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Student reflections the impact of dual enrollment on transitions to a state university
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Lewis, Theresa Lyvette
University of South Florida
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Tampa, Fla
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Subjects / Keywords:
Acceleration mechanisms
College readiness
High school
PK-16 initiatives
Academic aspirations
Dissertations, Academic -- Adult, Career and Higher Education -- Masters -- USF   ( lcsh )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


ABSTRACT: Dual enrollment is one means of facilitating increased degree productivity, which can lead to the more educated workforce needed in today's society. This qualitative study was designed to obtain student perceptions about their dual enrollment experience, including how it impacted their decision to go to college and what comparisons they would make between their dual enrollment experience and their full university experience. Twenty-one students were interviewed via e-mail to provide responses that would help answer three research questions: 1.What are the initial experiences of dual enrollment students? 2.How does the dual enrollment experience impact the decision of high school graduates to attend college? 3.What comparisons can previous dual enrollment students make between the college experience they had in high school and the subsequent college experience as a full-time college student? Students who have participated in dual enrollment and subsequently matriculated to a university were provided an opportunity to give voice to their experiences, which were fairly positive. They also described characteristics that would be desirable of potential dual enrollment students and offered recommendations for students who are considering the dual enrollment experience. The findings of the research resulted in several recommendations for practice to those who make critical decisions in regards to these programs. These recommendations include further consideration of orientation sessions for students who are considering dual enrollment, developing or enhancing quality assurance measures for instruction and student outcomes, and establishing a network for dual enrollment students that will help bridge gaps in their collegiate experience.
Dissertation (Ed.D.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references.
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by Theresa Lyvette Lewis.
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i Student Reflections: The Imp act of Dual Enrollment On Transitions To A State University By Theresa Lyvette Lewis A dissertation proposal submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctorate of Education Department of Adult, Car eer and Higher Education College of Education University of South Florida Major Professor: Thom as E. Miller, Ed.D. W. Robert Sullins, Ed.D. Daphne Thomas, Ph.D. Deidre Cobb-Roberts, Ph.D. Date of Approval: March 25, 2009 Key Words: acceleration mechanisms, college readiness, high school, PK-16 initiatives, academic aspirations Copyright 2009, Theresa Lyvette Lewis


ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank Dr. Tom Miller and Dr. Ja n Ignash, my dissertation chairs, for their unending support and guidance in developing this work. I woul d also like to thank Dr. Daphne Thomas, Dr. Deirdre Cobb-Roberts, and Dr. Robert Sullins for serving as committee members and making this process a smooth, insightful experience. I would also like to acknowledge the use of the services provided by Research Computing, University of South Florida. I also extend thanks to program dir ectors and advisors for Student Support Services, Freshman Summer Institute, Honors In stitute, and college advisors across the campus who facilitated the success of this st udy by getting the word to students. To the students who gave of themselves and shared so willingly during this study, I am so grateful for the valuable input you provided. I would especially like to thank my pare nts, who encouraged a love for reading and always set an expectation where educati on was concerned. I also wish to thank my biological family, spiritual family, and fr iends who prayed for me, supported me, and encouraged me throughout this process. I am eternally grateful. Lastly, I thank God who gave me the persistence, opportunity, and drive to make this opportuni ty possible so that I can be a role model to those w ho will follow and be a blessing to the people whose lives I will touch through opportunities of service.


iii Table of Contents Table of Contents ............................................................................................................. iiii List of Tables ................................................................................................................ ..... vi List of Figures ............................................................................................................... .... vii List of Abbreviations ....................................................................................................... v iii Abstract ...................................................................................................................... ........ ix Chapter 1: Introduction ....................................................................................................... 1 Statement of the Problem ................................................................................................ 2 Purpose of the Study ....................................................................................................... 4 Conceptual Framework for Proposed Study ................................................................... 7 Significance of the Study ................................................................................................ 8 Research Questions ......................................................................................................... 9 Definition of Terms....................................................................................................... 10 Acceleration Mechanism .......................................................................................... 10 Access ....................................................................................................................... 10 College ...................................................................................................................... 10 College Placement Test ............................................................................................. 10 College Readiness ..................................................................................................... 11 College Remediation ................................................................................................. 11 Dual Enrollment ........................................................................................................ 11 First-to-second year retention ................................................................................... 12 Freshmen Summer In stitute (FSI) ............................................................................. 12 FTIC .......................................................................................................................... 12 Freshman ................................................................................................................... 12 Full-Time Student ..................................................................................................... 12 Honors College ......................................................................................................... 13 Inter-institutional Articulation Agreement ............................................................... 13 Student Support Services .......................................................................................... 13 University Experience ............................................................................................... 14 Assumptions and Limitations ....................................................................................... 14 Organization of Study ................................................................................................... 16 Chapter Two: Review of the Related Literature ............................................................... 17 Justification for Research .............................................................................................. 17 Theoretical Rationale ................................................................................................ 18 Student Perceptions ................................................................................................... 20


iv Effect of Location ..................................................................................................... 20 Issues with College Readiness ...................................................................................... 22 An Overview of Dual enrollment ................................................................................. 23 The Emergence of Dual enrollment Programs .............................................................. 23 National and State Involvement in Dual enrollment ..................................................... 25 Benefits of Dual Enrollment Programs ..................................................................... 30 Concerns with Dual Enrollment Programs ............................................................... 32 Florida ....................................................................................................................... 36 Research Setting............................................................................................................ 39 Conclusion .................................................................................................................... 40 Chapter 3: Methods ........................................................................................................... 41 Introduction .................................................................................................................. 41 Research Design ............................................................................................................ 42 Research Questions ....................................................................................................... 43 Population .................................................................................................................... 44 Data Gathering .............................................................................................................. 4 7 Instrumentation ............................................................................................................. 5 2 Data Collection/Procedures .......................................................................................... 53 Data Analysis ................................................................................................................ 55 Conclusion .................................................................................................................... 57 Chapter 4: Results ........................................................................................................... 58 Introduction .................................................................................................................. 58 Research Sample ........................................................................................................... 59 Demographics ........................................................................................................... 60 Educational Background ........................................................................................... 62 Acceleration Mechanisms ......................................................................................... 62 Research Results ........................................................................................................... 62 Initial Experiences .................................................................................................... 64 Transitional Impact ................................................................................................... 71 Dual Enrollment/University Comparisons ................................................................ 77 Student Relationships................................................................................................ 84 University Experience ............................................................................................... 87 Other Observations ................................................................................................... 88 Summary ....................................................................................................................... 97 Chapter 5: Conclusion....................................................................................................... 99 Summary of Findings .................................................................................................... 99 Other Observations ................................................................................................. 102 Summary of the Conclusions Drawn .......................................................................... 104 Recommendations for Practice ................................................................................... 106 First Recommendation ............................................................................................ 106 Second Recommendation........................................................................................ 107


v Third Recommendation .......................................................................................... 108 Possibilities for Future Research ................................................................................ 108 Conclusion .................................................................................................................. 1 09 References .................................................................................................................... ... 111 APPENDICES ................................................................................................................ 119 Appendix A ................................................................................................................. 12 0 Appendix B ................................................................................................................. 12 1 Appendix C ................................................................................................................. 12 2 Appendix D ................................................................................................................. 12 6 Appendix E ................................................................................................................. 12 7 Appendix F.................................................................................................................. 13 0 About the Author ................................................................................................... End Page


vi List of Tables Table 1 Number of Part icipants by Age of 1st Dual Enrollment Course, Gender & Ethnicity 61 Table 2 Location & Performance Outcomes of Dual Enrollment Courses Taken by Research Participants 63


vii List of Figures Figure 1 Participant Age Of 1st Dual Enrollment Course, Number Of Classes & Terms 61


viii List of Abbreviations A.A. Associate of Arts ACT American College Test AP Advanced Placement CLEP Credit-by-examination CPT College Placement Test EACT Enhanced American College Test ECS Education Commission of the States FSI Freshman Summer Institute FTE Full-Time Equivalency FTIC First-Time-In-College HSGPA High School Grade point Average IB International Baccalaureate SAT Scholastic Aptitude Test SHEEO State Higher Education Executive Office SSS Student Support Services UE University Experience WICHE Western Interstate Co mmission for Higher Education


ix Student Reflections: The Imp act of Dual Enrollment on Transitions To A State University Theresa Lyvette Lewis Abstract Dual enrollment is one means of facilitating increased degree productivity, which can lead to the more educated workforce need ed in today’s society. This qualitative study was designed to obtain student perceptions about their dual enrollment experience, including how it impacted their decision to go to college and what comparisons they would make between their dual enrollment experience and their full university experience. Twenty-one students were interv iewed via e-mail to provide responses that would help answer thre e research questions: 1. What are the initial experiences of dual enrollment students? 2. How does the dual enrollment experien ce impact the decision of high school graduates to attend college? 3. What comparisons can previous dual en rollment students make between the college experience they had in high school and the subsequent co llege experience as a full-time college student? Students who have participated in dual enrollment and subsequently matriculated to a university were provided an opportunity to give voice to their experiences, which were fairly positive. They also described characteristics that would be desirable of


x potential dual enrollment students and offe red recommendations for students who are considering the dual enrollment experience. Th e findings of the research resulted in several recommendations for pract ice to those who make criti cal decisions in regards to these programs. These recommendations includ e further consideration of orientation sessions for students who are considering dual enrollment, developing or enhancing quality assurance measures for instructi on and student outcomes, and establishing a network for dual enrollment students that wi ll help bridge gaps in their collegiate experience.


1 1 Chapter 1: Introduction Careful and strategic pla nning of the high school experi ence, particularly where academics are concerned is of utmost importa nce for students whose intentions are to enroll in college once they graduate. In Answers In A Tool Box, Clifford Adelman discusses the results of a study conducted in 1999 which suggests that the most important factor for one’s completion of a bachelor’s degree is the “academic intensity and quality of one’s high school curriculum” rather than SAT and ACT scores alone (p. 1). However, my review of the literature in recent year s yields numerous reports through national higher education organizations such as the Education Commission of the States (ECS), the State Higher Education Executives Office (SHEEO), the Education Trust, and the National Center for Public Policy and Hi gher Education which suggest an apparent disconnect between the standards required fo r high school graduation and those needed for entry to college in order to even pursu e the bachelor’s degree (Boswell, 2001; Bailey, 2003; Kirst, n.d.). In fact, research scholars from these organizations state that the United States has more disconnect than any other part of the world. As a result of such reports, states are strongly encouraged to consider policies that will bridge the gap and increase collaboration between high schools and colle ges (Boswell, 2001). The facilitation of a stronger alignment between K-12 and postsecond ary education systems is necessary so that a smoother transition develops as student s prepare for college admissions and so that students’ curricular experience s are more meaningful in high school and in college.


2 2 For a number of years Florida’s Articu lation Coordination Committee has focused on this need to strengthen alignment between K-12 and higher education sectors, creating a more seamless transition. One of the developments from the work of this committee, in addition to the legislative acts in Florida, is growth in acceleration mechanisms such as Dual Enrollment (Florida Board of Educati on, 2003). This mechanism allows high school students to take college-level courses while also simultaneously completing high school requirements. Some benefits of this mechanis m for students is to motivate them to pursue a college education and assist them in bei ng academically prepared. For state officials and institutional administrators at the postsecondary level, this mechanism may also facilitate increased enrollment, first-to-sec ond year retention rates, degree completion rates, and shorter time-to-degree. Statement of the Problem Dual enrollment, also referred to as dual credit or concurrent enrollment (Buchanan, 2006), is viewed by some educators as one method used for assessing college readiness and reducing remediation (AASCU 2002; National Comm ission on the High School Senior Year, 2001), a barrier that many are not able to overcome successfully despite hopes of a college education. Boswe ll (2001) also indicat es dual enrollment programs as one way to achieve “a more seamless system” between K-12 and higher education sectors. In additi on to receiving a greater number of students who are more likely to obtain college readiness through th is seamless system, dual enrollment programs also facilitate potential institutional benef its, such as a shorter time-to-degree for students, and can serve as a marketing or recruiting tool for institutions who take advantage of it (AASCU, 2002).


3 3 The attainment of an educated workforce of students who obtain degrees is crucial to a state’s population because it increases the prospect for economic development for that state, according to a policy alert from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education in November 2005. The policy alert further indicates that states must better educate their residents if they are to have higher income per capita, which leads to a higher tax base, and if they are to survive in a “knowledge-based economy that requires most workers to have higher levels of educat ion (p. 1).” This need is critical among all ethnicities, but especially among those populat ions that are growing the fastest. For example, of the current working population, the proportion of whites is projected to decline while that of some minority populations, which are th e least educated, will double or even triple. To further substantiate th is matter as it relates specifically to dual enrollment opportunities, a report by the Florida Community Colleges & Workforce Education (2004) also maintains that, while the proportion of female dual enrollment students is similar to the female proportion of community college students, there is a much greater proportional difference in mi norities and students w ith disabilities who participate in dual enrollment when compar ed with this population at the community college level. Engagement in dual enrollment opport unities launches a head start on the academic rigor of the college experience, wh ich may influence the high school student’s decision to enroll in college and complete requirements for a bachelor’s degree. According to a Fast Facts report issued by Flor ida’s Department of Education in February 2005, students who participated in at least one dual enrollment cour se attended colleges


4 4 and universities at a much greater rate than counterparts who di d not (63.9% vs. 55.4% overall). Because dual enrollment is seen as one approach to resolving the disconnect between educational sectors at the high school and postsecondary levels and increases the college-attending rate (Boswell, 2001), some of the above reports describe an overview of dual enrollment programs in terms of the important components necessary in program design for each state, the benefits, and ot her general observations (Karp, et. al., 2005; American Association of State Colleges a nd Universities, 2002; Boswell, 2001), while other reports have a greater focus on dual enrollment trends (Florida Department of Education, 2004; Kleiner, 2005). Purpose of the Study The research on dual enrollment programs thus far has been positive but there is also a shared belief that more research is need ed in order to establis h greater depth in the literature (Huntley and Schuh, 2002; Buch anan, 2006). While policymakers and administrators have given th eir perspectives on dual enrollment, systemic studies of students’ perceptions are lacking. Therefore, studies like the one proposed here can contribute to the existing body of literature by incorporating the reflections and perceptions of students who ha ve been recipients of the services offered through the phenomenon of dual enrollment. The purpose of this study is to add to th e knowledge base as it relates to student perceptions of their involvement with the dual enrollment experience and the subsequent impact of these experiences upon their transiti on into their first year of college. Major research questions will elicit responses that involve comparisons of the college


5 5 experience as a high school student and, later, as a full-time college student to assess the potential impact of using dual enrollment as a college-readiness tool that may facilitate greater persistence. Two studies in particular cite a need fo r research invol ving the use of student voices or perceptions. Huntley a nd Schuh (2002) conducted a qualitative study with nine students in the Midw est to learn about their experi ences in dual enrollment with the intentions of unveiling recommendations to colleges and universities for recruiting and retaining students. Through intervie ws with both students and high school counselors, in addition to some observations, the researchers found that more effort could be made by colleges and universities to conne ct students who are in the program from different high schools, increase communicati on between counselors at the high school and college level, provide a main point of c ontact at the college, and to retain these students upon graduation from high sc hool, who are focused and academically successful. Due to the limited number of st udents in this single geographic location, further studies in other geographic areas and with larger sample sizes were recommended. Buchanan (2006) interviewed six students in rural western North Carolina to obtain their perceptions and le arn more about what they gained as a result of their experiences in the dual enrollment program. Her expectation in doing th is research was to provide valuable information to state depa rtments of education for further promotion, planning, or revising of dual enro llment initiatives. Ov erall, each of he r six participants expressed positive feedback about their experience and even made immediate life changes in areas such as extracurricular activ ities and relationships with their peers while they were still in high school. The study by Buchanan (2006) specifically identifies a


6 6 need to determine if the programs are effec tive and to see how students feel about their participation in the program. The need to re search what students have to say once they leave dual enrollment programs was also endorse d by Andrews, who used the results of a national study that he conducte d to publish a comprehensive overview of dual enrollment programs in 2001. Student voice is seen as valuable when considering educational reform (Mitra, 2004). Cook-Sather (2006, p. 359) concurs by stating that “young people have unique perspectives on learning, teaching, and schoolin g; that their insights warrant not only the attention but also the responses of adults; and that they should be afforded opportunities to actively shape their education.” Using students’ voices to help inform practice recognizes them as participants in the e ducational process who may have valuable contributions that will add to the decision-mak ing process. Under this premise, “student outcomes will improve and school reform will be more successful if students actively participate in shaping it (Mitra, 2004, p. 652).” McCants (2004) also emphasizes the importance of collecting numeri cal and descriptive data from current and former students of outreach programs as a means to assess their impact upon the students. Transcripts, program assessments, surveys, observations, focus groups, and interviews are some of the methods that are available for gatheri ng achievement data for these analyses. While there are some concerns that have been voiced by policymakers and administrators about dual enrollment, such as maturity levels, lia bility, variances in academic calendars, and academic rigor for courses taught by high school teachers (AASCU, 2002), predominantly quantitative resear ch thus far has been consistently clear about the positive impact experienced in coll ege by students who have been participants


7 7 in the program as compared to their peers that have not shared in such experiences (Bailey, et al.; 2002). Studies by the Edu cation Commission of the States (2005), Andrews (2004), and Bailey (2002) have reported on the ach ievement gap between high school exit and college entry th at demonstrate a need for dual enrollment programs, the various policies and program designs that exist across the United States, and basic success outcomes for high school seniors who participate. Conceptual Framework for Proposed Study Karp (2006) conducted a study that would br ing a theoretical perspective to the existence of dual enrollment programs because her research discovered none that would support this policy interventi on. Karp proposes that, through identity theory, goals for attending college and for postsecondary persiste nce are encouraged. In identity theory, an iterative process enables people who are in new social environments to realize new expectations and take on new behaviors in ac cordance with that environment. Identities are cognitively created through engagement in and interpretation of a social environment for a college student. “Lives become patterned around roles. Individuals learn to behave appropriately in given situations by enacti ng role-related behaviors and come to see themselves as filling specific social ro les, and as belonging (Karp, 2006, p. 25).” Karp further states that dual enrollment students can feel more committed to the role of a college student and are more likel y to experience persistence. In Karp’s study, a person begins to pattern his or her behaviors after that of a college student through role rehe arsal. Students obtain this at varying levels according to the extent to which they study, participate in class, attend class, and do homework. Students in dual enrollment e xperience a vehicle for college readiness not only through


8 8 their exposure to the academic rigor, but also in becoming familiar with campus resources and processes. Going through the pr ocess of registering for classes, securing textbooks, and becoming familiar with othe r norms and practices associated with attending college will demystify some of the experiences related to college. As an example, participants in Buchanan’s st udy (2006) experienced changes in their high school lives in areas such as ex tracurricular activities and peer relationships as a result of participation in the dual enrollment program. Ro le rehearsal helps facilitate identity shifts and, according to Attinasi (1989), is a powerful t ool for students to develop strategies that will help them successfully take on the role of a college student. Significance of the Study The findings of this study would make significant contributions to further development of the dual enrollment program as students’ voices unveil what they have experienced in the program and how it has made a subsequent impact on their first year as full-time college students. The results of the proposed study can be valuable to program constituents such as legislative po licymakers, state officials, and program administrators who make critical decisions related to programs and policies for dual enrollment through information-rich data obtained from program recipients. This study contributes to the literature b ecause of the lived experiences obtained from students who have experienced dual en rollment. These lived experiences capture non-tangible aspects of the pr ocess and provide insight into how students think they are impacted by a program such as dual enrollment The findings of this study yields results for high school students concerning the valu e of dual enrollment as a way to enhance their preparation for undergraduate educati on and may encourage th eir investment in


9 9 courses that count towards degree requirement s, save money in college expenses, and potentially shorten the time-to-degree. This study would also provide valuable in formation to state policymakers and to institutional administrators. Fo r states such as Florida that pay the expenses for students who participate (Windham & Perkins, 2001), it pr ovides feedback from a small sample of the beneficiaries in whom they are inve sting. The state can also benefit from the program’s success because its effectiveness contributes to a more educated population, which also facilitates a more educated workforce. Possessing this type of workforce yields even greater benefits because this population has proven to re quire less in social services (Ewell, Jones, & Kelly ; n.d.). Administrators hear di rectly from participants of the program and receive feedback that will contribute to the decision-making process as they consider implementing or modifying programs of this nature. Research Questions Students who have completed no more than three semesters at the university were be identified and invited to participate in this qualitative study. E-journals were the method by which students provide d responses to semi-structured interview questions about their experiences. The que stions that were posed in this study were designed to draw insights that address how students’ participa tion in dual enrollment while still in high school has impacted their experience as full -time, first-year students in college. The results of this study yielded resu lts to the following questions: 1. What are the initial experiences of dual enrollment students? 2. How does the dual enrollment experien ce impact the decision of high school graduates to attend college?


