Tennessee students have an unprecedented opportunity for education and training beyond high school through the TN Promise. To ensure students are ready to take full advantage of the TN Promise and succeed in postsecondary, all students should have access to rigorous and relevant early postsecondary opportunities (EPSOs). Research has shown that students who participate in early postsecondary courses are more likely to enroll and persist in postsecondary.
Early postsecondary opportunities allow students to:
- earn postsecondary credits while in high school.
- become familiar with postsecondary expectations.
- develop confidence and skills for success in postsecondary.
- make informed postsecondary and career decisions.
- decrease the time and cost of completing a certificate or degree.
The College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) Program provides an opportunity for high school students to experience postsecondary-level coursework across multiple subjects. Each course is aligned to a subject-specific AP exam, which provides students the potential to earn credit for postsecondary coursework in that subject.
Developed by the College Board, College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams are used to assess mastery of postsecondary-level material acquired in a variety of ways—through general academic instructions, significant independent study or extracurricular work. Students can earn credit for postsecondary coursework in a specific subject.
Dual enrollment (DE) is a postsecondary course, taught either at the postsecondary institution or at the high school, by postsecondary faculty or credentialed adjunct faculty. Dual enrollment instructors must meet postsecondary requirements, but do not have to meet specific TN teacher licensure or endorsement requirements.
Dual enrollment courses can be taught at the postsecondary campus, the high school, or online. The location of the course does not affect its status as a dual enrollment course.
Students are enrolled at the postsecondary institution and earn postsecondary credit upon completion of the course. High school credit is awarded based on local policy.
High school course aligned to a local postsecondary institution’s course and exam. Students who pass the exam earn credits that are accepted and/or recognized by the local postsecondary institution.
Tennessee high school and college faculty worked together to develop the learning objectives and challenge exam for each course.
Students have the opportunity to earn credit that can be applied to any Tennessee public postsecondary institution.
Prior academic performance, ability, and interest should be used to inform student placement decisions.
The courses add to the portfolio of available early postsecondary credit opportunities, but do not replace local agreements.
High schools can offer early postsecondary credit courses regardless of their access to a local postsecondary partner or funding for other courses.
All students enrolled in a statewide dual credit course take the online challenge exam, which is used to assess mastery of the postsecondary-level learning objectives.
Exam scores are reported on the high school transcript to ensure postsecondary credit is accurately awarded but are not used in any state accountability measures.
All statewide dual credit courses are approved by the Consortium for Cooperative Innovative Education before they can be offered as a part of the state’s current pilot program (see Public Chapter 967 for more information).
Industry certifications (IC) are earned through secondary and postsecondary career and technical education programs and courses. High school students are encouraged to focus their elective credits on robust, career-aligned learning pathways. Robust learning pathways should culminate with the achievement of nationally recognized industry certifications, meaningful work based learning experiences, and/or attainment of postsecondary credit hours through early postsecondary opportunities. As it pertains to industry certifications, all department-promoted certifications are aligned with postsecondary and employment opportunities and with the competencies and skills that students should have acquired through their chosen programs of study.
Comparison of Early Postsecondary Opportunities in TN