation activities, and close teacher-student relationships. As such, they do not presume that students are able to independently be successful in college-level courses, and take a more holistic approach to the secondary-to-postsecondary transition.
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Last Modified: 10/16/2007