More than a million high school students are taking at least one college class through “dual enrollment” programs that let them earn high school and college credit at the same time, I write on U.S. News.
Unlike Advanced Placement courses, which are geared to high achievers, dual enrollment is usually open to a wide range of students. Some programs target students at risk of dropping out.
High achievers are going to college in any case, says Katherine Hughes of the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College, Columbia University. Dual enrollment can motivate students who aren’t on the college track, she says. Even those who’ve struggled in high-school classes can rise to the challenge, motivated by the chance to “try on the role of a college student.”
. . . Advocates of dual enrollment say it exposes students to rigorous classes that prepare them for college success, builds their confidence, and speeds their way to an affordable degree.
But researchers disagree on whether dual enrollment improves students’ odds of success.
Hughes’ research shows dual-enrollment graduates are more likely to start at four-year colleges, earn higher grades and keep going toward a degree. Here’s what we’ve learned about dual enrollment, she writes in response to new research in Florida. Students who took college classes on a college campus were more likely to go on to college and earn a degree, but there were no gains for students who took dual-enrollment classes on their high school campuses.