New Research on Dual Enrollment

Posted on February 20, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I have been involved in dual enrollment at my institution for about two years (dual enrollment = high school students taking college courses and getting both high school and college credit). I am a fan of dual enrollment for qualified high school students (as is U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan): it gives high school students access to subjects that may not be available in their high schools, it gives them college credit that may shorten their time (and expense) to a 4-year degree, and it helps acclimate students to the expectations of higher education classrooms.

In my area of NJ, there is not a lot of high school dual enrollment (called Option 2 in NJ). Part of the reason is that the high schools of Mercer County are excellent and high school juniors and seniors have access to rigorous AP and Honors courses that help prepare them for college. But part of the reason is that my sector might not be doing enough to smooth the path to dual enrollment for many students.

A new study by the National Center for Education Statistics looks at dual enrollment by U.S. public high school students (2010-2011). The national data from the U.S. Department of Education show that students at 82% of public high schools enrolled in dual credit courses in 2010-2011.

The report has a wealth of information about the college course-taking patterns of high school students including information on:

  • Whether students at the high school earned certificates,4 associate’s degrees, or bachelor’s degrees from a postsecondary institution during the 12-month 2010–11 school year by taking dual credit courses;
  • Whether students at the high school took any courses for dual credit with an academic focus or with a career and technical/vocational focus
  • The total number of high school enrollments during the 12-month 2010–11 school year in dual credit courses taught primarily through distance education, taught at locations for secondary school students, and taught on the campus of a postsecondary institution, by course focus (academic or career and technical/vocational);
  • Whether dual credit courses taught at locations for secondary school students were taught by high school or postsecondary instructors, by course focus;
  • The most common student composition (i.e., high school students only or high school and postsecondary students) for dual credit courses taught on the campus of a postsecondary institution, by course focus;
  • The types of expenses generally paid out of pocket by students and their parents for dual credit courses during the 12-month 2010–11 school year, by course focus;
  • Whether the high school or district paid any of various types of expenses for dual credit courses taken by any of the school’s students during the 12-month 2010–11 school year, by course focus.

I plan to use the data in this very useful (and timely!) report to improve the access to dual enrollment in my area!

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