College Board approves 20 DODDS–Pacific classes for college credit
TORII STATION, Okinawa — All 20 advance-placement classes offered this year at Pacific Department of Defense Dependent Schools high schools have been endorsed by the College Board, meaning many students will be able to transfer their work into college credits.
To promote student success, DODDS-Pacific teachers from Okinawa and South Korea attended training last week to standardize their methods.
Japan and Guam district advance-placement teachers are scheduled to undergo training later this month at Yokota Air Base.
The training came about from a requirement last spring for all advance-placement teachers to submit their course outlines to the College Board to ensure courses met its standards for college-level work, said Chip Steitz, a DODDS-Pacific spokesman.
Board-accredited advance-placement courses are high school classes taught at the college level. At the end of a school year, students can take an advance-placement test, attaining a score of one to five, with five being the best.
Colleges and universities can award college credits based on those scores.
Some colleges award credit for a score of three or better, while others “won’t even take a five,” said Mary Obermite, an advance-placement language and composition teacher at Daegu American School in Korea.
“Students value the courses not so much because they replace a college course but because they are a preparation for college,” Obermite said.
“All our syllabi meet the same requirements as freshman college classes,” she added.
At stateside high schools, students have to pay for a placement test and take one only if they think they will pass, said Brandi Johansen, an advance-placement art history and literature and composition teacher at Seoul American School in Korea. At DODDS-Pacific schools, all students in advance-placement classes are required to take a test, and the Department of Defense Education Activity pays the fee.
Johansen, Obermite and about 50 other advance-placement, honors and Advancement Via Individual Determination teachers from the Okinawa and Korea school districts attended the training last week at Torii Station.
Honors and individual determination teachers were included because their classes are often feeders for the advance-placement courses, and all the teachers needed to be using the same methods, said Jennifer Smith, with the DODDS-Pacific director’s office.
“It’s been nice to hear from others who have run into similar roadblocks and how they’ve overcome them,” Obermite said.
Having the feeder course teachers attend as well helped get “everybody on the same page,” Johansen said.