skipping entry-level classes at the colleges they ultimately attend and ending up in advanced courses for which they are under- or unprepared. A primary concern cited is the lack of standardized plans of instruction for the courses offered in these programs. Also noted is the lack of any general measure of the quality the curriculum or the instruction that could be used in determining whether to award credit or advanced standing to students who earn credit in such programs (Reisberg, 1998).

College-Sponsored Enrichment Programs

College-sponsored enrichment programs are designed to serve specific populations of students, including talented, minority, and underprepared or unmotivated students. Most postsecondary institutions in the United States offer such programs. The configuration of the programs varies among institutions, but they usually take the form of precollege summer programs or year-long programs and activities that provide enrichment and motivation for students who are underrepresented (e.g., women and minorities in science and engineering)9 or those who are not fully served through conventional programs (e.g., gifted and talented students).10

Precollege summer programs offer students the opportunity to earn college credit in residential summer school programs while living on college campuses. Students usually attend these programs during the summer following the tenth or eleventh grade. Participants typically take regular college courses along with undergraduates from the host institution and other colleges. These programs are usually designed to provide academic enrichment, foster independence, and promote good work habits.

Specialized Schools

Another vehicle for providing advanced study to secondary students is a specialized school. Most states and many school districts have developed specialized schools that bring together academically talented students and offer them an educational experience geared to their high abilities and their need for peers who share their interests. Specialized schools have proliferated across the country in response to research demonstrating that high-

9  

For example, the Summer High School Apprenticeship Research Program (SHARP) Program is a national enrichment and support effort aimed at increasing the numbers of qualified minority students in sciences and engineering by offering internships and mentorships to qualified students. (See the discussion of internships and mentorships later in this chapter.)

10  

The Center for Talented Youth at The John Hopkins University is an example of a program designed to provide academic enrichment to highly gifted students through flexibly paced courses.



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