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Report: California Ahead on Dual Enrollment

January 30, 2020

New research shows that California is ahead of the curve on dual-enrollment participation, but Latinx and black students still lag behind their peers.

The brief from Wheelhouse, the Center for Community College Leadership and Research, found that 12.6 percent of public high school students in California are part of a dual-enrollment program. Nationally, only 11 percent of high school students participate in dual enrollment.

These programs let high school students take college courses while still in secondary school, which gives them credits for a future college degree and exposure to college experiences. Research has shown that students who participate in dual enrollment are more likely to graduate from high school and persist in college.

Previous reports had underestimated the number of students in dual-enrollment programs, according to Wheelhouse. The new report matched high school and community college data sets to get more accurate numbers.

While the overall number of student participation is promising, the report also found that Latinx and black students were underrepresented in dual-enrollment classes. Only about 9 percent of black students and 11 percent of Latinx students were in dual-enrollment classes, compared to nearly 14 percent of white students and 18.5 percent of Asian students. Socioeconomically disadvantaged students were also less likely to take a dual-enrollment course than their peers.

The report also found that more than 80 percent of California's public high schools didn't have any students in dual-enrollment courses.

“Dual enrollment benefits students, as well as the schools and colleges they attend,” Susanna Cooper, managing director of Wheelhouse, said in a news release. “While the benefits are clear, and we celebrate that participation is higher than once thought, many schools do not yet facilitate access to dual enrollment, and too many students of color do not benefit from the opportunity to participate.”


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