Drawing on interview data and sensemaking theory, we explore the perspectives of 108 teachers working in eight early college high schools in a border region of Texas. Findings suggest teachers rely primarily on their personal and professional experience to make sense of college readiness, resulting in wide variation with respect to how they approach it in their classrooms. The article closes with implications for policy and practice.
Duncheon, J. C., & Munoz, J. (2019, May). Examining Teacher Perspectives on College Readiness in an Early College High School Context. American Journal of Education, 125(3), 453-478.
Retrieved from https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/702731
The new rules of the college and career game confirm that education level matters, and that more education is generally better when it comes to earnings potential.What is less well known is that program of study and major matter even more to potential earnings than education level. As a result, less education can often be worth more. Certificates and associate’s degrees—credentials on the middle-skills pathway—can be viable routes to economic opportunity.
Carnivale, A. P., Garcia, T. I., Ridley, N., & Quinn, M. C. (2020). The Overlooked Value of Certificates and Associate’s Degrees: What Students Need to Know Before They Go to College. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
This study is a randomized controlled trial that assessed the impact of Early College High Schools on students’ high school graduation, college enrollment, and college degree attainment, as well as students’ high school experiences using extant data and survey data. The study included 10 Early Colleges that enrolled students in Grades 9 to 12 in 2005 through 2011 and used a lottery for admissions, and 2,458 students who participated in those admission lotteries. The study time frame covered Grade 9 through 2 years post high school for all students and 4 years post high school for the oldest student cohort. It found that Early Colleges had positive impacts on college enrollment and college completion as well as students’ high school experiences.
Haxton, C., Song, M., Zeiser, K., Berger, A., Turk-Bicakci, L., Garret, M. S., Knudsen, J., Hoshen, G. (2016). Longitudinal Findings from the Early College High School Initiative Impact Study. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 38(2), 410–430. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.3102/0162373716642861
This study examines the impacts of early college high schools, small schools of choice located on college campuses and reports generally promising findings. Early colleges increase important high school outcomes, boost associate’s degree completion, and raise 4-year-college enrollment at less selective public institutions. The report also shows the differences of these impacts across race, home-district performance, and host site, helping better understand the implementation and effects of this promising intervention in one state that has brought this school reform model to scale.
Lauen, D.L., Barrett, N., Fuller, S., Janda, L. (2017). Early Colleges at Scale: Impacts on Secondary and Postsecondary Outcomes. American Journal of Education, 123(4), 523-551.
Retrieved from https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/692664
Early college high school models are designed to encourage and assist traditionally underrepresented groups of students — low income, Latino, and African-American — to persist in and graduate from high school while earning college credit. Some of the models target high school dropouts, with the aim of helping them acquire the education and training that could lead to better outcomes. The authors review and discuss several such early college designs.
Ndiaye, M. N. M., & Wolfe, R. E. (2016). Early college can boost college success rates for low-income, first-generation students. Phi Delta Kappan, 97(5), 32–37.
Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0031721716629655
The news is full of growing doubt about the ability of the higher education systems to provide people with paths to a good life. Crushing loan debt, low completion rates, and an uncertain return on investment are among the concerns. Low-income young people, who have the most to gain in earnings from a college degree, fare the worst. Since 2002, an innovative school model known as early college high school has been a premier strategy for addressing these challenges, with dramatic results.
Vargas, J. (2019). Breaking the Boundaries between High School and College: How to Scale Success for Low-Income Students. Jobs for the Future.
Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED598372.pdf
Timken Early College High School (TECHS) was envisioned not just as a school, but as a culture shifting community “proof-point” that low income, first generation, inner city students can be successful with college-level work. Further, TECHS has afforded students an opportunity to earn both a diploma and an associate degree during their high school career. Five hundred forty two students have graduated TECHS since 2009. Nearly all of the 73 members of the graduating class of 2018 were from populations underrepresented in higher education. Of the 2018 class, 100% were economically disadvantaged and 44% were minorities. Further, 77% were first generation students. TECHS students continue to outperform other early college high schools across the state and nation on key indicators — graduating high school on-time, graduating with college credit and graduating with an associate degree.
