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Dual Enrollment Programs Essay

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n the absence of incontrovertible evidence of what works, it is difficult to persuade policymakers and institutional leaders to allocate scarce resources to postsecondary encouragement and access initiatives. Among the programs we need to learn more about are dual-enrollment programs, “middle college-early college” schools in which students attain sufficient college credit while in high school to graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree or 2 years of transferable college credit
(Middle College National Consortium 2006), vocational/technical policies and innovations (including
Tech Prep), bridge programs, and P–16 initiatives. We also need to know which of these programs and their variants work with students who are less likely to become college ready and
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To be eligible for many of these programs, students must take certain steps, which they and their families may be unaware of, such as meeting certain academic standards (Bishop 2002, 2004) or pledging to stay drug free (a TFCS requirement). We need to know who takes advantage of these programs (or not) and program effects on student persistence and educational outcomes. In Kentucky, for example, 40 percent of the students who used state educational excellence grants to pay for college expenses in 2004–05 were no longer eligible for them the following year for various reasons (Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority 2006), which likely affects their ability to stay in school. Almost half (45 percent) of Kentucky high school seniors in 2005 eligible for these awards did not use them the following year to attend college. The absence of longitudinal K–16 data, the inability of states to track students through the pipeline, institutional review board and FERPA issues, and other security problems all hamper our ability to effectively analyze and interpret precollege research and interventions (Venezia, Kirst, and Antonio
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