10 10 3. What comparisons can previous dual en rollment students make between the college experience they had in high school and the subsequent co llege experience as a full-time college student? The expectation was that college students of the millennial generation would be comfortable with the use of the e-journal method, providing convenience with respect to location, time-of-day, and the ability to pr ovide careful and complete reflection and thoughtful responses about their high school and college experiences. Definition of Terms The terms in this study, which should be defined include the following: Acceleration Mechanism An acceleration mechanism is an articu lated agreement between secondary and postsecondary educational institutions intend ed to shorten the time necessary for an Associates or Baccalaureate degree (Flo rida State Board of Education, 2003). Access Access is the ability or o pportunity to participate in postsecondary education (United States Department of Educati on Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, 2001). College College is any formal education beyond high school leading to a degree. This can, and often does, include community colleges (Gibbons & Shoffner, 2004). College Placement Test Also known as the CPT, this test is an assessment of basic competencies in the areas of English, reading, and mathematics which are essential to perform college-level


11 11 work; prerequisite skills that relate to progressively advanced instruction in mathematics, such as algebra and geometry; prerequisite sk ills that relate to progressively advanced instruction in language arts, such as English composition and literature; prerequisite skills that relate to the College-Level Academic Skills Test (CLAST); and provision of test information to students on the specific deficiencies (Common placement testing for postsecondary education, Florida Statute 1008.30 (2), 2004) College Readiness College Readiness is a demonstration of students’ preparedness to participate in college-level coursework by obtaining a passing score on all three sect ions of the Florida CPT (Florida Department of Education, 2002). College Remediation College remediation consists of “those courses and support services in basic academic skills which address the needs of a diverse population of underprepared students” (The University of the State of New York State Education Department Office of Higher Education, 1999). Dual Enrollment Dual enrollment is the enrollment of an eligible secondary student or home education student in a postsecondary course creditable toward a career and technical certificate or an Associate or Baccalaureate degree (Dua l enrollment programs, F.S. 1007.271 (1), 2002).


12 12 First-to-second year retention First-to-second year retention is the percen tage of first-time, full-time freshmen who return to the same institution for the se cond term or second year of study (Levitz, Noel, & Richter; 1999). Freshmen Summer Institute (FSI) A program that admits first-generation and limited-income students who demonstrate ability and/or potential to succeed through the combination of their high school grade point average (HSGPA) and Schol astic Aptitude Test (SAT) or Enhanced American College Test (EACT) scores. The program promotes the academic success of first-year students and encourages higher graduation rates by providing academic support and coordinating campus services. (FSI Home Page, April 2007, FTIC FTIC, an acronym for First-Time-In-College refers to a student who is attending college for the first time with no credit toward a degree and who is enrolled in courses that lead to a degree (Florida Department of Education, 2002a). Freshman For this study, a freshman will have entere d the state university for the first time in summer 2007, fall 2007, or spring 2008 a nd are preferably fu ll-time students. Full-Time Student Full-Time Student is a student who enrolls in 12 or more credit hours in a term (Florida Department of Education, 2002a).


13 13 Honors College The Honors College at the University of South Florida is for motivated students, regardless of major. The program emphasizes the development of thinking, reasoning, analytic and writing skills, which students in the program can appl y to an individual research project or original creative wor k. (USF About Honors information page, April 2007, Inter-institutional Articulation Agreement An inter-institutional articulation agr eement is a comprehensive articulated program that delineates specific guidelines fo r the provision of posts econdary credit to be earned by secondary students within a specifi ed school district ( 2007 Florida Statutes District Inter-instituti onal Articulation Agreements, F. S. 1007.235 (1), 2007, tatutes/index.cfm?App_mode=D isplay_Statute&URL=Ch100 7/ch1007.htm). Student Support Services The Student Support Services (SSS) Program is a fede rally funded grant program, which provides academic support for a select group in college. The Student Support Services program is designed for first time colle ge students who have been identified as a first generation college student or with a low income family status, or an individual with a disability. These students may not meet all University admission criteria, but their high school records and standardized test scores (SAT or ACT) mu st indicate the potential for success in college. (SSS Home Page, Apr il 2007,


14 14 University Experience The University Experience class is designe d to provide students (primarily first time in college freshmen) new to the University of South Florida with effective strategies for academic success and enriched opportuni ties for understanding th e variety of human cultures, values, and perspectives, which a uni versity offers. The course seeks to assist students toward self-actualization and integrat ion into the life of the campus community. (University Experience Inst ructor Resource, April 2007, www.ugs. usf .edu/ue/Instructor%20Resources/Pur pose,%20Goals,%20and%20Outcomes. doc ) Assumptions and Limitations The use of e-journals in research provid es data that is al ready transcribed and lends itself to higher accuracy, allows for lo w administrative costs, and typically removes the limitations of “spatial and temporal proximity between the interviewer and the respondent,” according to Selwyn & Robson (1998). Because students who have access to computer labs and university e-mail addre sses were used in this study, the participants of the study were less likely to be hindered by social class barriers as it relates to the availability and usage of technology. Howe ver, the convenience of having their own personal computer access may aff ect participation in the st udy and could be a limitation of some interviewees if schedules do not permit the necessary time to access computers on campus. By conducting interviews using tech nology rather than face-to-face contact, another benefit is the loss of interviewer effect due to “visual and nonverbal cues or status differences” (Selwyn & Robson, 1998). Pe ople who are typically shy can be more expressive in written communications.


15 15 Amidst these advantages were several li mitations that should also be mentioned with respect to method, sample size, locati on, potential issues, a nd participant honesty. Selwyn and Robson further indicate that whil e use of e-journaling can yield favorable response rates, response times, and provides an easier mode of distribution, conducting research by e-mail lacks interpersonal cues such as eye contact or body language, which causes the attempt for rapport-bu ilding to be created through carefully constructed verbal responses. Anonymity is jeopardized with th e use of e-journaling. Another problem that could occur is for an e-mail re garding the survey to be received as junk mail. However, this problem was minimized through a reminder to participants to a dd the researcher’s email address to their address book so that it wa s not received in their e-mail inbox as junk mail or spam. The sample size of 21 was small compar ed to the number of students who possess experience in dual enrollment programs, cau sing limited generalizability of the findings. In addition, these self-selected participants were only obtained from the main campus of a large, southern metropolitan university. Other limitations included minor technology issues that arose, causing slow er response rates or distractio ns that hindered participation in the study altogether. There were the possibi lities associated with deceit by a participant who does not remain true to the purpose of the study. An opportunity to conduct member checking would bring increased validity and re liability to the study as students confirm the accurate interpretation and placement of their responses. With this in mind, the timing of each stage in the process is critical and can be a limitation if students are not accessible.


16 16 Organization of Study Chapter two will provide a review of the existing literature on key topics associated with this study. It will provid e information that suppor ts the need for the nature of the study by elaborat ing on patterns and trends acro ss educational systems, the status of past and present dual enrollment programs, college transitions, and student demographics associated with the university from which research participants were selected. The third chapter will provide an overview of the met hod, research questions, and rationale for the population selection, data collection, and analyses of the qualitative study.


17 17 Chapter Two: Review of the Related Literature This chapter will provide a review of th e literature as it relates to key areas involved in this study. In additi on to a brief overview of severa l studies that justify a need for the proposed study, the review of literature will define the history of events which led to the emergence of dual enrollment programs, the recommended steps that states should consider in developing dual enrollment progr ams, and the current status of those programs throughout the nation. Benefits and concerns that have been expressed by higher education officials, state legislators, and program administrators will also be discussed. Lastly, a descripti on of the university setting fr om which the population will be obtained shall address institutional char acteristics, student demographics, and the current state of technology that will impact the design of this study. Justification for Research What students have to say after leaving th e dual enrollment program is one of the issues that should be addressed in researc h, according to Andrews (2001). Research that assesses program quality and student impact is recommended in states where dual enrollment exists (Marshall & Andrew, 2002). “Research provides the foundation for improving and for assuring that the dual-credit programs are quality for students, parents, boards of education, college boards, state educ ational agencies and state legislators who are involved in deciding to fund these efforts. Research should also provide solid data for answering critics or doubters of the dualcredit programs (Andrews, 2001, p. 81-82).” A stronger foundation is needed to support existing research, which is predominantly


18 18 positive, that currently exists for dual enrollment programs (Andrews, 2004). Several studies exist that also subs tantiate the legitimate need for the study proposed. These studies address3e the identif ication of a theoretical pe rspective that supports dual enrollment, gathered perceptions from stude nts who have taken dua l enrollment courses, and assessed the effect of location of instruction for these courses. Theoretical Rationale A qualitative study conducted by Karp in 2006 wa s conducted using identity theory as a rationale for students who gain clarity about the role and identity of a college student through the dual enrollmen t program. Specific elements in th e role of the college student included skills, behaviors, and habits of an academic nature, social and interpersonal characteristics, and personal habits and tr aits. Along with classroom observations and conversations with high school staff, college staff, and former students of the program, twenty-six students in the College Now program in New York City were interviewed at the beginning, middle, and end of their first semester in a dual enrollment course to assess changes in how they view the role of college students. The purpose of using the study to estab lish a theoretical rationale was to encourage enthusiasm among policymakers and educators by justifyi ng the existence of and need for dual enrollment program through th e lens of identity theory, which suggests that postsecondary persistence is encouraged as high school students come to identify with the role of college st udents through the college courses they encounter before graduation from high school. Karp states: “wit hout a theory explaining why the expected outcomes should be anticipated, policymakers a nd educators will be less able to clearly articulate why dual enrollment programs should be supported by state and local


19 19 governments, or by foundations and other fundi ng sources. Second, the lack of a theory means that program directors are ‘flying b lind’: they are implementing dual enrollment without clarity about what elements of the pr ogram might lead to the outcomes they value most.” Having a clear theoretical approach wi ll also help give re searchers and program administrators a sense of direction. This st udy would also aid in “f uture outcomes-based research (Karp, 2006, p. 2).” By the third in terview, seventeen students had clearer descriptions of the college student’s role a nd twelve of them began to take on more of these characteristics personally. Taking a college course in high school provided an environment for anticipatory socialization and role rehearsa l to take place, which are two of the mechanisms used in the theory that explain the changes that st udents experienced. Anticipatory socialization indicates a process that enables a person to take on or adapt to characteristics of a future role (Brown, 1991). Students are prepared to take on a new role through the technical demands that are learned formally and info rmally as students engage with full-time college students who already occupy the ro le the high school stude nts are aspiring to (Simpson, 1979). They learn normative values and habits and also acquire the motivation to fully inherit the role of a college student. Role rehearsal is very similar to anticipatory socialization, but has a greater emphasis on pr acticing roles instead of just observing. As seen in apprenticeships and in ternships, students have the op portunity to actually engage in the role and, therefore, expe rience a greater identity shift. The findings of the study were such that role rehearsal was instrumental in both learning about the role and in making identity shifts, while anticipatory socialization only encouraged learning about the role. Overa ll, dual enrollment was confirmed as an


20 20 environment in which students could learn a bout and begin to acquire the role of a college student into their self-concept. Student Perceptions Huntley and Schuh (2002) conducted a st udy in 1998-1999 that i ndicated a need to expand empirical studies related to the dual enrollment phenomenon. Their study was conducted using criterion sampling in selecti ng nine students from three different high schools in the Midwest who took dual enro llment courses during the 1998-1999 academic year to examine the reasons these student s took dual enrollment courses, what their perceptions of the environment were, and how the experience benefite d them. Of the nine students, four of them were taking classes at the community college, three took classes at a four-year college, one took courses at the university, and one took courses at both the community college and a four-year institu tion. Along with observations, students and high school counselors were interviewed As a result of the responses obtained dur ing the interviews, they were able to make recommendations to administrators a nd enrollment managers that would enhance the dual enrollment experience for the st udent and simultaneously assist the postsecondary personnel in recruitment and retent ion efforts. They also stated a need for other research that would expand their st udy by examining students in other geographic regions and that would incorporat e gender and ethnicity comparisons Effect of Location Burns & Lewis (2000) conducted another qualitative study that examined the effect of location of classes on students’ dual enrollment experien ces. College courses that are made available to high school students can be delivered in several different ways.


