Early Postsecondary Opportunities

Tennessee students have an unprecedented opportunity for education and training beyond high school through the TN Promise. To ensure students are ready to take full advantage of the TN Promise and succeed in postsecondary, all students should have access to rigorous and relevant early postsecondary opportunities. Research has shown that students who participate in early postsecondary courses are more likely to enroll and persist in postsecondary.

Early postsecondary opportunities allow students to:

  • Earn postsecondary credits while in high school.
  • Become familiar with postsecondary expectations.
  • Develop confidence and skills for success in postsecondary.
  • Make informed postsecondary and career decisions.
  • Decrease the time and cost of completing a certificate or degree.

There are several types of early postsecondary opportunities available in Tennessee.

View a side-by-side comparison of each type of early postsecondary opportunity available in Tennessee. Early postsecondary offerings vary widely by school district; reach out to your school counselor for information about the opportunities available within a specific district or school. Additional postsecondary and career planning resources for students and parents can be found at www.collegefortn.org.

Early Postsecondary Opportunities Specific to Tennessee

  • Dual Enrollment is a postsecondary course, taught either at the postsecondary institution or at the high school, by postsecondary faculty or credentialed adjunct faculty. Students are enrolled at the postsecondary institution and earn postsecondary credit upon completion of the course. High school credit is awarded based on local policy.
  • Local Dual Credit is a high school course which is aligned to a local postsecondary institution’s course and taught at the high school by high school faculty for high school credit. Students are able to receive postsecondary credit by successfully completing the course and passing an assessment developed and/or recognized by the granting postsecondary institution.
  • Statewide Dual Credit is a high school course which is aligned to statewide postsecondary standards and is taught at the high school by high school faculty for high school credit. Courses and their accompanying challenge exams are created by Tennessee secondary and postsecondary faculty. Students who meet or exceed the established cut score set for the exam earn credits which can be applied to any public postsecondary institution in Tennessee.

National and International Early Postsecondary Opportunities Available in Tennessee  

  • Advanced Placement (AP): The College Board’s AP Program provides an opportunity for high school students to experience postsecondary-level coursework across multiple subjects. Each course is aligned to a subject-specific AP exam, which provides students the potential to earn credit for postsecondary coursework in that subject.
  • Cambridge International Examinations (CIE): A division within the University of Cambridge, CIE provides internationally recognized academic programs for students age 5 to 19. The high school A and AS Level courses, available only through approved Cambridge International Schools, provide students the opportunity to earn postsecondary credit that is accepted by colleges in the U.S. and abroad.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): The IB Diploma Programme, available only through an approved IB World School, provides high school students the opportunity to take a rigorous, pre-university course of studies. IB courses are aligned to internationally-benchmarked exams which provide opportunities for students to earn postsecondary credit while still in high school.
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP): Developed by the College Board, CLEP exams are used to assess mastery of postsecondary-level material acquired in a variety of ways — through general academic instructions, significant independent study or extracurricular work. Students can earn credit for postsecondary coursework in a specific subject.

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Tennessee Promise

Last Update: April 8, 2015