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Commentary: Dual credit programming worthwhile

Dual credit learning is "an incredibly powerful experience" for high school students

A marked increase in the number of Chinook’s Edge School Division (CESD) students participating in dual credit programming in the 2023-24 school year is great news for the community-at-large.

In 2022-23, a total of 163 CESD students took advantage of the opportunity afforded by dual credit participation – this year that number is more than 260 and likely to continue to increase going forward.

Dual credit is optional, career-based high school programming which helps students make transitions to either post-secondary education or workplace employment, according to Alberta Education.

Students are given credits towards their high school diploma and towards their respective post-secondary school education.

Dual credit programming applies to both in-person learning in courses such as heavy duty mechanics and online learning in courses such as environmental science, animal sciences, accounting and business.

“Dual credit learning is an incredibly powerful experience for students, which is why we’ve worked hard to create the opportunities,” said Jason Drent, CESD's associate superintendent. “We’re thrilled to see the increase in students choosing to participate.

“We see that because of their participating in dual credit, students increase in their academic confidence, they are more engaged in their academic learning at school, and they are more likely to choose to be in challenging academic classes.”

Dean Nielsen, principal of Hugh Sutherland School in Carstairs, has seen the success of dual credit programming with many of his students.

“We see that students are far more successful this way,” he said, noting there are 40 HSS students participating in dual credit courses in 2023-24.

Many students in Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools, including in Olds and Innisfail, are also taking part in dual credit programming this school year.

The teachers, instructors, students and support staff involved in this increasingly popular dual credit opportunity should be commended for their work in supporting and growing this exciting learning opportunity.

When students succeed – as they are doing in every-growing numbers through dual credit participation – the community-at-large benefits, both today and in years to come.

Dan Singleton is an editor with the Albertan.

Dan Singleton

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