21 21 Some courses are taught at the high school by e ither a full-time college instructor or a high school teacher who also qualif ies as an adjunct instructor. In other scenarios, courses are offered at the college and the student is allowed to attend courses at that campus. Purposeful sampling was used with six pa rticipants in the study, two of whom were male and four were female. Among th ese students, who had similar grade point averages, three were taking a college course at the high school and the other three were taking a college course at the community college. The analytic induction method was used with interview questions that inquired about what motivat ed students to take college classes while in high school, how they were treated by classmates who were aware that they were still in high school, if the cl ass environment facilitated learning, what differences they might have experienced if th ey had taken classes in both environments, and what impact location had on c ontinuing to enroll in classes. The data were analyzed through categoriz ation and transcription analyses and were individually coded as a method of triangul ation. Construct validity, internal validity, external validity, and reliabil ity were taken into consideration. In the results, students were pleased overall, but seemed more sati sfied, gained more independence, and were more serious about the courses if taken on the college campus. The two researchers of this study ch ose the phenomenon of dual enrollment because research on the topic as a whole is lack ing at a time when it is most critical in terms of accountability. Programs are held under keen observation to ensure fiscal accountability exists in line with “clearly articulated objectives, methods for reaching those objectives, and data to support progre ss (Burns & Lewis, 2000, p.1).” Documented


22 22 evidence must be shown in order for such progr ams to maintain their existence in today’s competition for funding resources. Issues with College Readiness Policymakers recognize dual enrollment as a tool for developi ng a pool of highlytrained individuals who may ultimately fill pr ofessional fields that are in high demand, such as healthcare and technology (Boswell, 2001 ). Before the United States can expect to reap the benefit of this population thr ough increased degree productivity, it must first address students’ ability to even pursue their aspirations of obtaining a college degree. By maintaining a pipeline that pr ovides a clear path from high sc hool into college, students’ aspirations to pursue a college degree will be perceived as an attainable goal. Growing attention has been given to the disconnect between standards for exiting high school and the requirements for entering college without the need of remedial work. Currently, students must take exams in high school in or der to graduate but of ten do not realize that these exams are based on th e skill levels of a tenthgrade education and cannot necessarily be used to also determine thei r college readiness (Kirst & Venezia; n.d.). Students also miss the fact that even after admission, it is college placement exams that will determine where they start with their colle ge-level curriculum. Almost half of these college hopefuls find themselves in remedial work initially, which increases both time and money for degree completion. As a result of the growing remediati on costs for high school graduates of all backgrounds, many states are working toward s stronger alignment and a more seamless transition between high schools and higher edu cation systems (Ewell, et. al.; n.d.). Some educational constituents expect that stude nts should be prepared for college-level


23 23 coursework upon graduation and should not need remedial courses. But in order for that to happen, the higher education sector must communicate clearly to high school systems exactly what will be required for students to be considered “college-ready” (Kirst & Venezia.; n.d.). Policies that facilitate gr eater connections betw een these two systems would also be helpful. Often, representati ves from K-12 and higher education systems will come together as a council or commission who will be responsible for resolving the gaps that exist between the two systems. Un less a clear agenda is set, however, these K16 entities can easily get lost in conversa tion instead of action (Kirst, et. al., n.d.). An Overview of Dual enrollment As a result of several reports that ha ve brought national attention to the great disconnect between educational sectors, policie s have led to the establishment and growth of several acceleration mechanisms across th e nation. One of those mechanisms is dual enrollment. This section will describe the emergence of dual enrollment, along with an overview of dual enrollment programs on nationa l, state, and local levels. In addition, information about the dual enrollment programs within the state of Florida will also be discussed. The Emergence of Dual enrollment Programs Dual enrollment programs date back as far as the latter part of the 20th century (Andrews, 2001). Programs began to emerge in the early 1970s, with a significant increase being evident during the 1980s, af ter the release of a report by the U. S. Department of Education’s National Comm ission on Excellence in Education called A Nation at Risk which provoked many states to impr ove the academic scholarship of its high school students (Fincher-Ford, 1997). A professional organization, the National


24 24 Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partners hips (NACEP), was established in 1999 to facilitate collaboration, advocacy, support, research, and quality among increasing courses and programs across the nation in dual enrollment. The association was initiated by a group of program directors, but now has ad ministrators, staff, faculty, partners, and researchers among its membership. Students were able to participate in the dual enrollment program through academic or vocational-technical courses. Se veral names exist for courses that students take while in high school. Dual enrollment or dual credit is for the student who takes a college course and receives credit in both high school and college, while concurrent enrollment is for the high school student who was only receiving college credit for a course. For a number of years Florida’s Articu lation Coordination Committee has focused on this need to strengthen alignment between these sectors. One of the outcomes of this committee is growth in accelera tion mechanisms such as Dual enrollment (Florida Board of Education, 2003). This mechanism allows high school students to take college-level courses while also completing high school requirements. Acceleration mechanisms that are used to provide early e xposure to rigorous college-level coursework have been of growing interest across the nation (Florida Board of Education, 2003). For years, states have had programs such as CLEP (credit by examination), advanced placement, early admission and IB (internationa l baccalaureate) programs. However, there has been a growing trend among educational systems nationwide to develop programs for dual enrollment as another mechanism to facilitate students’ exposure to collegiate coursework.


25 25 National and State Involvem ent in Dual enrollment Public policy has three es tablished responsibilities for providing opportunity in higher education: enrollment, quality cu rriculum, and affordability. National organizations that are involve d in these programs are the We stern Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), State Higher Education Executive Office (SHEEO), and the College Board. The Education Commissi on of the States (ECS) also favors dual enrollment as a component of a seamless K-16 system and encourages state policymakers to consider funding the program and providi ng incentives for stude nts to participate (Windham & Perkins, 2001). Approximately two million students around the nation are participating annually in dual enrollment, wh ich is offered in 71% of America’s public high schools (Plucker, Chien, & Zaman, 2006). Dual enrollment programs exist in all 50 states, with 40 states having some form of legislation (Lerne r & Brand, 2006). State legislators a nd policymakers play an active role in how various accelera tion mechanisms function in each state. Legislation and policymakers determine the priorities that wi ll be established for educational programs and can mandate that educational systems within the state "play nice" with each other if they support the initiatives themselves. A ccording to Boswell (2004), dual enrollment policies exist in 38 states at the state level, policies in 10 states are at the institutional level without governing policies at the state level, and two states have no policy. Most policies address criteria fo r student eligibility and how the funding aspects will be handled (Education Commission of the States, 2 005). All of the other factors are typically left up to the educational offi cials or committees from the pa rtnering institutions to work out.


26 26 Comprehensive programs where students pay little to no tuition and fees and have few course restrictions exis t in 21 states (Andrews, 2001). Examples of these states include California, Colorado, Delaware, Fl orida, Georgia, Id aho, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jers ey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Washington, and West Virginia. Limited programs exist in 26 states, including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kans as, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Te xas. Tuition for college courses are paid by the student and there are more restrictions on the academic credit earned and stringent criteria on eligible courses. Program Development There are a number of factor s that a state must decide when developing a dual enrollment pr ogram (Andrews, 2001; CCRC, 2004). Often policies are put in place to guide the actions of educational institutions in providing this service. Partnerships between high schools and community colleges are established to develop, implement, or oversee the quality of the process. These partnerships may be as small as one community college and one hi gh school, but often are much more vast. While most discussion of this subject refers to public education, so me policies will also address how private instituti ons and home or charter sc hools can also participate. Characteristics that define these progra ms on a broader level within the state include whether the programs are mandatory or voluntary in sc hool districts, how students will be counted for in terms of en rollment for the high school and the college or university, and how state funding will be approp riated for the courses or what families will be expected to contribute. High sc hools and higher education institutions will typically collaborate on where the courses ar e offered, who teaches the course, and how


27 27 students become eligible to participate. So me students go to a college campus and attend class with other college students. Others ta ke college-level courses at the high school among their own peers. An increasing trend now is the ability to take these courses through distance education via Internet (F incher-Ford, 1997). Depending on the policies in place, courses might be taught by a high school teacher who has the credentials of a college adjunct professor or by a college professor. Unless the state has already established a list of statewide courses that should be made available to students throughout the state, which eas es the articulation process once students transfer to a higher education institution, the courses that are offered should be discussed and agreed upon in the initial planning process between th e high school and college or university and should be reviewed annually for modifications (Andrews, 2001). Program implementation Once a committee has been established to decide on program procedures between a school and a college or university, appropriate staff is identified to assist with admissions and registration proc esses and with faculty and scheduling issues. An orientation for faculty and an orientation for students and their parents are recommended to go over the proc esses and procedures for the program and clarify any questions (Fincher-Ford, 1997). Fincher-Ford (1997) outlines a detailed guide for creati ng dual enrollment programs. A pilot program is recommended th at starts with one semester and a few courses. Formal feedback and evaluative processes should also take place during the initial semester to determine what is wo rking and what isn’t before expanding the program. Once the committee feels they are ready to proceed, they can begin to market the program to parents, students, area high school administrators and faculty via news


28 28 articles and other media, flyers that are mailed or sent by students, and through parent night events at the local schools. They might also try other community-related events to publicize the program. Considera tion should also be given to the unique needs of each high school in allowing students to take courses through dual en rollment that may not be readily available at their regul ar high school or by not offeri ng courses that have a strong curriculum at the high school. Lastly, the qua lity of the program, based on students receiving the same experience as a first-y ear college student, shoul d be measured through evaluations conducted by the students and c ounselors. How administrators, parents, and taxpayers view the program will also be of great importance. Student eligibility To be eligible, some stat es require students apply for admission to the college, while others re quire a certain g.p.a. or passing scores on a placement test, and some only require a r ecommendation from the high school guidance counselor (Andrews, 2001). States also vary in what grade level students must be in before they can take classes or in how many courses can be taken in a semester or term. Most often the stellar students participat e but a growing intere st in participation for underachievers is beginning to emerge as a tool to keep them interested and encourage them to do better (Bailey, et. al., 2002; Adelman, 1999; Burns and Lewis, 2000). Some scholars believe that underachievi ng students can rise to the occasion if properly motivated and challenged. One pr oven example is given by Darryl Sedio, coordinator of Minnesota’s programs, who has experienced students who were failing high school classes, but earne d A’s and B’s in college c oursework (Andrews, 2001). A student in Vermont who once spent her hi gh school days daydreaming and ignoring teachers enrolled in a college English class where she earned an A, despite weekly


