Alignment of Courses

Course alignment is an essential feature of early college schools and other schools with instruction that blends high school and college course taking. These schools develop an academic plan that outlines courses that students are able to take. The academic plan meets one or more of the following goals:

  • Articulates courses approved for both high school and college credit (e.g., dual credit/concurrent credit)
  • Aligns with high school graduation and college entrance requirements or with the level of readiness necessary for success in core college classes (e.g., college math, college English, college science)
  • Includes prerequisites or pathways based on students’ proficiency levels (e.g., students may take increasingly rigorous courses as they demonstrate the ability to do so)
  • Leads to an Associate’s degree or a minimum of college credits earned while enrolled in high school
  • Provides a gateway to career pathways (e.g., engineering, health sciences)
  • Courses are transferrable (e.g., to state colleges and universities)

This section includes two examples of an aligned sequence of secondary and postsecondary courses. The first is an example of an academic plan for a school that enables students to take college courses. The second is an example of an academic plan leading to 15-30 college credits.

Secondary and postsecondary faculty and staff use data to assess the aligned instructional program in order to address such issues as how successful students are in taking and completing college courses, and which sequence of courses best prepares students for success in college courses (Tracking Data to Assess Secondary-Postsecondary Aligned Instructional Program).

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