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Bridging the Divide: High School and College Dual Enrollment
SRI studied state policies supporting dual enrollment and dual credit offerings for high school students.
A promising way to promote high school graduation and college enrollment is to allow high school students to take college courses, often earning both high school and college credit for the same course. Although most U.S. states have policies permitting dual enrollment, state and local policies vary in how supportive or challenging they are for program implementation.
To understand the policy environment governing the development and sustainability of dual-enrollment programs, SRI conducted intense case studies in states that were selected to represent a range of policy environments and coordination between the K–12 and higher education systems. These dual-enrollment programs also varied in intensity and focus—academic or career/technical. Each case study included data collection activities with state policymakers and district, college, and high school representatives who had established successful programs.
Based on case studies in three states, SRI offered these recommendations for policymakers considering adopting or amending dual-enrollment policies to increase student access and transition issues:
- Create coherence among state policies. Dual enrollment is not a single policy, but rather a set of policies that contribute to an educational environment supportive of a variety of options.
- Fund dual enrollment. State funding can often give both districts and colleges the incentive to participate in dual-enrollment programs. States that further waive or provide tuition can broaden access to all types of students.
- Establish statewide articulation agreements. States can facilitate the implementation of dual-enrollment programs by including a common course list, a common numbering system, and the awarding of postsecondary credits.