29 29 reading assignments, 18 papers, and two ex ams (Lords, 2000). Burns and Lewis (2000) describe opportunities in South Dakota pub lic schools for vocational training through dual enrollment that are also us ed to motivate students who were at risk of dropping out of school. Middle college high schools and early co llege high schools offer forms of dual enrollment programs that exist at community colleges across numerous states (Lords, 2000). These high schools are hou sed on a college campus and enroll students who have dropped out of high school, are repeating a grade, or have numerous absences. A percentage of these students ge t to enroll in college course s before they graduate and many students from the school do go on to co llege. Examples of such high schools include LaGuardia Middle College in New Yo rk and the El Centro Community College in Dallas, Texas. A recently developed initiative involving dual enrollment include several partnerships between secondary and postsecondary institutions that are being overseen by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) with the specific mission to help students who are struggling academi cally, are from low-income backgrounds, or considered part of an underrepresented popul ation to have “rigorous, supportive, and career-focused dual en rollment opportunities (Bailey, 2008, p. 3). Types of courses Career and technical dual enro llment are courses at vocationaltechnical schools that can lead to certification while academic dual enrollment reflects the use of college-level courses that can earn credits towards a degr ee (Fincher-Ford, 1997). Academic dual enrollment has experienced sign ificant growth in the state of Florida and is available through all of its community colleges, while the career and technical opportunities at remain constant in student participation (Florida Department of


30 30 Education, 2004). Students average about nine credit hours or th ree courses. Some students earn more credits and may even rece ive their A.A. degree during the same time they are graduating from high school. Benefits of Dual Enrollment Programs Many benefit from what dual enrollment o ffers. Students benefit from a broader variety of courses to choose from in the areas of American History, Biology, English, European History, Humanities, Psychology, Mathematics, and Political Science (Windham & Perkins, 2001). Students get co llege credit while simultaneously meeting high school graduation requireme nts, which can cut down on the time and expense in getting a degree. Unlike the advanced placement courses, credit is given to the student based on their performance throughout the cour se as opposed to their performance on an exam at the end. Windham and Perkins (2001) fu rther state that if students are able to take classes and do fairly we ll, they experience greater se lf-confidence and preparation for the academic rigor prior to full-ti me enrollment as college students. By starting this process early, it is one way to potentially reduce remediation or bring awareness to barriers to college-readiness before gr aduation for those students who take advantage of it. Although it’s questionable whether students see this as an advantage or not, they avoid “senioritis” by remaining engaged in meani ngful curriculum. Instead of taking it easy in their senior year and “losing” their academic prowess, they are able to stay engaged and move forward in the process ra ther than experience gaps in learning and having to reacquaint themselves. Providing they do well in the courses, their applications for admission to college can look more appe aling with these expe riences and they are more likely to retain more complex subject ma tter. Studies show that students who have


31 31 taken dual enrollment have a greater lik elihood of enrolling at higher education institutions once they graduated from high school (Florida Department of Education, 2004; Hunt & Carroll, 2006). Research by the Florida Department of Education (2004) has also shown that, once these students arrive at college, they tend to experience greater retention rates than their count erparts and that students do as well or better in subsequent courses once they fully enroll in college. In addition to the academic rigor of the classroom, they will have become acquainted earlier on with the college environment in terms of other aspects such as registration, use of the bookstore, and other resources and support services that are availa ble to college students, part icularly if they attend the institution where they enro lled in college courses wh ile still in high school. There are also benefits to parents, high schools, and postsecondary institutions who participate in the collaborative effort of allowing students to take college courses during high school. Parents get to save money if they are paying for their child’s college expenses, which may extend beyond tuition to include other fees such as housing and meal plans. By partnering with a colle ge or university, high schools can make the opportunity available for students to take courses that they w ould otherwise not be able to offer. This broadens their curriculum and pot entially allows them to benefit from a better image in the community. This program could also facilitate increased enrollment for higher education institutions by recruiting and engaging students before they graduate. Some research has shown that th is is particularly helpful to an institution when trying to build a more diverse population. In a comp arison of community colleges with and without dual enrollment programs, it was determ ined that two-year colleges with these programs were likely to have higher percentages of students of color. It is believed that


32 32 these experiences may help warm up th eir educational aspirations, which would ultimately lead to higher percentages of them actually pursuing those goals. Colleges get exposed to bright students from area high schools. It is likely these students could be in a position to mentor other student s. Having this program helps facilitate a more seamless system between educational sectors through gr eater alignment of standards between high school exit and college entry. Concerns with Dual Enrollment Programs While benefits are evident for this ac celeration mechanism, there are also a number of concerns that have been e xpressed by policymakers and administrators. Concerns about maturity factors, location, a cademic rigor, transferability, the impact on high school involvement, and funding policies ar e among the issues associated with dual enrollment programs. Although some professo rs say that at times they don’t know the difference between the high school student and college student unless the individual tells them, one such concern is the age differen ce and maturity level of the high school students when in the same se tting with college students wher e the average age is about 29 (McCabe, 2000). Yet, if classe s are held at their high schools, others argue that location affects the “true” college experience that studen ts receive. Many questi on the true rigor of college-level coursework, which often im pacts whether or not a higher education institution will accept credit for these course s (Hunt & Carroll, 2006; Johnstone & Del Genio, 2001). Once a high school student has graduated and been admitted to college, if credit is awarded, dual enrollment coursework may receive less weighting by admissions offices at state universities than cred it earned by other mechanisms such as advanced placement


33 33 or International Bacca laureate (Hunt & Carroll, 2006). Furthermore, students do risk potential damage to college transcripts if they do not do well in such courses while they are in high school and must make extremel y cautious decisions th at will facilitate academic success. However, if the trends observed in a study by Windham and Perkins (2001) of over 26,300 students in Florida who took dual enrollment courses between the Summer 1994 and Spring 1999 terms continues and are experienced in other programs, the population of students who experience this adverse situation shoul d be minimal. The results of this study found that students pe rformed well academically in subsequent coursework, earning a C or highe r, and that only 3% of th is population had to repeat courses once they entered college full-time. Th is was especially true for students who two courses in English, psychology, human ities, and political science. Secondary institutions are disheartened at the impact of dual enrollment program upon the students’ high school experiences in some cases. For example, typically dual enrollment programs generally pull the brig htest students from the high school and diverts needed money from school districts (H ebert, 2001). Some are also concerned that students in these programs, who are ofte n leaders on campus, may miss the full high school experiences such as pep rallies and football games. Part icipation in these programs might even hinder a student’s ability to partic ipate in athletics or other extracurricular activities. Decisions about funding patterns for dua l enrollment programs appear to be complicated as well. The two primary deci sions regarding funding these programs are who will pay the tuition and how funding for the American Disabilities Act (ADA) and Full-Time Equivalency (FTE) will be directed (Karp, et. al.; 2005). In both decisions, the


34 34 outcome leads to a loss of funds for the hi gh school, the college, or both institutions unless a method known as “double-di pping” is used. That practic e, which grants funds to both institutions for the same student, and can be expensive (Kar p et. al., 2004). These decisions can impact how constituents respond to the idea of dual enrollment opportunities. If students are expected to pa y tuition, this would severely impact students from low-income families. If high schools in cur the expense, they are not likely to encourage dual enrollment, and if higher education institutions are impacted by the responsibility, they might create barriers to minimize participation. Some states, such as Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, and Oh io, use a delicate balance where the high school and the postsecondary institution share the costs and alleviat e the student of any responsibility beyond fees, books, and tr ansportation (Karp, et. al.; 2004). The fact that the tracking systems between high schools and colleges are not identical is always an issue. High schools are not able to follow their graduates and, likewise, community colleges are unable to do the same for their students who are going on to four-year universities. With the need for accountability, which is tied to performance and other funding related issues, having a system that is compatible would seem imperative. Then there’s the issue of where thes e courses are taught and by whom. Gary Ripple, Director of Admissions at Lafayette College, speaks for many university officials who feel these courses should only be offere d on a college campus and taught by college faculty with college students in the room. Tu lane University is another institution that spells out clearly its policies regarding dual enrollment courses, which basically are not accepted if the course was not offered by a college or university and taught by their


35 35 faculty. There are others, such as Gerald Edmo nds, who disagrees with such policies. As associate director of Project Advance at Syr acuse University, he feels that critics are ignoring the course content and outcomes and ar e also ignoring the possibility that high school teachers might be trained and qualified to provide the same learning experience as a college faculty member. High school teachers who are used to teach these college-level courses have the same credentials as an ad junct faculty, but under go additional scrutiny. In one research study, a group of student s at a Florida community college who had a high school teacher and a group who had a college faculty member for their courses were followed to see if there were any signifi cant differences in subsequent math courses. An unweighted, cumulative high-school GPA a nd test scores from the SAT, ACT, or CPT were used to ensure comparable academic ability among the students. The college’s student database was used to se lect the participants in the study and to determine whether they were taught by a high school teacher or college faculty, but all courses had been taught on a high school campus. Just over 1,800 st udents were identified for the study, nearly half in each group of these, 700 student s were ultimately used, as the outcome was measured according to the grade received in the next course taken and providing they continued their educat ion at one of the state universities. Regardless of the university a ttended or the gender or ethnicity of the students, group A students, those taught by high school te achers, actually did better in subsequent coursework than those in group B. While the hypotheses was that there would be no difference in outcomes, the learning outco mes by high school teachers were actually superior and the students were better prepare d. This positive outcome is attributed to the fact that high school teachers are already co mfortable in their environment, as opposed to


