As we’ve discussed throughout the implementation of our middle school program, the addition of middle school IOAPA courses often creates new situations and challenges to work through for teachers and administrators hoping to provide these options for their high ability students (check out our series for more details). Often, when schools decide to implement accelerated curriculum, the decision of credit comes up. For middle school students taking high school level courses, where should the credit apply? How does that impact graduation requirements? As with many things related to gifted education, compromise and creativity are often important when deciding how to provide upper-level courses to students.
For some schools, awarding credit at both the high school and middle school level may not present an issue. However, administrators may want credit to apply at only one level. This might present issues when middle school students get to high school if they are then asked to repeat courses they have already completed. When faced with this issue, middle school gifted coordinators might suggest including the IOAPA middle school course as a line on the student’s high school transcript while giving credit at the middle school level. While the course might not count towards high school graduation requirements, documentation of the course will allow these students to continue within the appropriate course sequence, freeing up their schedule for future AP classes or other advanced opportunities later in high school.
The most important thing that middle school gifted coordinators can do is communicate with administrators at the middle and high school to ensure that the options available work to best serve the student in pursuing advanced coursework.