FACTORS INFLUENCING THE SUCCESS AND GROWTH OF THE DUAL-CREDIT PHYSICAL GEOLOGY PROGRAM IN MICHIGAN
In 2013, 91 students at six high schools took the three part exam (lecture with rock and mineral identification and map skills). 59 students (65%) passed the exam (earning greater than 70% of the points). However, success was skewed by two high schools that have been in the program more than five years. Two classes that tested for the first time had one in about 15 students pass. As our program grows we gain insights into what will be needed to develop a robust, state-wide dual-credit network.
Success relies on an interconnected web of program advocacy, high school and college administrators, high school science department peers, geology departments, teachers, and students. Key parameters include number of years in the program, administrative and fiscal support, teacher enthusiasm and ability to attract students, student motivation, and willing college and university partners. Barriers include limited number of Earth Science certified teachers, especially in areas with diverse student populations; lack of peer or administrative support; course instability; competition with existing AP courses; rigid thinking by university departments or administrators; and uncertainty concerning district response to Next Generation Science Standards.
It is encouraging that teachers remaining in the program see their students’ pass rate grow. Teacher support includes syllabus development, three days of professional development, classroom materials, recruiting materials, online teaching resources, study guides and practice tests, grant writing collaboration, and letters to administrators. We plan to test students in about 10 schools in 2014. In 2015, we plan to be collaborating with 15 teachers, half of which serve diverse student populations.