36 36 college faculty coming in to this setting. Teaching such courses is an honor in high school. Teachers actually spend more time w ith the students. In addition these teachers may have a background in education th at college faculty may not have. Florida Florida is one of the few states that developed dual enrollment programs in the earlier stages. Most courses for dual en rollment are provided through the Florida Community College System (Windham & Perk ins, 2001). An observation of legislation in support of the program, along with tre nds concerning its student participation subsequently, are addres sed in this section. Legislation Three goals that drive the policy agenda for Florida’s dual enrollment program are: “to shorten students' time to degree, to broaden the scope of curricular options available to high school students, and to increase the de pth of study in a particular subject” (Hunt & Carroll, 2006, p. 40). With Florida Statutes 240.116 (1) being enacted in 1973 with regards to five acceleration mechanisms ( dual enrollment, advanced placement, IB, early admission, credit by exam ination (CLEP), Florida appears to be among the first to initiate stat e legislation in support of dua l enrollment programs in their state. Dual enrollment and advanced placement are the two most widely used acceleration programs. Most of the programs require passin g a standardized test to receive college credit, but dual enrollment only requires earn ing a grade of C or better in a course. In addition to other initiatives, the Fl orida Articulation Coordinating Committee oversees these programs and makes recomme ndations for continuous improvement. For example, in December 2003, Florida’s Articu lation Coordinating Co mmittee established a pilot agreement between a few school distri cts and the distance learning consortium as a


37 37 way to expand access, recommended that the st ate continue current funding patterns and that a program of study “module” of gene ral education courses be developed. As of 2003, several policies had been put into place including House Bill 1739, Florida Statutes 1007.235, 1007.271, and 1007.272. Flor ida Statutes 1007.235 is an interinstitutional articulation agreements which pr omotes access for students. Florida Statutes 1007.271 represents general policies about dual enrollment programs. Florida Statutes 1007.272 involves joint dual enrollment and adva nced placement instruction. Section 1007.261 determines how dual enrollment courses are weighted. Florida is one of six states that pays dual enrollment costs (Handsom, et. al., 2006). In other states the school district or the student pays this expense. Both the high school and college can consider students’ fo r funding purposes, which is often referred to as double-dipping. However, some see it as pa ying potential future costs in today’s dollars. Participation In 2005-2006, 32,759 students took dua l enrollment in community colleges (Hanson, et. al., 2006). Seventy-two percent were white, 10% Hispanic, 10% African-American, and 8% classi fied as other. Eighty-three percent earned a C or better and the average student took three courses, wh ich equates to nine college credit hours. Since its inception, the state of Florida ha s experienced significant growth in students who participate in dual enrollment, which also makes a positive impact on students who later enroll in highe r education programs once they graduate from high school. For example, the dual enrollment student rate of enrollment in postsecondary institutions was 9% greater than that of a ll high school graduates in 20012002 (Florida Department of Education, 2004). With the exception of As ian students and those whose race were


38 38 unknown, all other ethnicities e xperienced higher enrollment rates in college after graduation from high school. In fact, the en rollment rate for Af rican Americans was almost double. Florida grew from 3,609 participants in 1991-1992 to 5,883 participants in 19981999, with students averaging 13-18 credit hour s of general education requirements by the time they graduated, and some are even earning the high school diploma and the A.A. degree simultaneously. Data retrieved from th e FCCS Student Databa se indicates that from 1998-99 to 2002-03, both African American s and Hispanics were increasingly using this program to help them prepare fo r college. African-Americans yielded a 49.30 increase (1,969 to 3,289) in participation. Hispanics grew 49.18 percent, from 71,843 to 107,174. During this same five-year period, ea ch population grew roughly 98% in the number of courses they took through this program. For these same ethnicities, dual enrolled students are also much more likely to enroll in either a community college or state university than the typical high school graduate. Most dual enrollment students choose to enter the state uni versity system upon entry to college (Windham & Perkins, 2001). Florida has been committed to the adva ncement of dual enrollment programs for many years (Hanson, Windham, Lerner, 2006). Curre ntly, this state is developing a dual enrollment handbook for school districts and co lleges. One community college is piloting the use of the state-mandated FCAT instead of a college placement test for admission into dual enrollment courses in an effort to reduce the number of tests students need to take.


39 39 Research Setting The research for this study was conduc ted at a multi-campus public research university that has been in existence for over 50 years. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Sc hools (SACS) and is among the top ten largest universities in the nation. With over 1,800 f aculty members, it is also nationally recognized for its numerous research and community efforts. It is most reputable for its research in the treatment of numerous diseases and in t echnological and economical developments. [ ogs/0607/aboutusf.htm] The university has ten colleges and offers undergraduate, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees in over 200 programs. The university’s enrollment exceeds 45,000, with almost 38,000 attending the main campus. Th e undergraduate students make up 77% of the total population w ith a freshman retention rate of 80% for 2006-2007 and a 6-year graduation rate of 49%. The 2006-2007 academ ic year yielded approximately 20,000 applicants for incoming freshmen. Approxima tely 10% of the populations at the main campus (3,797) were college freshmen who entered in the fall, averaging a 3.71 GPA. SAT scores averaged 1148, with a midrange of 1060-1230. Over half of the freshman population (55%) was in the top 20% of their hi gh school class. This institution has 1,685 students in their honors program, with 488 stude nts as incoming freshmen. The freshman class for this institution also consiste d of 12 National Merit Scholars, 5 National Achievement Scholars, and 13 National Hisp anic Scholars. Half of the incoming freshmen lives on-campus. The university attr acts students from over 120 countries and over 30 percent of the student population is African-American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islanders, Native American, or other ethnic ity. There were 20,000 students who applied


40 40 for admission to this university. Approxi mately half were accepted and about 34% actually enrolled, yielding 3,797 new students. It is unclear how much of this population might have had dual enrollment experience. Conclusion In the face of mounting issues that are cer tain to affect our nation, the need for a more educated workforce is evident. Efforts th at facilitate greater access and retention are most valuable in achieving that goal. Accel eration mechanisms such as dual enrollment are one means to that end. Dual enrollment is st ill, to some degree, in an infancy stage in most states and are having to figure out how best to implement these programs given their own resources, mission, and other dyna mics. But seemingly, states are only experiencing rapid growth in these programs despite some very valid concerns such as student readiness, acad emic quality, and funding.


41 41 Chapter 3: Methods Introduction The goal of this study was to provide a richer understa nding of the dual enrollment process by examining students’ involvement in dual enrollment courses and the impact upon both their transition into a stat e university as well as their first-year experiences at the university. Th e researcher’s review of the literature revealed that most dual enrollment courses are taken at comm unity colleges (Windham, 2001), and most qualitative studies involve dual enrollment students who ar e still in high school. For example, qualitative studies on dual enroll ment conducted by Huntley and Schuh (2002) and Burns and Lewis (2000) used responses from students to gain insight to their thoughts, perceptions, and experiences and obt ained results that w ould benefit program administrators, policymakers, and other c onstituents. The study by Huntley and Schuh used nine students from three different hi gh schools, while the study by Burns and Lewis used only six students who were also in high school. Both studies cite a need for more research that will expand the exis ting literature on dual enrollment. This qualitative study made unique contribu tions to the literature because it had a much larger sample size of 21 participants and obtained the percep tions of students who were in a different geographic region than other qualitative studi es on dual enrollment. Another unique quality of the study was that the population for this study had graduated from high school and was attending college fulltime at the main campus of an institution


42 42 in a southern state university system. Sim ilar to the study by Huntley and Schuh and the study by Burns and Lewis, however, the results of this study provided valuable insight for program administrators and generated reco mmendations for practice, based on actual student experiences. This chapter contains the following sections: Research design: describes the appr oach and rationale for the study Research questions: provides a brief explanation of the research questions being used for the study Population: describes base line criteria and th e rationale for the sample and population Instrumentation: describes the instrume nt to be used and addresses issues related to validity and reliability Data collection: thoroughly describes how data will be collected, including procedures, timelines, and safeguard s for protecting participants Data analysis: describes how the data will be analyzed Conclusion: recaps the overal l design of the study Research Design The purpose of this study was to help shape public views of dual enrollment through the perceptions of st udents who have been exposed to the process and to strengthen the knowledge base as it relates to this e ducational phenomenon. The study, which is both descriptive and e xploratory in nature, examined student perceptions of the dual enrollment process with participants who ma triculated to the state university system upon completion of their high school diploma a nd have completed their first semester. Patricia Windham, Associate Vice Chancel lor for Evaluation for the Division of


43 43 Community Colleges and Workforce Education at the Florida Department of Education, indicates that most dual enrollment course s are taken through the community college, but most of these students enroll in a stat e university upon graduation from high school (2001). These students provided valuable in sights through the comparisons they made between their college experien ce while in high school and th eir experience as full-time college students. Qualitative research aims for “descr iption, understanding, and interpretation” (Lichtman, 2006, p. 11). Because little research in the area of education involves the perspectives of the people involved (Siedma n, 2006), this study pr ovided an opportunity for people who make program decisions to hear from those who are affected by the experience and heighten the aw areness of issues and experi ences associated with dual enrollment. The results are expected to have an institutional and a social impact by unveiling information that may improve educat ional practices, set pr iorities for future goals, and perhaps even generate new ideas that will lead to positive outcomes for policymakers, students, and their families. Research Questions Qualitative studies allow for multiple pers pectives (Patton, 2002) and are suitable for research that looks into the complexiti es and processes of systems where there is limited knowledge (Marshall & Rossman, 1999). This study obtained student perceptions about their previous experiences as dual enrollment students and their subsequent experiences as full-time college students. The questions asked in this study were: 1. What are the initial experiences of dual enrollment students?


44 44 2. How does the dual enrollment experience impact the decision of high school graduates to attend college? 3. What comparisons can previous dual enrollment students make between the college experience they had in high school and the subsequent college experience as a full-time college student? Population First-time-in-college (FTIC) freshmen at a large, metropolitan research university were contacted via e-mail inviting them to pa rticipate in the study if they had been involved in dual enrollment courses while they were in high school. To pursue a more positive response rate, this e-mailed invitation from the researcher was forwarded to potential participants through program administrators or faculty members whose names these students recognized because they had already built a rapport w ith them during their first year of college (s ee Appendices A and B). Purposeful sampling was used for this st udy to carefully select 21 students whose experiences were considered information-rich based on two key variables: the extent of their experiences in dual enrollment and the types of courses that were taken. While the target goal was 50 students, a minimum of 20 students was acceptable for the study. In addition to matriculating to the university between and inclusive of summer 2007 and fall 2008 these students had met the state-establishe d guidelines required for participation in dual enrollment during high school, which incl uded having a 3.0 unweighted high school grade point average and passing th e appropriate section of the college placement test (see Appendix F). With respect to the extent of their experiences, a ttention was given to students who have had only one semester of dual enrollment experience as compared to


