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James Irvine Foundation

In 2008, The James Irvine Foundation launched the Concurrent Courses initiative to make dual enrollment programs--which allow high school students to take college courses and earn college credit--available to low-income youth who struggle academically or who are from populations historically underrepresented in higher education. This work advances its Youth program goal of increasing the number of low-income youth in California who complete high school on time and attain a postsecondary credential by age 25. When the initiative began, evidence already pointed to the benefits of dual enrollment for the high-achieving students normally exposed to these programs. In recent years, educators and policymakers have become increasingly interested in the potential of dual enrollment to improve educational outcomes for a broader range of students. At the same time, there is growing evidence that giving the programs a career focus adds relevance and interest and can re-engage students who may not envision themselves on a path to college and career. This aspect of the initiative reflects the core components of Linked Learning, Irvine's approach to comprehensive high school reform. In a time when the need for higher levels of education is rising, the Foundation is pleased to report good news: Evaluation of the Concurrent Courses initiative reveals that the participating students--those facing serious barriers to education and advancement--had better high school and college outcomes than comparison students. This report documents findings that initiative participants were more likely when compared to similar students who did not participate to graduate from high school, enroll in a four-year college and persist in postsecondary education. They also accrued more college credits than comparison students and were less likely to enroll in basic skills courses in college. The report also offers lessons learned through the initiative, including recommendations for effective dual enrollment practice and for public policies that would expand adoption of this beneficial approach to educational achievement. Appended are: (1) Site Summaries; and (2) Data Sources. (Contains 5 tables, 8 figures and 16 endnotes.) [For related reports, see "Dual Enrollment for All: Reasons and Ways to Make It Work. Lessons for Educators and Administrators from the Concurrent Courses Initiative" (ED533755) and "Dual Enrollment: Helping Make College a Reality for Students Less Likely to Go. Recommendations for Policymakers from the Concurrent Courses Initiative" (ED533753).]

Descriptors: College Credits, Dual Enrollment, High School Students, Disproportionate Representation, Career Development, Low Income Groups, Postsecondary Education, Educational Change, High Schools, Barriers, Access to Education, Public Policy, Program Effectiveness, Educational Policy, Grade Point Average, Graduation Rate, College Choice, Academic Achievement

James Irvine Foundation. 575 Market Street Suite 3400, San Francisco, CA 94105. Tel: 415-777-2244; Fax: 415-777-0869; email: communications[at]; Web site:

Autor: Hughes, Katherine L.; Rodriguez, Olga; Edwards, Linsey; Belfield, Clive


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