The University of Connecticut is a Research Institute that not only produces knowledge, but also disseminates research for the good of our community and the broader public. Below you will find a bibliography of prominent literature on concurrent enrollment. Full-text articles can be accessed via the UConn Library by UConn ECE Instructors, Site Representatives, and Students. UConn ECE is proud to have contributed in advancing concurrent enrollment by publishing a chapter in a peer-reviewed book on concurrent enrollment, entitled, “Bridging the High School-College Gap:  The Role of Concurrent Enrollment Programs” (Syracuse University Press, 2017).  The chapter by Brian A. Boecherer, Ph.D. is titled: Income Effects on Concurrent Enrollment Participation: The Case Study of UConn Early College Experience.

Select Articles on Concurrent (Dual) Enrollment

(Updated September 2020)

Concurrent Enrollment and Early College: Assuring Postsecondary Access and Achievement. Legg, John Matthew, and J. Howard Johnston PhD., 2020, Policy Brief. 2.

The senior year of high school has special social and ceremonial status in American communities. Many schools honor their seniors with special events, more lax regulation and supervision, and lighter academic schedules. These special privileges started back when most students did not either plan for or need to prepare for higher education. It marked the end of their education, not the transition to another phase.

Rather than celebrate, some researchers argue that we should be deeply concerned because this hold-over means that 25 percent of the high school experience is a huge waste of time, opportunity, and money. The reasons for this “wasted senior year” are many. For the vast majority of high school seniors, they have completed their state accountability testing, early college admission decisions have relieved grade pressures, their college admissions testing is finished, and they earned most of the credits they need for graduation 4. As a result, few seniors grow academically, and many regress, resulting in a difficult transition to postsecondary expectations.

The research is pretty clear, however, that students who take a more rigorous high school curriculum have higher educational attainment and earnings  Further, a student’s transition to college is enhanced when they are challenged academically, and they are more likely to persist and complete their degrees.

Concurrent Enrollment in Lecture and Laboratory Enhances Student Performance and Retention. Matz, Rebecca L. ; Rothman, Edward D. ; Krajcik, Joseph S. ; Banaszak Holl, Mark M. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 2012, Vol.49(5), p.659-682.

Laboratories have been a cornerstone in teaching and learning across multiple scientific disciplines for more than 100 years. At the collegiate level, science laboratories and their corresponding lectures are often offered as separate courses, and students may not be required to concurrently enroll in both. In this study, we provide evidence that enrolling in an introductory laboratory concurrently with the corresponding lecture course enhances learning gains and retention in comparison to students who enroll in the lecture alone. We examined the impact of concurrent versus non-concurrent enrollment on 9,438 students' withdrawal rates from and final grades in the general chemistry lecture at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor using multiple linear and binary logistic regression analyses, respectively, at a significance level of 0.05. We found that concurrent enrollment in the lecture and laboratory positively impacts (1) the odds of retention in the lecture by 2.2 times on average and (2) final lecture grades by up to 0.19 grade points on a 4.0 scale for the lowest-scoring students according to university-level mathematics and chemistry placement exam scores. These data provide important results for consideration by curriculum advisors and course planners at universities that do not require concurrent enrollment in general chemistry as well as other science courses. In the face of current budget cuts that threaten to shorten or eliminate laboratory experiences altogether at multiple educational levels, this study demonstrates the value of laboratories in promoting science learning and retention. (Contains 8 tables.)

The Influence of Dual Enrollment on Academic Performance and College Readiness: Differences by Socioeconomic Status. An, Brian P. Research in Higher Education, 2013, Vol.54(4), p.407-432

I examine the influence of dual enrollment, a program that allows students to take college courses and earn college credits while in high school, on academic performance and college readiness. Advocates consider dual enrollment as a way to transition high school students into college, and they further claim that these programs benefit students from low socioeconomic status (SES). However, few researchers examine the impact of dual enrollment on academic performance and college readiness, in particular, whether SES differences exist in the impact of dual enrollment. Even fewer researchers consider the extent to which improved access to dual enrollment reduces SES gaps in academic performance and college readiness. I find that participation in dual enrollment increases First-Year GPA and decreases the likelihood for remediation. I conduct sensitivity analysis and find that results are resilient to large unobserved confounders that could affect both selection to dual enrollment and the outcome. Moreover, I find that low-SES students benefit from dual enrollment as much as high-SES students. Finally, I find that differences in program participation account for little of the SES gap in GPA and remediation.