45 45 students who had two or more semesters of dual enrollment. With a focus on these two variables, other criteria for th e selection of research partic ipants such as age, gender, ethnicity, major, and what high school they attended were not the focus for deciding which students were able to participate. To obtain a broader perspec tive, rather than obtain more homogenous results by using students with a comparable number of courses, the res earcher recruited a sample of students at a major research university w ho have taken a range of dual enrollment courses, including students who have had as few as one course, and those who have had enough dual enrollment courses to nearly sati sfy requirements for an associate’s degree. Students who have enrolled in a class but later droppe d the course were also included as their experiences broadened the diverse pers pectives. An examination of the various types of dual enrollment courses students enrolled in while in high school were considered in an effort to gain knowle dge about different academic experiences. Participants who matriculated to the uni versity between and inclusive of summer 2007 and fall 2008 were eligible for the study to extend the opportunity to FTIC students who were admitted to the university through summer freshmen programs such as Student Support Services (SSS) and the Freshman Summ er Institute (FSI). Participants were sought through the First Y ear Connections program, Honors Program and through University Experience, which is an orienta tion course that is strongly recommended by the university for all freshmen. Students inform ed the researcher of their willingness to participate in the study via e-mail. Upon receipt of this e-mail, the student was tentatively added as a member of the Dual Enrollment Research Group and received an e-mail response that shared information about in formed consent, supplied them with the


46 46 interview questions, and was offered an option to schedule an online chat as an alternate method for participating in the study. Partic ipants were informed of the $10 iTunes or Subway gift card that they would receive fo r participation in th e study. This incentive was only given to students who provided re sponses within the first two weeks of receiving the questions and pr ovided timely responses to foll ow-up probes throughout the remainder of the study. Research participants were informed when all data had been collected and that phase had been closed. In structions for obtaining the iTunes or Subway gift cards were sent by e-mail within 72 hours of the final e-mail. The Dual Enrollment Research Group was hosted as a student organization on the university’s academic portal called Blackboard This space on the portal allows one convenient location on the university network for maintaining documents, communications, and calendars related to the study. This research was conducted using an e-mail address administered by the unive rsity in conjunction with access to Blackboard. Blackboard is used by both facu lty and students for access to a myriad of options including courses, organizations, lib raries, services and resources that are accessible to students and faculty. Guest access ca n also be used to get a minimal preview of courses and organizations. Leaders of student organizations, similar to course instructors, are able to cr eate announcements, add documents, create and maintain a calendar, and are able to communicate with other members via e-mail, discussion boards, and chat sessions. Students also have the capability of submitting assignments, keeping a calendar, and using e-mail through this portal.


47 47 Data Gathering Through qualitative interviewing the resear cher was able to gather information through the experiences of the re search participants. This info rmation was valuable in the study because of its contributions to existi ng literature and, ultimately, of value to legislators, education officials, program administrators, students, and their families. Narrative inquiry is one method used in qualitative research, s poken or written, to “gather, analyze, and interp ret the stories people tell about their lives” (Marshall & Rossman, 1999, p. 120). Cultural and social pa tterns can be observed through narratives and stories as individuals share their lived experience more than they would through case studies (Patton, 2002, p. 115). Although this proc ess is considered time-consuming and is limited by what the participant can recall, it used their perceptions of those experiences to better understand the sociological nature of groups and communities, which for this study referred to that special populat ion of students who have part icipated in a dual enrollment experience. Narrative inquiries can rely on e-mail me ssages and online chat sessions as well as other oral or written forms and are a collaboration between the narrator and the researcher who now takes a more active role in exploring the narrato r’s story and crafting the written documentation. Use of e-mail as a research tool is ga ining acceptance in academe. In fact, Selwyn & Robson (1998) anti cipate the increased usage of electronic methodologies in quantitative and qualitative studies as time progresses. It has the potential to provide speedy and immediate responses or dialogue, participants can complete the survey more comfortably, and response rates for researchers who used email was greater than the more trad itional methods (Selwyn & Robson, 1998).


48 48 E-mails, or e-journals, were used to conduc t interviews using an approach similar to semi-structured interviews, which allowed the process to begin w ith a pre-determined set of questions that can lead to further probing for additional insi ght (see Appendix E). The online chat option was offered as an alte rnate method in case it would facilitate a greater response rate. The standardized questions from the interview protocol facilitated a comparison of responses and gave participants a consistent set of questions to view, yet the ability to use probes to gather deeper in sight provided the resear cher an opportunity to make interviews “more conversational and situa tional” as he or she explored particular details of each participant’ s response (Patton, 2002, p. 347). The questions used in the interviews were centered around the students’ holistic experience in college courses while in high school and their impact on both their transition to college and the completion of their first year as college st udents. Open-ended ques tions were used to build upon and explore participants’ responses to items of interest from the study (Siedman, 2006). The interview questions were written in a language that the audience would understand, was non-directive, and avoi ded posing multiple questions in one item. Items were sequenced in an order that drew the participant into the study by describing current situations that were easy to recall and which were then related to previous experiences. Patton (2002, pgs. 349-351) offers six types of survey questions for use in qualitative studies: Experience and behavior que stions that describe what would occur on a typical day, ask about actions and behaviors; Opinion and values questions that inqui re about beliefs, thoughts, opinions, and desired changes rela ted to an experience;


49 49 Feeling questions that addr ess affective domains relate d to one’s feelings about an experience; Knowledge questions that ascertains one’s knowledge about resources, eligibility factors, rules, and procedures; Sensory questions which ask about what is discussed with others, observed, heard, touched, tasted, and smelled; Background/demographic questions such as age, gender, and educational background. As responses were received, additional que stions or probes were used to go deeper and gain further insight. To maximize the e ffective use of time and communication with participants, a maximum of four probing rounds were used to gather this additional data from students. Clarification or further ela boration was sought through statements such as “ what do you mean when you say …., can you tell me more about that let’s talk about that in more detail can you explain more fully, can y ou give me an example of what you mean by…. or why do you think you felt so ….” When clarification was requested, the researcher was careful in how these statements were phrased to ensu re that participants did not feel as though they we re not able to communicate well (Patton, 2002). Contrast probes were also used to ask about comparisons related to the experience, such as “ what differences did you perceive in the academic expectations of the college classes taken as a high school student compared to those clas ses taken as a full-time college student?” and “how did the teaching styles you observe as a full-time college student compare to those you have observed in dual enrollment classes? Appropriate use of such probes required skill in “knowing what to look for in the interview, listening to what is and isn’t


50 50 said, and being sensitive to th e feedback needs of the pers on being interviewed” (Patton, 2002, p. 374). Pilot interviews were conducted with th ree students who possessed similar criteria as the population of the study to test the eff ectiveness of the proposed questions and the approximate amount of time students would n eed to complete the questions thoroughly. At the researcher’s request, pr ogram directors and advisors th en assisted in the recruiting process by contacting their stude nts who were potential participants via e-mail with a recruitment flyer about the study (Appendix B) As outlined in Appendix C, six weeks was the estimated time needed to initiate cont act with potential participants, exchange questions and responses, conduct follow-up, and close the participants ’ role in the study. However, an additional two weeks was built in to the tentative timeline in the event of unexpected delays. Use of the e-mail survey interview mode and the online chat session gave participants the conve nience of responding at a time and location that was convenient for them. While my review of the lite rature seemed to be limited with respect to details such as recommended timeframes for e-mail surveys, a study by Porter and Whitcomb (2005) suggested that inclusion of a deadline date for closing the survey has the potential to yield gr eater response rates. For studies that utilize Internet or telephone surveys, the IRB Waiver or Alteration of Informed Consent grants the opportunity for the rese archer to conduct the study without the need to obtain signatures from research participants, although the consent form must be provided. Access and use of e-mail or an online chat for the survey required an Internet connection and, as a resu lt, fell within the waiver guidelines. To initiate the research among participants, a le tter explaining the nature of the study and the


51 51 consent form was sent via e-mail (see A ppendices A and C). In order to monitor participation in the study participants confirme d their interest by the end of the first week. Selected participants then received instruc tions on how to complete the survey with a request for initial responses that we re to be sent within two weeks. A gentle reminder was sent at the beginning of week two, along with an attachment of the survey, instructions, and a thank you note for those who had responde d. At the end of the two-week period another reminder was sent to participants who had not responded, with one additional week provided for submitting their responses Due to complications in recruiting, a smaller sample size of 21 students was acceptable. This size still exceeded similar studies that yielded valuable data with only si x or nine students (Huntley & Schuh, 2002; Buchanan, 2006). Using the continuous redesign of questi ons as responses were received, the researcher conducted follow-up w ith participants for further el aboration or clarification as needed on an individual basis (Rubin & Rubin, 2005). The researcher continued to collect data from the participants in the study un til it seemed that a saturation point through the lack of new information was reached and enough valuable data had been collected. The survey process was closed and analyses, which began as responses were received, continued. Once follow-up with participants co ncluded and the last week for the study had passed for all participants to respond, they received a fina l notice that informed them their participation in the surv ey portion of the study had been closed. An anticipated date for availability of the results was provided.


52 52 Instrumentation For qualitative research, the “researcher is the instrume nt” and should describe his or her experience and training related to the study being conducted to enhance credibility (Patton, 2002, p. 14). While obta ining a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees, and completing coursework for a doctoral degree, th e researcher has taken courses related to educational measurement and statistical methods and possesses an understanding of issues related to credibility and trustw orthiness in conducting research. Through the training and experience I received as a pr ofessional educator and counselor, the importance of remaining objective in the dial ogue and interactions of the individuals involved in the proposed study was underst ood and caution was taken to minimize or eliminate any personal bias throughout this process. As the researcher, I take general intere st in the phenomenon of dual enrollment because of my own personal experiences as a first-generation college student who had very little guidance in prepari ng for or pursuing the initial ph ases of college and was very sheltered in my adolescent years. As a resu lt, I have always had a genuine interest in opportunities that will expose young people to positive experiences beyond their immediate surroundings and that will help them develop and recognize their individual gifts and talents. This interest led to my decision to become a business educator, and later a counselor, because of the opportunity to pr ovide instruction that would help prepare students for the “real world” by teaching them about career choices and by equipping them with skills and knowledge that would prep are them for the world of work as well as the option to pursue further education.


