UC a-g approval

 In Recent Articles, News

Dear Parents and Friends of G3,

We are excited to announce that Online G3 is now a UC-approved course publisher of online a-g courses! Families may now elect to enroll in select G3 classes for credit that will be recognized by the University of California.

Before I explain the details of this new option, let me state that if your family is not interested in a-g credit, nothing at G3 will change for your student. When we started down this path of UC approval, we consciously chose to make a-g credit an optional element for our standard classes. We know that every learner is unique and there are thousands of ways to complete high school depending on your geographic location and family philosophy. We value diversity and choice – we have no desire to force all of our students onto the same educational path. So if you love G3 as it is, rest easy with the knowledge that your students will continue to have access to the same program we have always offered.

Why UC a-g?

When I began G3 in 2009, I created the online program that I wish had existed for my own daughter.  As Kaytlin grew, so did G3. When we hit high school, however, we felt forced to choose from a limited number of paths to college, none of which felt quite right. To gain admission to the University of California, Kaytlin had three main options:

1.Take a-g approved high school courses

2.Validate coursework through AP and SAT subject tests

3.Attend community college and transfer

After searching a limited list of approved a-g courses, and then feeling the pressure of high-stakes testing, Kaytlin chose the third path and became a community college student at age 13. While she has been very successful and has many wonderful possibilities for transfer to a 4-year university, this path was not so much a choice as it was a last resort.

Since then, I have seen first-hand how well G3 classes prepared Kaytlin for success in college. I knew that our classes were rigorous and encouraged critical and creative thinking, and I wished that we could give our students the freedom to enjoy learning and avoid excessive high-stakes testing without being forced into early college. By gaining UC a-g approval, we hope to give gifted students more options to select the path to college that is truly right for them.

How do families select a-g credit?

G3 has seven a-g approved classes for the 2016-17 academic year, and plans to add more in the future:

• Introduction to 19th Century British Literature with Writing (full year English)

• Advanced British Literature: History of the English Novel (full year English with UC Honors designation for extra grade point)

• Dystopian Literature with Writing (1 semester English)

• Modern Literature of Multicultural America (1 semester English)

• Big History (full year history)

• Advanced World History with Writing (full year history with UC Honors designation for extra grade point)

• Modern U.S History through Movies with Writing (1 semester elective)

You can check the UC online course list to see the latest approvals, along with subject categories and honors designations. Then choose the UC-approved course that is right for your child and register at OnlineG3.com, being sure to add a writing supplement if the class has “with writing” in the a-g approved title. UC generally requires more written output than our asynchronous learner-friendly classes usually include, so most of our a-g approved classes require the addition of a writing supplement.  In the coming weeks, we will be contacting families who have registered for a-g eligible classes to inquire about interest in taking these classes for credit.

And the end of the course, G3 will provide a grade recommendation that students may present to their home institutions. Ultimately, the home institution is responsible for making final grade determinations and awarding credit. To ensure that your student receives a-g credit, please make sure that your home institution has added the appropriate G3 classes to their official a-g lists.

How do the writing supplements work?

Writing supplements are available for several Teen Focus classes, and are required for a-g credit in most cases (Big History is a notable exception to this requirement, due to the project-based learning included). These supplements add 2-3 additional essay assignments to the regular G3 classes. Through these supplements, students work directly with a writing instructor to explore class topics in more depth through writing, and practice the kind of essay writing that will be required in more advanced high school and college courses. There are no required webinar meetings for writing supplements – students work directly with a writing instructor through Google Docs comments, Moodle, and email to craft their essays and receive personalized feedback.

Please note that writing supplement instructors are not necessarily the same teachers providing the history or literature content. We believe that the best instruction comes from passionate subject-matter experts, so we have crafted co-teaching arrangements to provide the best subject matter and writing instruction for every class.

What about grades and transcripts?

G3 has always maintained a gradeless learning environment. We want to create curious lifelong learners who are not simply jumping through hoops to earn arbitrary points.  However, we also know that the college application process is often more straightforward when students have traditional transcripts with assigned letter grades. With that need in mind, we have designed a collaborative grading option for students seeking a-g credit with graded transcripts.

To earn credit and a letter grade recommendation on a G3 completion certificate, students will need to complete a minimum percentage of class activities and submit a detailed portfolio of coursework that exemplifies the student’s learning journey. Students will then self-assess with a rubric and have the option to revise their portfolios according to the rubric to create the strongest possible representation of their coursework. Through a set of online questionnaires, students and teachers will then collaborate on a grade that is a fair summary of the student’s effort and mastery of material.

What if students outside of California want to take classes for credit?

All students are eligible to take a-g approved classes for credit at G3. Whether or not your home state or home educational institution recognizes this credit is beyond our control. However, UC a-g approval is a highly recognized standard that may be meaningful even outside of California. In addition, we are coordinating with another entity that may provide additional validation options. Stay tuned for more information!

What if a student already took a class that is now UC-approved?

Unfortunately, UC a-g approval is not retroactive.  A-g credit is available beginning in the fall of 2016. Students can often pursue validation of prior coursework through testing and more advanced class credits.

Thanks for following us on this journey!

Jaime Smith

Jaime Smith is also known as Headmistress Guinevere at OnlineG3.com.  She is the President and CEO of Online G3, Inc., and she teaches literature and grammar at G3.

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