Teaching and Learning in the Dual Enrollment Classroom. Hughes, Katherine L.; Edwards, Linsey. New Directions for Higher Education, 2012(158), p.29-37

Dual enrollment is viewed by many as part of a promising college preparation strategy for a broad range of students. But as participation in dual enrollment has expanded across the country, there has been increasing attention paid to the rigor and authenticity of dual enrollment courses, particularly for those courses held on high school campuses and taught by high school teachers. Because dual enrollment courses are actual college courses that appear on a transcript the same way as other college courses, as opposed to college-level courses or curriculum such as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs, instructors are expected to maintain the standards, texts, and assessments of the sponsoring college or university. The potential tension between broader access to dual enrollment courses and rigorous standards leads to interesting possibilities for innovative pedagogical practices. How can dual enrollment instructors uphold rigor "and" provide instruction and supports so that a broad range of students can be successful? Pedagogy in the dual enrollment classroom has been studied little, but answers to this question have implications for pedagogy in general at open-access postsecondary institutions such as community colleges, where some have argued that the quality of instruction has long been neglected as an area of study. In this article, the authors draw on data from the Concurrent Courses Initiative, a multisite project that provided dual enrollment opportunities to disadvantaged California high school students within career-focused education pathways. As part of the project, a small number of dual enrollment instructors participated in an action research project in which they identified the particular ways their students were struggling and then devised classroom strategies to address them. A number of insights and practices emerged that are relevant not only to dual enrollment instruction but to instruction at postsecondary institutions that provide broad access to students of varied academic abilities.

Are Dual Enrollment Students College Ready? Evidence from the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education. An, Brian P. ; Taylor, Jason L. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 2015, Vol.23(1).

We examine whether dual enrolled students display greater levels of college readiness than nonparticipants. Advocates assert that dual enrollment improves students’ college readiness, but despite these assertions, few researchers have evaluated this relationship. Moreover, researchers that do consider whether dual enrollment improves college readiness examine this relationship while students participate in dual enrollment or shortly thereafter. Unlike traditional measures of college readiness that tend to emphasize the cognitive domain of college readiness, we use measures that integrate both cognitive and non-cognitive domains of college readiness. We find that students who participated in dual enrollment tend to be more college ready than those who did not earn college credit in high school. The exception is that there is no statistical difference between dual enrollees and non-accelerators in their key transition knowledge and skills. The magnitude of the dual enrollment effect is second only to gender.

Does Dual Enrollment Increase Students’ Success in College? Evidence from a Quasi-Experimental Analysis of Dual Enrollment in New York City. Allen, Drew ; Dadgar, Mina. New Directions for Higher Education, 2012(158), p.11-19.

This article discusses new evidence on the effectiveness of dual enrollment in increasing college achievement in New York City (NYC). After reviewing existing research on the effectiveness of dual enrollment programs, the authors discuss the results of a recent evaluation of College Now, the dual enrollment program of The City University of New York (CUNY). They find that enrolling in a College Now dual enrollment course reduces time to degree, not only by allowing students to earn college credits before entering college but also by increasing the number of college courses students take once they are enrolled in college. Furthermore, they find that the program also increases students' academic performance as measured by higher college grade point average (GPA). Their study affirms the findings from recent quantitative evaluations of dual enrollment that the programs can indeed help improve post-secondary attainment and reduce time to degree. (Contains 3 tables.)

The Effects of Dual Enrollment Credit on Gender and Race. Ganzert, Bart. Current Issues in Education, 2012, Vol.15(3).

The researcher of this study examined dual enrollment and Huskins Bill course effects on academic success and graduation rates by gender and race. Quantitative statistical measures including parametric and non-parametric means comparisons, including ANOVA, t-test and chi-square tests, were used to analyze data from 15,527 North Carolina community college students. The researcher found that dual enrollment and Huskins Bill courses showed positive effects on GPA and graduation rates for non-white students and positive effects in graduation rate for female students enrolled in community college programs. (Contains 4 tables.)

UConn ECE research

UConn ECE Credit Transfer Database. Boecherer, Brian; Narozniak, Magdalena. NACEP Small Grant Competition, 2013.

The Credit Transfer Database was created as a part of the 2013 Concurrent Enrollment Credit Transfer Study (funded through a 2012 NACEP Small Grant Competition) conducted by Brian Boecherer and Magdalena Narozniak. The study consisted of three parts: 1) a survey of registrars and admissions officers; 2) an in-depth alumni survey; and 3) data-mining of approximately 900 North American post-secondary institutions policies on credit transfer. From the results of the study and based on results from previous alumni surveys, the researchers can say with confidence that UConn Early College Experience credits transfer to other institutions about 87% of the time. UConn ECE credit most commonly transfers as regular transfer credit, that is, it transfers as if you took the course at a UConn campus. Boecherer and Narozniak have found that there are select institutions that do not to accept any transfer credit. These institutions do not accept credit that was not taught by college faculty or on a college campus, nor do they accept any pre-matriculation credit or credit-by-examination, such as Advanced Placement (AP) or the College Level Examination Program (CLEP).

