Dual Enrollment: Lessons Learned on School‐Level Implementation


This paper was prepared for the U.S. Department of Education (ED), Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Smaller Learning Communities Program under Contract Number ED-07-CO-0106 with EDJ Associates, Inc. in Herndon, VA. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of ED, nor do references to trade names, commercial products, services, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government.


Accelerated learning opportunities are becoming increasingly common strategies to promote high school graduation and encourage college enrollment. Through mechanisms such as Dual Enrollment, Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, students get a head start on earning college credit while still in high school. The goals for enrolling students in these courses are to provide them with more rigorous curricula and prepare them for college coursework and expectations. In addition, accelerated learning gives them the motivation, financial incentive, and self-confidence to continue on to college. Earning college credits early can lessen the time and cost to obtaining a college degree.

Dual Enrollment, in particular, is a strategy that more and more districts and schools are using to advance the high school curriculum and promote college for a wide range of students. However, Dual Enrollment programs can be quite challenging to implement for practitioners, including high school or district program directors, guidance counselors, and college staff and faculty. High school-college partnerships, articulation, funding, and student access and supports are all critical areas to address in order to successfully implement these programs.

This paper is based on a synthesis of findings from prior research. After first reviewing the status of Dual Enrollment across the Nation, we identify lessons learned and potential solutions to overcoming common barriers in implementing Dual Enrollment programs.

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