Despite its increasing popularity, very little research has been carried out on dual enrollment – a plan where high school students take college classes for credit. The National Center for Postsecondary Research has tried to fill that gap by publishing two major studies on the program.
The first study, which monitored Florida’s 2000-01 and 2001-02 high school seniors, found that students who participated in dual enrollment were 12% more likely to go to college and 7% more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than students who were not part of the scheme.
An interesting point, however – the effects were only evident when the dual enrollment classes were taken on college campuses. Students who took dual enrollment classes on high school campuses showed no statistical gains.
The second study tracked Florida high school seniors who took a college algebra placement test in 2000-01 and 2001-02. This study found that, out of the students who passed, those who were part of dual enrollment college algebra class were 16% more likely to go to college and 23% more likely to earn a college degree than similar students who did not take the class.
Interestingly, in both counts, students in dual enrollment who would be considered ‘marginal’ were no more likely to enroll in or complete college than similar students who did not participate in dual enrollment. Therefore, the studies suggest that for the benefits of dual enrollment are driven by the type of class particular students take.
“The new studies confirm that dual enrollment can be advantageous for students, but that there is significant variation in the extent to which students benefit – a variation driven largely by course location and content,” a press release says.
Essentially, the two new National Center for Postsecondary Research studies have found that participation in dual enrollment has strong positive effects on college enrollment and completion, but these effects are driven hugely by where students takes dual enrollment classes and what classes they take.