Students in eight states may be able to essentially skip the last two years of high school altogether and enroll in college early. According to an article by Sam Dillon in the New York Times:
Dozens of public high schools in eight states will introduce a program next year allowing 10th graders who pass a battery of tests to get a diploma two years early and immediately enroll in community college.
Students who pass but aspire to attend a selective college may continue with college preparatory courses in their junior and senior years, organizers of the new effort said. Students who fail the 10th grade tests, known as board exams, can try again at the end of their 11th and 12th grades. The tests would cover not only English and math but other subjects like science and history.
This new program, set up by the National Center on Education and the Economy and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will allow students at some public high schools in Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont to start taking college courses in fall, 2011. The goal is to eventually offer such programs at all high schools in all states.
The NCEE college plan is based on education systems used in Denmark, England, Finland, France and Singapore. In these countries students may proceed to higher education as soon as they’ve passed examinations indicating that they’re intellectually ready. In the U.S., in contrast, students generally can attend college only after they have earned high school credits by physically attending a series of classes over many years.