Advanced Credit Program earns reaccreditation from national alliance

by | May 4, 2018

More than 6,300 students from 83 high schools across the St. Louis region enrolled in courses through the UMSL program last fall, getting an early start on their college careers.

The Advanced Credit Program helps area high school students get a jump on college by exposing them to college-level course work in their high school environment. (Photo by August Jennewein)

The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships has granted reaccreditation to the Advanced Credit Program at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Through the non-governmental peer review accreditation model offered by NACEP, high quality concurrent enrollment programs demonstrate that the academic integrity of their college courses are maintained in a high school setting.

“There are 17 different standards that we have to adhere to and that we have to provide evidence for, and we did that again,” said Kathleen Burns, the director of UMSL’s Advanced Credit Program. “Obviously, we did it very well.”

NACEP-accredited institutions commit resources, particularly faculty time and effort, to ensure that appropriate levels of academic oversight occur. Campus faculty maintain control over college curriculum, student learning objectives, and how to assess student learning in the course.

High school teachers who have the credentials necessary to serve as college instructors teach these courses after receiving training and receiving ongoing mentoring from college faculty in the discipline.

NACEP’s accreditation is valid for seven years. As the only national set of standards of excellence for concurrent enrollment partnerships, its standards serve as a model for statewide quality standards in 19 states.

More than 6,300 students – spread among 83 high schools across the St. Louis region – took part in the ACP last fall. That number has more than doubled in the past 10 years.

Those students are getting an opportunity to jumpstart their college careers. They might take anywhere from one to four classes at a time and can carry the credit forward into the future – at about one-fifth the cost for a three-hour credit taken on campus.

The program gives them a leg up on completing their degree in a timely manner when they do enroll after high school.

“It’s been a terrific program,” Burns said. “It helps students save time and save money.”

Burns believes the program also helps create more prepared students when they arrive in a traditional college setting.

“For example, these students may have had to write a college level essay in one of their ACP courses so it doesn’t freak them out when they have to go to their first philosophy class or some other subject area and write an essay,” she said. “They have an understanding of how that should be done and how it will be graded.”

UMSL Bound, the ACP’s largest student scholarship program for seniors, has helped attract students to UMSL after they earn their high school diplomas. UMSL Bound is a $3,000 annual renewable and stackable scholarship to be used in pursuit of an undergraduate degree at UMSL.

Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik