DQC is excited to start a new year focused on supporting individuals as they navigate through early childhood, K–12, postsecondary, and into the workforce. As we move forward with our new website, mission, and vision, we would like to take a moment to reflect on some of our exciting work from 2021.
Last fall, the College in High School Alliance (CHSA) and DQC hosted a webinar to celebrate the release of a new report, College in High School Programs & Data: Reporting and Using Dual Enrollment Data to Improve Equity. For over 15 years, DQC has supported states and education decisionmakers at all levels, and this year is no different. This report and partnership highlight DQC’s commitment to ensuring that data works for everyone navigating their education and workforce journeys.
We know that state leaders play an essential role in providing access to timely, accurate, and disaggregated dual enrollment data. For the webinar, CHSA and DQC convened state leaders and content experts to highlight examples of the impact of collecting and reporting dual enrollment (commonly referred to as concurrent enrollment, college in high school, or early college programs) data on student access and success.
DQC President and CEO Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger moderated a lively conversation, which can be viewed here. In the spirit of continuing this conversation, the panelists shared additional insights on topics raised by participants during the session.
On the COVID-19 pandemic, Advance CTE’s Data & Research Manager Austin Estes acknowledged that on a national level, we do not yet know much about how the pandemic has affected the availability and enrollment in dual enrollment programs:
- National dual enrollment data is often lagged or incomplete, meaning it may take years before we have a comprehensive portrait.
- We do know the pandemic is affecting how learners approach postsecondary education and career pathways. According to a national survey, postsecondary enrollment and plans to enroll in postsecondary education have declined substantially.
States like Kentucky continue to use data to inform and improve policy. The Kentucky Department of Education’s Academic Program Manager Scott U’Sellis shared information about the tools available for K–12 leaders to access relevant data to plan improvements to dual credit programs at both the school and district levels:
- The public-facing Kentucky School Report Card, and the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) Equity Dashboard, accessible only to school and district administrators, are two data tools that can assist in addressing accessibility gaps between student groups.
- Kentucky implemented a statewide dual credit policy to allow high school students to access general education and career and technical dual credit courses using data and evidence-based practices to support and maintain the accessibility, quality, transferability, and affordability of dual credit programming.
- The state also launched a dual credit scholarship allowing students to earn credit for two college courses each year of high school in high-demand fields at no cost.
Targeting students most impacted by the pandemic is of great importance for leaders in Indiana as well. As told by Tari Lambert, Director of Transfer Indiana with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, the legislature currently funds dual credit programs for students qualifying for free and reduced lunch status to take priority academic and career and technical education (CTE) dual credit courses at no cost. State leaders in Indiana are leveraging data to develop strategies to determine other ways to close equity gaps among student groups that have been historically less likely to go to college.
To engage families, Chief Performance Officer Michael Vente of the Colorado Department of Higher Education shared that students, families, and school staff have access to information on the Colorado Department of Education and the Department of Higher Education‘s website, including:
- Video testimonials from students, parents, and school staff on Concurrent Enrollment, the state’s name for its dual enrollment program, and related resources.
- A searchable tool to find district-specific Concurrent Enrollment information.
- Questions to ask when considering participating in Concurrent Enrollment.
A key starting point to understanding the impact of dual enrollment among student populations is examining the gaps and limitations of dual enrollment data quality. We encourage state leaders to continue to read and share the report to build an understanding of what types of data to collect and report, and how that data can be used to close equity gaps and improve student outcomes in dual enrollment programs.