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A new report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shows a growing number of high school students are concurrently taking college-level courses.
During the 2010-11 school year, NCES estimates that nearly 15,000 public high schools (82 percent) enrolled students in 2 million college courses, for which students earned both high school and college credit. This is an increase from 71 percent in 2002-03 academic year, when NCES last conducted the study. Over those eight years, an additional 4,000 public high schools established dual and concurrent enrollment partnerships to offer college courses.
Most students are taking college courses without leaving their high school campus, with college-approved high school instructors teaching the college courses, according to the report. More than three-quarters (77 percent) of dual-enrollment students were taught at secondary school locations, including career centers run by the public school system. At 89 percent of high schools where college courses are offered on site, high school instructors deliver some or all of the college courses.
Such dual-enrollment partnerships with colleges and universities are increasing the rigor of the high school experience, according to NCES.
“Colleges and universities increasingly recognize the need to share resources and create a more continuous education system for students,” said Sandy González of Schenectady County Community College (New York), who serves as president of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships.
Dual enrollment benefits at-risk students
The report provides nationwide estimates based on a representative survey of public high schools, NCES said. It concludes that high school students took 2 million college courses in 2010-11, up from 1.2 million in 2002-03. This is an annual growth rate of more than 7 percent over the years since the previous study on high school dual enrollment.
Even higher growth rates were seen in schools where most students are ethnic or racial minorities (12 percent), rural schools (12 percent) and in the Northeast and Southeast regions of the country (9 percent).
NCES will release a companion report on postsecondary providers of dual-enrollment courses in March.
Prepared for college-level work
Studies show that earning college credit while in high school improves college transitions and creates the academic momentum necessary for students to complete college degrees, according to NCES. Recent reports from the American Association of Community Colleges and theAmerican Association of State Colleges and Universities have called on colleges and universities to further engage with their secondary partners to address the critical need to improve students’ readiness for college.
Dual enrollment can produce scholars with skills
“We are incredibly pleased to see such outstanding growth in dual enrollment courses,” Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of Duval County Public Schools in Florida, said in a statement. “These courses create a college-going culture in high schools that motivate students to begin thinking about college and careers. This culture builds students’ self-esteem and helps them to realize that they are actually college-ready.”
Copyright ©2012 American Association of Community Colleges