The amount of Louisiana students earning college credit during high school is on the rise. According to  data collected by the Louisiana Department of Education, more students earned college credit on this past school year’s College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams than previous years.

CLEP is a program that gives students the possibility to show their understanding of introductory collegiate concepts and earn college credit that applies to various postsecondary institutions nationwide.

State leaders are still in the process of finding the best way to give early college credit opportunities to all Louisiana high school students. The newest pathway is the Dual Enrollment Framework Task Force. This group will study various ways for high school students to earn credits that will count towards not only their high school diploma, but also prerequisites at different postsecondary institutions across the state.

The newly released CLEP data shows how many students are benefitting from the program. The amount of high school students earning college credits has increased by 5 percent since the 2017-2018 school year. Since the program’s conception during the 2014-2015 school year, 558 percent more students have the opportunity for CLEP exams.

The amount of CLEP examinations taken during a school year has also increased. The number of CLEP exams taken during the 2018-2019 school year shows a 52 percent increase from the previous year. Since 2015, the program has seen a 521 percent increase. These new numbers man that Louisiana leads the nation in the number of CLEP exams given to high school students.

In total, high school students from Louisiana earned over 16,000 credit hours in 2019. This saved approximately $7.7 million in college tuition and fees.

If students receive a 50 or higher on their CLEP exam, they could receive from 3 – 12 credits of college-level work before leaving high school. The more credits earned in high school, the less the student will have to pay for at university.

While saving $7.7 million is only an estimate, the amount of money saved is probably higher. This is due to the American Council on Education’s recommendation of college credits for each subject being higher than three credits.

CLEP is only a single way for students to earn college credit during their high school years. Another option is Advanced Placement. The Advanced Placement program offers high school courses with a college-level curriculum. A different alternative would be Dual Enrollment. If a student partakes in dual enrollment, they would simultaneously enroll at both a high school and a college, earning credits at both.

Dual enrollment is the focus of the state’s new Dual Enrollment Framework Task Force. The task force was created during the 2019 Louisiana regular session. The Dual Enrollment Framework Task Force’s main goal will be to evaluate existing laws and policies in regards to early college credit opportunities. They will also collaborate with other state agencies and groups partaking in the same work. The group will then present their results and recommendations to the state’s Senate and House committees on education.

The group’s first meeting was July 24. The next will be September 9.

For more education related information, click here.


Louisiana High School Students Offered More Options

Students across Louisiana will soon be able to acquire different skills across various STEM careers, earning college credits along the way. Louisiana Believes tells us more with New Stem-Focused Jump Start Pathways to Provide High Schools with Advanced Skills, College and Career Credentials.

The four new programs are a part of Louisiana’s Jump Start pathways and can earn college credits at Louisiana State University or Xavier University. One of the four has already been approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). The other three have been approved by a BESE subcommittee and only have to be approved by the full board before going into effect.

Jump Start was created by the state of Louisiana to provide high school students with career and technical skills to move into high-demand STEM jobs. The STEM pathway consists of Carnegie credits throughout the STEM field and technical education that could lead to statewide credentials. The four new programs are: Xavier University Pre-Pharmacy, LSU Biomedical Sciences, LSU Computing, and National Integrated Cyber Education Research Cyber Security.

The Xavier University Pre-Pharmacy program was approved by BESE in June. It combines components from both natural sciences and industry practice. The teaching and schooling is to prepare that take this pathway through discussing pharmacy in the classroom and career experience.

  1. The LSU Biomedical Sciences track delves into the world of biomedicine. The pathway spotlights biomedicine to animals and humans. It will give an excellent foundation for students that are aiming for success along the medical track or any other science related field.
  2. The LSU Computing Certification Pathway consists of computer science, computational thinking, and computational science. This pathway is for students that want to find a career in computing.
  3. The National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center Cyber Security track consists of computer science, engineering, and mathematics. The program involves hands on learning and the exchange of knowledge with professionals in a given field. Students evaluate the ins and outs of privacy and security when a lot of communication and interaction is shifting online. They will also study the ethical side of advancement in robotics, artificial intelligence, and autonomous devices.

Students that complete one of the given pathways will also receive a STEM endorsement on their high school diplomas.

The pathways were created by different groups throughout the region last year. They were submitted by the Jump Start Graduation Pathway Review in the spring. The panel is made of members from the Louisiana Economic Development, the Louisiana Workforce Commission, and the Louisiana Department of Education. Once BESE approves, the pathways are adapted and adopted by Jump Start regional teams.

The Xavier University Pre-Pharmacy Pathway being implemented at the St. John the Baptist Parish STEM Magnet High School. This will make the program the third pathway at the school.

Careers across various STEM fields are the fastest growing not only in the state, but also in the nation. More than half of Louisiana students express an interest in the STEM field, but only ten percent meet the benchmark in showcasing readiness for collegiate level math and science. To counteract this, Louisiana wants to give students the option to experience STEM coursework. They are hoping the four programs assist them in reaching that goal.

For more education related information, click here.