Since 1981, the University of Washington (UW) has partnered with high schools to offer UW courses for UW credit in the high school classroom. Courses are official UW courses – listed in the UW course catalog and taught regularly on campus – and are taught by highly qualified high school teachers who are approved and trained by UW faculty. UWHS teachers follow the same curriculum and grading standards as those courses taught on the UW campus. Students in the course earn high school credit and also have the option to register to earn UW credit. The opportunity to earn both high school and college credit in the same course is what makes this a "dual credit" or "concurrent enrollment" program. In Washington State, this model is referred to as "College in the High School." UWHS is just one of many accelerated options available to high school students.
To ensure that the UWHS program follows best practices in the field of concurrent enrollment, UWHS is fully accredited by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP). NACEP is a professional organization for high schools and colleges that fosters and supports rigorous concurrent enrollment. This accreditation demonstrates that UWHS meets or exceeds rigorous national standards of quality in the areas of curriculum, instructors, students, assessment, and program evaluation.
How is UWHS different from Running Start?
Different from Running Start – which enables students to take college courses on a college campus – UWHS enables students to take college courses in their own high school classroom. The courses are taught by high school teachers who are approved and trained to teach the UW course for UW credit. Students benefit by being able to take rigorous college coursework alongside their peers in their high school, taught by teachers they know, and without the additional cost and logistics of transportation and scheduling concerns of time spent away from the high school.
How is UWHS different from Advanced Placement?
Courses offered through UWHS are actual college courses bearing college credit, and the UW credits are recorded on the student's official UW Transcript. Advanced Placement courses are college-level, but are not official college courses bearing college credit. They prepare students to take the corresponding AP exam, and the score earned on that exam may enable students to be awarded college credit by the college or university they attend. For UWHS, the UW grade and UW credits are based on all the work throughout the course, not one high-stakes exam. Consequently, more than 90% of students who register for UW credit in a UWHS course earn UW credit.
I am glad the final grade is not merely based on a single large exam, but rather the total collection of all the work from the year.
– UWHS Student