Income Effects on Concurrent Enrollment Participation: The Case Study of UConn Early College Experience. Boecherer, Brian. Bridging the High School-College Gap: The Role of Concurrent Enrollment Programs, 2017, p. 258-279.

The effects of household income on educational opportunities are not only a well-researched area in scholarly literature, but also a popular topic in the mass media. Scholarship indicates that high schools in less affluent areas may struggle to provide the educational opportunities that schools in more affluent areas are able to provide. Conversely, areas of higher affluence offer greater academic programming. Many scholars claim that the more affluent the area, the stronger the culture for academic competition and achievement (Blossfeld and Timm 2003; Breen and Gold-thorpe 1997; Breen and Jonsson 2005; Kerckhoff 1995). Given the access, students will choose the academic opportunity that offers them the great-est reward at the smallest cost. While there have been few academic studies on concurrent enrollment programs, a normative assumption would be that, given the access to college classes at the high school, students would enroll in these classes because it provides them with more opportunities and greater benefits as they apply to and attend college. However, when one investigates the University of Connecticut’s concurrent enrollment program, UConn Early College Experience (ECE), the scholar-ship is not supported by the data; rather it shows the opposite tendency. That is, in the upper quartile of median household income, as household income increases in a linear fashion, student participation decreases exponentially. Contradicting scholarship even further, in the middle and lower income quartiles, there appears to be no relationship between the median household income and participation. What does this mean and what would cause this to occur?

While the relationship between income and participation in the upper quartile is clear to see (although the reasons may not be clear), the absence of a correlation in the middle and lower quartiles is equally interesting. That is, if income and participation have no relationship, this indicates that economic factors do not bear relevance when students enroll in the program. More to the point, there do not seem to be economic barriers for students to participate in UConn ECE.

To better understand this relationship, a survey was administered to the UConn ECE site representatives (designated high school liaisons who administer the program, register the students for the UConn courses, and disseminate program information to faculty, administration, students, and parents at the high school; usually in the guidance department). Based on the survey data, primarily two things affect program growth (positively or negatively) across all three quartiles: (1) students’ ability to earn UConn credits that are accepted not only at UConn but also transfer to other universities and colleges, and (2) instructor interest. If the instructors see value in the program, the participation at the high school grows, and likewise, if enrollment at the high school is declining, the faculty is generally not in favor of the program.

Full text

Report: Early College Experience courses as a pipeline for world language teacher education. Back, Michele; Dean, Joseph. UConn ECE Research Grant on Concurrent Enrollment, 2019.

Learning world languages has numerous cognitive and academic benefits for all students (e.g., Buriel et al, 1998; Cunningham & Graham, 2000; Demont, 2001; Klein et al, 2014). Yet currently 44 U.S. states, including Connecticut, face a serious shortage of certified world language teachers (ACTFL, 2017). Given that only 20 percent of K-12 students in the United States enroll in world language courses (Mitchell, 2017), it is extremely difficult to find students who are both interested in and capable of teaching languages. Restricting this small pool even further are newly increased proficiency requirements for teacher certification in Connecticut and other states (Connecticut State Department of Education, 2015). Therefore, there is a critical need to find innovative ways of recruiting and retaining world language teacher candidates who have an advanced level of proficiency in the languages they will teach. Our project identified the University of Connecticut’s Office of Early College Experience (ECE) as a creative and viable pipeline to address the state and national shortage of certified world language teachers.

UConn’s Office of Early College Programs and six faculty coordinators work with 237 secondary school teachers throughout the state to provide ECE courses in six languages; Spanish, French, Italian, Latin, Chinese, and German. The advanced level of these courses makes them attractive options for college-bound students interested in world languages education. Given the challenges of recruiting candidates with advanced proficiency in languages other than English, sharing information about opportunities in world language teaching with ECE high school students would be mutually beneficial for students and the profession.

This funded project consisted of an exploratory study to identify barriers and provide information encouraging ECE students to consider a career in world languages education. Through targeted discussions with ECE students and teachers, aided by recruitment tools developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), it was hoped that this study would a) raise awareness among ECE world language instructors and students about the need for world language teachers and how to prepare for a career in world languages education and b) generate student interest in becoming world language educators while addressing any potential barriers they might anticipate about this career. By providing information and support to ECE students and teachers, it was anticipated that this study would offer important insights on how to attract a larger, more diverse body of world language teacher candidates.

Research questions for this study were therefore as follows:

RQ 1) What do ECE high school students and teachers know and believe about the opportunities in world language education? What barriers exist that may prohibit students from pursuing a career as world language educators?

RQ 2) Does raising awareness among ECE world language teachers and students about careers in world language education increase student interest in becoming world language educators?

Full report

Revised curriculum