The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a new report documenting the rapid and sustained growth of dual and concurrent enrollment nationwide, demonstrating the important role that partnerships with colleges and universities have in increasing the rigor of the high school experience.
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% in school year 2002-03, when NCES last conducted the study. Over the intervening eight years an additional 4,000 public high schools established dual and concurrent enrollment partnerships to offer college courses.
The majority of students were able to take college courses without leaving their high school campus through the concurrent enrollment model, which utilizes college-approved high school instructors to teach college courses. Over three-quarters (77%) 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 academic college courses are offered on site, high school instructors deliver some or all of the college courses.
Sandy González of Schenectady County Community College in New York, President of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) remarked: “The new report from NCES documents the remarkable growth in concurrent enrollment partnerships between high schools and colleges throughout the past decade. Colleges and universities increasingly recognize the need to share resources and create a more continuous education system for students.”
The report, conducted by the statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Education, provides nationwide estimates based on a representative survey of public high schools. It concludes that high school students took 2 million college courses in 2010-11, up from 1.2 million in 2002-03. This represents an annual growth rate of greater than 7% over the intervening eight years. Even higher growth rates were seen in schools where a majority of students are ethnic or racial minorities (12%), rural schools (12%), and in the Northeast and Southeast regions of the country (9%). A companion report on postsecondary providers of dual enrollment courses will be released in March.
Research 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. Recent reports from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and the Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) have called on colleges and universities to further engage with their secondary partners to address the critical need to improve students’ readiness for college.
The NCES report, Dual Credit and Exam-Based Courses in U.S. Public High Schools: 2010–11, is available at: