As seen in the print edition.
By Josh Tiaga.
Woodgrove is very special as it is one of few schools in Loudoun County to offer a new type of course, dual enrollment. Dual enrollment is sponsored by Northern Virginia Community College( NOVA) and works with the school board to allow four college level classes to be taught at the Woodgrove Campus by NOVA certified teachers.
Dual enrollment is a program that allows qualified students to enroll in college courses during their high school career. Through these classes students can earn up to six college credits and get a .5 GPA bump. These credits can typically be applied to both high school and college graduation and can be transferred to in-state colleges and in some cases to out-of-state universities. Not only are there credits involved, but the cost per credit is significantly lower. The cost is roughly $150 per credit at NOVA and taking a class at Woodgrove is around $23. Even if a student cannot afford the cost, the school will not deny him or her the right to take the class and will work with the student.
The courses available to students at Woodgrove are Latin and African Studies taught by Louise Spicer, English 111/112 taught by Ms. Andrea Elbaum or Mr. Thomas Clawson, and Multiple Variable Calculus by Mr. Carl Giesy. Giesy teaches at Freedom High School in South Riding, Virginia. He teaches the class at Freedom, but there will be a live feed from his class that will be streaming here at Woodgrove on a Promethean board.
Advance Placement is a curriculum that is geared to equate to what a college course could be like; it is an introductory to college level work. AP classes help the academic rigor that students pursue to better their college application. The program is audited by College Board to ensure all the standards are met and agree with the requirements. In this course, a 1 point GPA bump is also rewarded as to the .5 in DE. College credits are also involved in some cases, it depends on one’s score and if the college will reward them.
AP and DE offer similar types of curriculum, but both have different advantages or disadvantages. Some may say AP is a better course due to the rigorous restrictions of College Board, or DE is better because it is a preparation to what a real college course is like. But which course is better is defined by the student. Moreover some colleges prefer AP over DE or vice versa; therefore it would be best to find out from that college.
According to Senior Greg Hasenfang, “I like Dual Enrollment more because of the six credits and that they are easier to get. There is no exam at the end to get the credit; they are guaranteed. Also you are taking a college course in high school, you are getting used to the college atmosphere.”
Clawson is an English teacher at Woodgrove who teachers both AP and DE. He has taught both for 20 years and has taught overall 37 years. He mentioned that AP is geared for the end of year test and that it involves more work outside of school. Clawson also included that DE is made to be a lab course, which means most of the work would be done in school. Another perk of DE is that the class will give six credits without an end of year test. But the downside is that if a student fails this course the grade will stay with him or her throughout college. “Both classes are good, and it depends on what the student wants from the course to determine which is better,” said Clawson.
Regarding what colleges look for, Guidance Director Geri Fiore said, “It depends on the college, but if the school offers AP then the college would say to take it. DE is a course to take for the guaranteed credits.”
Whether one chooses AP or DE, the course that is better is the one that best suits the student’s future plans.