Stark Education Partnership. (2019). Decade of Proof: The First Ten Graduating Classes of Timken Early College High School. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED594455.pdf
High school reform in the United States has a long and unremarkable history with regard to improving the outcomes of traditionally underrepresented youth. Beginning in 2002, North Carolina began to implement the Early College High School model. In 2012 the state of North Carolina adopted a new accountability program that includes the ACT as a measure of college readiness in addition to the long-standing end-of-course assessments in English, algebra, and biology. This study examines four years of performance outcomes using the North Carolina End of Grade Tests and one year of ACT results for all students in the testing program.
Kaniuka, T. (2017). Early college high school achievement outcomes in North Carolina: End of grade and ACT performance. International Journal of Research Studies in Education, 6(4), 91–107.
This qualitative case study examines the challenges facing rural secondary schools in transitioning youth from high school to post-secondary education and careers, and whether the interventions, strategies and support built into the Early College High School could offer a solution to this long standing challenge to better meet the needs of special education students.
Bridges, J. M., & Maxwell, G. M. (2015). Early college high schools: A proposed solution to secondary transition services . Journal of Case Studies in Education, 8. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1110965.pdf
Building on a previous randomized experiment of the impact of Early Colleges (ECs) (Berger et al., 2013), this follow-up study assessed longer-term impacts of ECs on students’ postsecondary outcomes 6 years after expected high school graduation.
Song, M., & Zeiser, K. (2019). Early College, Continued Success: Longer-Term Impact of Early College High Schools. Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research.
Early college high schools are one increasingly popular approach to raise the high school completion and postsecondary participation rates of traditionally underserved students and meet projected workforce needs. This policy brief defines early college high schools (ECHS), clarifies how they differ from traditional dual enrollment programs, provides recent research on the positive impact of ECHS, and sets forth the model state policy components.
Zinth, J. (2016). Early College High Schools: Model policy components. Denver, CO: Education Commission of the States.
Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED569132.pdf
The College and Career Readiness and Success Center highlights evidence-based practices that promote college and career readiness in high schools. This brief focuses on early college high schools which are partnerships between secondary and postsecondary institutions and businesses that allow students to earn both a high-school diploma and an associate’s degree or postsecondary credit towards a bachelor’s degree. This evidence-based practice provides a learning environment that enhances students’ education experience and improves student outcomes in high school and postsecondary education.
College & Career Readiness & Success Center at American Institutes for Research. (2017). Evidence-Based Practices to Support College and Career Readiness in High School: Early-College High School. Washington, DC. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED586413.pdf
Early College High Schools (ECHSs) and dual-enrollment programs allow students to take college courses while still in high school. Research has shown that students participating in these programs are more likely to enroll in college, post higher college grade point averages, persist, and ultimately graduate from college. This report recommends that Congress consider a pilot program that would allow high school students to use federal Pell Grants to pay for college courses.
John Hopkins Institute for Education Policy. (2018). Now’s the Time: Early College and Dual-Enrollment Programs in the Higher Education Act. Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education.
Dual enrollment programs were found to have positive effects on students’ degree attainment (college), college access and enrollment, credit accumulation, completing high school, and general academic achievement (high school), with a medium to large extent of evidence. This is a summary of findings from a systematic review of the evidence as reported in this What Works Clearinghouse Intervention Report.
Development Services Group, Inc. (2017). Dual Enrollment Programs: Transition to College. Washington, DC: Institute of Education Sciences.
Developed in response to concerns that too few students were enrolling and succeeding in postsecondary education, early college high schools are small schools that blur the line between high school and college. This article presents results from a longitudinal experimental study comparing outcomes for students accepted to an early college through a lottery process with outcomes for students who were not accepted through the lottery and enrolled in high school elsewhere. Results show that treatment students attained significantly more college credits while in high school, and graduated from high school, enrolled in postsecondary education, and received postsecondary credentials at higher rates.
Edmunds, J., Unlu, F., Glennie, E., Bernstein, L., Fesler, L., Furey, J., Arshavsky, N. (2017) Smoothing the Transition to Postsecondary Education: The Impact of the Early College Model. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 10(2), 297-325.
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