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Dual-credit MTSU course, exam provide high schoolers educational nutrition

June 2, 2021




A pilot program to give high school students an opportunity for dual credit in college has yielded promising results.


All five students at Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro have passed the Nutrition Dual Credit Challenge Exam for a 100 percent pass rate. Each student completed a two-semester high school class led by Riverdale teacher and MTSU alumna Jaime Brown.


“This shows the excellent students who took the exam and the fact that Jaime Brown is a go-getter type teacher,” said Janet Colson, an MTSU professor of nutrition and food science in the Department of Human Sciences and a registered dietician.


“We had the entire school year to work though the course since my class is a full year and the college course is a semester,” Brown said. “This provided plenty of time to include activities, foods labs, et cetera, that I would normally do with students in my classes.”


The comprehensive 100-question exam coincides with “Principles of Nutrition,” an MTSU class designed for students who are not majoring in nutrition and food science. The exam has the same questions used for the college class. A grade of 70 percent or higher is required for passage.


“Many high school students have the ability to do college-level work providing they have help understanding higher order concepts and vocabulary,” Brown said. “We are able to help them rise to the occasion by providing a baseline knowledge at a level understood by high school students because we work with them daily.”


Each student is charged a $60 exam fee for administration purposes. This is a fraction of the cost for a regular three-hour college class.


“Many community colleges and other universities also offer dual-credit exams, but ours is the only one in Tennessee for an introductory nutrition class,” Colson said.


Colson said that high school students and their parents should consider the benefits of entering college with three or six hours of college credit.


“Currently, I have several college students in my summer … class that are taking the class as a prerequisite for nursing or another health-related program,” Colson said. “Many other students need the extra hours for elective classes to graduate and decide to take a nutrition class.”


The dual-enrollment program introduces high school students to nutrition as both a potential career choice and as a foundation for healthier lifestyles.


Colson and other MTSU faculty members who teach “Principles of Nutrition” are working on an open educational resource for use in the class that will be free to students.