ERIC Identifier: ED347956
Publication Date: 1992-03-00
Author: Greenberg, Arthur R.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Higher Education Washington DC.| George Washington Univ. Washington
DC. School of Education and Human Development.
High School-College Partnerships: Conceptual Models, Programs,
and Issues. ERIC Digest.
Awareness of high school-college partnerships has increased, especially in
the higher education community, as evidenced by increased numbers of
partnerships, legislative activity, publications, news reports, foundation and
agency support, and conferences and panels devoted to the subject. While the
roots of the (often strained) relationships between high schools and colleges go
back two centuries or more, the closer collaboration required for successful
partnerships is a relatively recent phenomenon.
WHAT ACCOUNTS FOR THE INTEREST IN HIGH SCHOOL-COLLEGE PARTNERSHIPS?
Many factors explain the burgeoning interest in
collaboration including the changing student population, democratization of
higher education admissions policies, students' frequent lack of skill
preparedness, awareness of a need for new models of inservice staff development
for high school teachers, and greater competition in college student
recruitment. Additional factors include increased awareness of the need for
enhanced articulation between levels of institutions by administrators, parents,
and state education department officials, and an awareness that the challenges
confronting contemporary secondary education--particularly for at-risk students,
women, and minorities--require a community effort in which colleges have been
asked to play a much larger role than previously reserved for them.
In the face of increased opportunities to consummate partnerships with school
systems, higher education institutional decision makers must respond to several
key questions including: What are our institutional motives? Can our expertise
be transferred to elementary and secondary school settings? Which partnership
form is the correct form for us? Is this an opportunistic involvement created by
external pressures or inducements (such as grant opportunities), or are we
seeking a longer term relationship with requisite resources identified to
sustain the effort? Is the partnership consistent with our perceived
institutional mission? Can our institution afford to risk failure?
CAN HIGH SCHOOL-COLLEGE DIFFERENCES BE OVERCOME?
movement toward partnerships has not been without its natural impediments.
Practitioners and researchers have commented upon the differences in high school
and college courses. These differences have evolved from disparities in
institutional funding and resources, student bodies, teachers and teaching
(including teaching load, student characteristics, source and availability of
materials of instruction, academic freedom, salaries and vacations, teaching
amenities, teaching qualifications, valuing performance, and rewards), faculty
role in decision making, and institutional leadership style. These factors,
combined with the historical separateness of our loosely coupled systems of
secondary and postsecondary education, have led in their most benign form to a
lack of mutual understanding. More invidious manifestations can result in an
active distrust between high school and college faculty and administrators.
Fortunately, a growing body of collaborative experience demonstrates that
these factors can be overcome with appropriate planning and sensitivity to
divergent, as well as congruent, institutional goals and cultures.
WHAT FORMS DO PARTNERSHIPS TAKE?
Examples of high
school-college partnerships include concurrent-enrollment models; enrichment,
compensatory, and motivational designs; Academic Alliances and other
teacher-to-teacher approaches; preservice teacher education; mentoring/tutoring
models; and school improvement and restructuring efforts.
Concurrent enrollment models provide an opportunity for high school students
to engage in college-level courses usually for simultaneous high school and
college credit. Examples of the model include the College Board's Advanced
Placement Program and Syracuse University's Project Advance, both designed to
serve students who show well-above average academic ability; La Guardia
Community College's Middle College High School, for students at risk;
Minnesota's Postsecondary Enrollment Options Program, for students of all
ability levels; and Virginia's Master Technician Program for technical students.
Other partnerships focus on enrichment, compensatory, and motivational
concerns, often for students who are at risk (urban and rural poor, for
example), underrepresented (women in science and minority group members), or
traditionally not well served through conventional programs (such as gifted or
talented students). Programs representative of these types include the
University of California's MESA, Colorado Community College's Partners Program,
and the Center for the Advancement of Academically Talented Youth at Johns
Academic Alliances and other kinds of teacher-to-teacher partnerships,
through which high school and college faculty jointly discuss a variety of
subject-area issues and concerns, also prevail. The Greater Boston Foreign
Language Collaborative is an excellent example of the Academic Alliance
Movement. The National Writing Project, the Atlanta Public Schools Project with
the National Faculty, and the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute are other
examples of teacher-to-teacher partnerships.
Other partnerships have developed in the areas of preservice teacher
education (such as Cleveland State University's teacher training center);
student mentoring/tutoring programs (for example, the University of Akron's
Kenmore Project); and partnerships which have as their objective school
improvement or restructuring (Mississippi's Project '95 and the College Board's
EQ Models Program for School-College Collaboration).
WHAT ISSUES AND ACTIONS SHOULD AN INSTITUTION CONSIDER WHEN CONTEMPLATING INVOLVEMENT IN PARTNERSHIPS WITH HIGH SCHOOLS?
Five steps are key to the development of any high
*Identify the student population and program goals
*Contact local high schools and school districts
*Develop community support
*Evaluate for program improvement
Because the field of high school-college partnerships still is actively
developing, significant research issues remain to be addressed. These issues
tend to fall into three major areas: descriptive, procedural analysis, and
Unless a sound sense of the realistic anticipated outcomes of high
school-college partnerships can be established, their future viability cannot be
assured; nor, perhaps, can they even appropriately be justified apart from the
accounts of their many supporters.
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This ERIC digest is based on a new full-length report in the ASHE-ERIC Higher
Education Report series, prepared by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education
in cooperation with the Association for the Study of Higher Education, and
published by the School of Education at the George Washington University.