The role of dual enrollment in the educational achievement of technical college students
Post, Julie Lynn
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While economic issues have been blamed for persistent unemployment problems in the U.S. and the state of Georgia, lack of competently trained workers is emerging as an even more relevant issue. Increasingly, a large portion of available work requires some type of postsecondary training. The transition between education systems in the U.S. revolving around high school graduation, college entrance, necessity of remediation, and college completion seem to be challenging. Two-year postsecondary institutions offer multiple program goals for students including certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees all requiring varying general and occupational education coursework. Leveraging the assets of 2-year colleges, affordability of attending a 2-year institution and an increase in attendance at these institutions, may offer a unique bridge for U.S. educational systems, the workforce, and the economy. A wide range of postsecondary enrollment options have been cited to possibly facilitate a bridge between systems and accelerate student achievement. Dual enrollment is one option. Despite increased adoption of and attention to dual enrollment options, relatively little research has been done to determine the impact of this intervention on postsecondary student outcomes. This correlational design study used archival data to examine the unique role of dual enrollment, given the concomitant influence of other selected predictor variables, in explaining three distinct indicators of the educational achievement of postsecondary students at technical colleges in Georgia. Other predictor variables included race/ethnicity, gender, enrollment status, and program level. Educational achievement was defined with three separate criterion variables including grade point average at the technical college, college enrollment persistence, and postsecondary credential attainment. Regression analyses indicated that dual enrollment was a statistically significant predictor of the likelihood of a higher GPA at the end of the first year, but negatively impacted the likelihood that a student would persist to the second year. White students were more likely than Black students to possess higher GPAs at the end of the first year. Black students were also less likely than White to be persistent in enrolling in coursework Year 2. Men were less likely than women to be retained. Full-time student enrollment was the only statistically significant predictor of credential attainment within three years.
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