NEW REPORT – Progress and Problems with PSEO

The Progress and Problems with PSEO 2016 report replicates and expands “Families Need to Know about PSEO”, a Center for School Change report published in September, 2015. Both reports examine how a stratified random sample of 87 Minnesota school districts and charter schools, one per county, are complying with Post Secondary Enrollment requirements adopted in 2014 by the Minnesota Legislature. The Legislature mandated that school districts provide “up to date” information about PSEO on their websites, and in materials distributed to students, grades 8-11, and their families. The report also discusses several other emerging PSEO issues.

Major findings are as follows.

  1. There has been major progress in compliance with the state law about providing up to date information on PSEO.
  2. Fifteen percent mentioned the 10th grade PSEO option in August, 78 percent mentioned it in January, and 91 percent listed it by March 1.
  3. One percent mentioned in August, 2015, 77 percent mentioned in January, and 90% mentioned by March 1 that transportation funds are available for students from low-income families who want to get to a post-secondary institution for one or more PSEO courses.
  4. One percent in August, 2015, 77 percent mentioned in January, and 90 percent mentioned by March 1 the PSEO online opportunities.
  5. Twenty-one percent mentioned in August, 2015, 77 percent mentioned in January, and 90 percent mentioned by March 1 that PSEO course tuition, books and required fees are paid with state funds.
  6. Although the vast majority of websites contain the required information, it was difficult, sometimes extremely difficult to find on more than half (55 percent) of the websites we examined. Only 45 percent of the websites had a search function that brought the website user to information about PSEO.
  7. In the course of doing this research, CSC heard from parents and educators about other emerging issues with PSEO.
  8. We asked for but did not receive copies of information from many districts and charters that they distribute to students and families.
  9. Colleges and universities vary widely in their PSEO acceptance.
  10. Some districts discourage PSEO participation.

Based on this research, key recommendations include:

  1. Districts and charters create a website search function that brings users to information about PSEO, and other dual credit opportunities.
  2. Another study be done early in 2017 to examine websites and information being distributed to students and families.
  3. The legislature should examine MDE’s interpretation of the PSEO law which has led some charters to lose two types of state funding, unlike traditional districts
  4. The state should research and share higher education acceptance policies toward dual credit.
  5. Districts should give equal weight to various dual credit courses.

Download Progress and Problems with PSEO 2016 (Full Report PDF)