Concurrent Enrollment Research

National Research

The Impact of Dual Enrollment on College Degree Attainment: Do Low-SES Students Benefit? (2013. Brian P. An, University of Iowa)

This peer-reviewed study utilized a quasi-experimental research design known as propensity score matching to compare students who took dual enrollment with those who did not, accounting for student demographic characteristics and prior academic performance.  Using a nationally representative sample of students who began postsecondary education in 2003, the study showed that students who took dual enrollment courses were 10% more likely to complete a Bachelor's degree than the comparison group. The benefits were even greater (12%) for students whose parents never attended college.  Additional analysis using an older dataset (students who graduated high school in 1992) found similar results overall and for parental education variables, and also documented that benefits were greater for students who earned 6 college credits through dual enrollment (12% compared to all students, 19% compared to students who took neither Advanced Placement nor dual enrollment).

An Analysis of the Impact of High School Dual Enrollment Course Participation on Post-secondary Academic Success, Persistence and Degree Completion (2008. Dr. Joni Swanson, University of Iowa, College of Education)

This study, comparing the high school and college transcripts of more than 400 students who participated in dual enrollment courses (but not in Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses) with the transcripts of students with similar GPA’s and class rank, but who took no accelerated learning courses, showed that:

  • “Dual enrollment students were 11% more likely to persist through the second year of college than non-participating students.”
  • “Dual enrollment students were 12% more likely to enter college within seven months of high school graduation than non-participating students.”
  • “Dual enrollment students who completed 20 or more credits in the first year of college were 28% more likely to persist through the second year in college than were students who did not complete dual enrollment courses.”

The data also suggests that dual enrollment “fosters more positive attitudes towards earning post-secondary degrees in students who did not previously hold these attitudes.” Full report

Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates - Fall 2007 Cohort (2007. National Student Clearinghouse Research Center)

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center calculated six-year college completions rates using enrollment records of nearly every first-time degree seeking college student who enrolled in a United States college or university Fall 2007.  While it does not statistically control for the types of students who take dual enrollment, nonetheless it documented that 16% of all students had taken dual enrollment courses in high school.  The college "completion rate for dual enrollment students was 66 percent compared to 54 percent for students with no prior dual enrollment experience."

New Measures, New Perspectives: Graduates’ Time- and Credits-to-Degree in SREB States (2011. Southern Regional Education Board)

While this study did not incorporate statistical controls, it looked at time-to-degree figures across all public institutions in the 10 state southern region.  It found that students who took dual enrollment showed large decreases in the time needed to complete both associates and bachelor's degrees:

  • The 2008-09 graduates of two-year colleges who were first-time-in-college at the colleges from which they graduated and had not attempted college credits in high school spent significantly longer earning associate’s degrees than those who did attempt college credits in high school — 4.6 years compared with 2.9 years.
  • Graduates who were first-time-in-college students with no record of attempting college credits in high school averaged five years, while those with a record of taking college credits spent an average of 4.6 years earning their [bachelor's] degrees.

The Toolbox Revisited: Paths to Degree Completion from High School through College
(2006. U.S. Department of Education)

A companion study to a previous U.S. Department of Education study, Answers in the Toolbox, published in 1999 (see below). Both national longitudinal studies reach similar conclusions: “The academic intensity of the student’s high school curriculum still counts more than anything else in precollegiate history in providing momentum toward completing a bachelor’s degree” (p. xviii).

“Less than 20 credits by the end of the first calendar year of enrollment … is a serious drag on degree completion. The original Tool Box told the same story. It is all the more reason to begin the transition process in high school with expanded dual enrollment programs offering true postsecondary course work so that students enter higher education with a minimum of 6 additive credits to help them cross that 20-credit line. Six is good, 9 is better, and 12 is a guarantee of momentum” (p. xx).

UConn Research Presentations

Course Evaluations: How & Why?, Magdalena Narozniak & William Newell (University of Syracuse), 2015 NACEP National Conference, Denver, Colorado. October 26, 2015.

Best Strategies for Successful Credit Transfer: Results of the 2013 Concurrent Enrollment Credit Transfer Study

Magdalena Narozniak & Brian A. Boecherer, 2013 NACEP National Conference, Jacksonville, Florida. October 20, 2013.  

Increasing Post-Secondary Success Through Concurrent Enrollment: How Higher Education Institutions Can Lead Reform at the High School Level

Magdalena Narozniak,  4th Annual Conference for Student Success at UMass Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts. October 11, 2013.

Defining Your Concurrent Enrollment Program for Others: Growth and Development, Brian A. Boecherer, keynote address at the 35th Annual Cooperative Academic Partnership Program (CAPP) Conference atUniversity of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, Wisconsin. March 28, 2012.

Concurrent Enrollment in the News