53 53 To ensure objectivity so that my own biases are removed in the process, I employed a check-coder who has had identical instruction in the methods for conducting research at the dissertation stage. Similar to the researcher, the check-coder possesses a Master’s Degree in Counselor Education and was also a doctoral student who had completed coursework in the Higher Educa tion Administration progr am. Trustworthiness of the study was enhanced through confirmability or the ability of other researchers to reach similar conclusions based on their analysis of the data. The researcher and the check-coder also exercised caution to be neutral in examining both the positive and negative experiences associated with the res earch of these dual enro llment experiences so that insights were t horough and not biased. Data Collection/Procedures Once the necessary IRB permission was obtaine d to protect the rights of research participants, administrators of programs that take in freshmen students annually, such as the First Year Connections, University E xperience program, the Honors Program, Jenkins Scholars program, Student Support Services, a nd Freshman Summer In stitute assisted the researcher with the initial communication need ed to identify potential participants. These administrators forwarded an e-mail to student s that contained recruiting material about the nature, purpose, and details of the study. Students then contacted the researcher to express interest in the study and provided preliminary information that would assist the researcher in the selection process. Upon the review and selection of students based on the extent of their experiences and the courses they have taken, invited pa rticipants received an informed consent document via e-mail that clearly explained th e purpose and descrip tion of the research


54 54 study and informed them of their rights as it concerns confidentiali ty, anonymity, and the ability to withdraw at any time during the research process (see Appendix D). Potential participants also had an opportunity, through email, to ask questions, clarify details, and select a pseudonym for added security if they chose to. Participants were reminded of the importance of using e-mail accounts to which only they have the password. The researcher maintained incoming and out going e-mail messages for this study in a university e-mail account which was protec ted by a password and was secured on a university server. Once participants for the study had been selected, they were referred to the Dual Enrollment Research Group student organization on Blackboard, where they received the research documents as a word processing docum ent or PDF file. An approach similar to semi-structured interviews wa s used to conduct this study th rough e-journals. As a result of today’s technological advances in both so cial and educational settings, using the ejournal process was very similar to a me thod called blogs, which students use as a “collaborative writing space wher e students share ideas and wo rk together” using a tool whose “open, flexible nature encourages dialog among its disc ussion participants” (Repman et. al., 2005, p. 6). This process also offered convenience th rough the choice of location and the time of day in which pa rticipants responded to the survey. The researcher also had the benefit of being able to focus on anal yzing the results once collected, rather than spendi ng time or money in transcribi ng or in paying transcription fees. Similar to the semi-structu red interview method, the approach used in the study enabled the interviewer to begin with a standa rd set of questions that was asked of each


55 55 interviewee in a consistent manner, but al lowed flexibility to go beyond the initial responses to get more information (Ber g, 1995). Caution was ex ercised to develop questions that yielded clear and informativ e responses from part icipants. Berg (1995) suggests that the prescribed list of questi ons begins with basic, demographic-type questions and leads to more complex que stions as the interview proceeds. Participants sent intervie w responses to the researcher’s e-mail address, which was secured through the univers ity server. A benefit of the e-journaling method for qualitative research was that, along with the interviewer, the inte rviewees also had a record of the responses they sent provided that their e-mail account was configured to retain messages sent from that address. Part icipants were made aware that they may be contacted for further clarificat ion of their responses througho ut the duration of the study. As responses were received and clarity was sought, the interviewe r exercised caution in developing a controlled rappor t with the studen t participants by deferring any opportunities for advice or couns eling to appropriate program s and services that were available at the university. Responses were received via e-mail and a folder for all research documents was created in Microsoft Word for storing and orga nizing the data. File names were created to track multiple contacts with th e participant and the date of each submission. Lichtman (2006) also recommends that the researcher keep a journa l of any thoughts or comments that come to mind as they read through the interview responses that are received. Data Analysis Lichtman (2006) refers to the 3 C’s for data analysis, which are coding, categorizing, and concepts. Using a reductiv e process, the analyses began as the


56 56 researcher started receiving responses. A qua litative software program called Atlas T.I. was used to assist in managing the data received from interviews within and across subgroups as responses are received throughout the study. This software assisted in the organization of selected quot es and other background information from research participants, in addition to facilitating the creation and manipulation of codes and categories for the placement of these quotes. The management and organization of this data contributed to the results that woul d be reported in Chapters 4 and 5. Data were analyzed continuously as it was collected, and the constant comparative method was used to develop them es, patterns, and trends. Codes were not pre-determined but occurred as documents were analyzed. As new interviews were read, the data was dissected using previous code s or by adding new ones until all interviews were coded. The data were examined within and across interviews for both common and unique themes. In the original plan for anal yses, member checking was to be used to establish trustworthiness and increase descript ive validity in the results, as recommended by Jones, Torres, & Arminio (2006). With the approval of the dissertation committee member checking was omitted as a result of pr olonged recruiting efforts, as described in Chapter 4, which led to conflicts with semester schedules for the students who participated in the study. However, use of th is method can bring increased validity to the study if replicated. Following several of the strategies recommended by Oliver (2004), data was selected for analysis if they represented i ssues that were raised by all interviewees, concurs with the findings of other research, or revealed some unique aspects of interest that seemed necessary to hi ghlight (p. 142). The researcher also chose to identify


57 57 participants whose responses were valuable to the findings of the study and should be included because of the rich detail provi ded. Analyses were conducted by both the researcher and a check-coder to help reduce bias and increase credibility. In this process, also referred to as triangulation, both partie s analyzed the same data independently and then compared their findings (Patton, 2002). Through discussion and collaboration, mutual themes were agreed upon, and, wh en disagreements still existed, further discussion was continued until a mutual decisi on was reached. In this phase, quotes were also identified that validated the concepts or themes that were chosen and added richness to the results. For participants who did not continue through the conclusion of the study, the data provided up to the point of their de parture was analyzed with the other responses of the study. Conclusion Chapter 3 summarizes the methods that were used for the study, which was a qualitative study that used e-journaling to el icit descriptive respons es from students who had college experience as stude nts in dual enrollment program s and matriculated to fulltime students in college. Details of the st udy regarding the select ed population of fifty first-time-in-college (FTIC) students from a large, metropolitan research university through purposeful sampling, and the data collection and anal yses phases are discussed. Students who were just beginni ng their matriculation as full -time college students were expected to produce informative and valuable assessments of their “college” experiences while in high school and later on in college at the time of the study. In addition, precautions that were taken to protect the inte grity of the study and ethical considerations that might have impacted the proces s were described in this chapter.


58 58 Chapter 4: Results Introduction This chapter describes the research samp le used in the study, explains the process used in conducting the research, and reports the findings of the data collected through the survey protocol used for the qualitative st udy. The purpose of the study was to add to the existing literature base regarding dual enroll ment by collecting data on the perceptions of students who have transitioned to the unive rsity setting after having experienced dual enrollment. To accomplish this goal, particip ants responded to survey questions about how they became aware of dual enrollment, made comparisons about teaching styles, assessed relationships among students and t eachers, and observed differences in academic expectations (Appendix E). The series of survey questions were designed to answer the following three research questions: 1. What are the initial experiences of dual enrollment students? 2. How does the dual enrollment experience impact the decision of high school graduates to attend college? 3. What comparisons can previous dual enrollment students make between the college experience they had in high school and the subsequent college experience as a full-time college student? Participants used e-mail to provide basic demographic information, submit unofficial transcripts of their collegiate coursework, and responded to 15 survey


59 59 questions that would provide perspectives about the three resear ch questions (Appendix E). In return, participants r eceived gift cards online via email for their contributions to the study. As the data were collected from participants, the researcher read their responses for possible follow-up questions a nd to look for any recurring themes that might exist. After a small section of data was used to initiate the coding process, themes and concepts were developed and refined as coding continued with the remaining data. Research Sample Initially, a total of six weeks was estima ted for recruiting, data collection, and follow-up questions. Throughout th e recruiting process students expressed an interest in the study. They would answer a few basic quest ions that would inform me of how they heard about the study, when they matriculated to the university, and a brief statement about their dual enrollment experience. They were also instructed to review the letter of invitation and informed consent. Upon their acknowledgement of reading and understanding these two documents, they w ould be added to the Dual Enrollment Research Group as a research participant. As a result of these effort s twenty-one students fully participated in the study by subm itting the required documents including an unofficial transcript, dual enrollment course history (see Appendix E), and their survey responses. Because two independent recruiting cycl es became necessary to achieve the minimum sample, this phase ultimately spanne d a period of 4 months. The initial plan included two weeks of recrui ting through program directors and advisors of student support programs that work primarily with first-year and second-year students. The director would forward an e-mail from the rese archer to their adviso rs, who would in turn


60 60 send this e-mail to all 175 students. This method was chosen so that students would receive the e-mail from someone whose name they would recognize. Students would then review the information and determine if th ey were eligible to participate. Three advertisements for the research opportunity we re also placed in the university’s electronic newsletter over a five-week period, which is made available online and e-mailed to subscribers weekly. This initial process resu lted in 15 students who fully participated in the study. A second recruiting phase was initiated a month later, after making modifications that received IRB approval. These cha nges included expanding the eligibility requirements to include student s who matriculated to the university in Summer and Fall of 2008. The gift card for partic ipation in the study was changed to a restaurant that is available on campus, recognizing that a gift card for food might prove to be more appealing than an iTunes gift card that is pr imarily used for entertainment. Directors of academic advisors in various colleges thr oughout the university were contacted and had their advisors forward information about th e research opportunity via e-mail to their students. Through this additional recruiting, th ere were six students who also completed the study. Demographics The sample included 18 female and thr ee male students. The ethnic composition of this sample was 14 Caucasian/white, thr ee African American/blacks, one Asian, one Hispanic, and two who were multi-racial. St udents reported taking courses through dual enrollment as early as age 15, although most students began at age 17 when they were seniors ( see Table 1)


61 61 Table 1. Number of Participants by Age of 1st Dual Enrollment Course, Gender & Ethnicity As Figure 1 depicts below, involvement in dual enrollment ranged from one to 26 courses over a maximum of eight semesters. A total of 181 dual enrollment courses were taken by this population between 2004 and 2008. This range of courses exists for students who matriculated to the unive rsity in 2007 and star ted dual enrollment courses in their ninth grade year. Figure 1 Participant Age Of 1st Dual Enrollment Course, Number of Classes & Terms 0 5 10 15 20 25 30W, M W, F W, F W, F H, F W, F AA, F A, F W, F W, F W, M W, F M, F M, M W, F W, F W, F AA, F W, F AA, F W, F age @ 1st DE # of classes # of terms 1 Gender Codes: M = male, F = female 2 Ethnicity Codes: W = White, AA = African Am erican, H=Hispanic, A = Asian, M = Multiracial Of the 181 courses taken by participants in this study 36 dual enrollment courses were taken at a regular high school, 86 were taken at a community college, 30 were taken at a college preparatory high school, 29 courses were taken at a college or university. AGE OF FIRST DUAL ENROLLMENT COURSE Age 14 Age 15 Age 16 Age 17 Ethnicity Male FemaleMaleFemaleMaleFemaleMale Female White/ Caucasian 1 0 0 4 1 2 0 6 14 Black/AA 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 3 Hispanic/Latino 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 Asian 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 Multi-racial 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 TOTAL 1 0 0 5 1 4 1 9 21


62 62 Concerning the grades that we re earned, 105 were As, 46 were Bs, 16 were Cs, five were Ds, two were Fs, two were an S for satisfact ory grades, and five did not report their S/U grades for science labs (s ee Table 2 ). Educational Background To gain a broader perspectiv e of the educational experien ces of the participants in the study, several questions were posed to obt ain information about their backgrounds in certain subjects and involvement in other acc eleration mechanisms. All students reported an intended major, including Mass Communications, Psychology, Biomedical Science/Pre-Medicine, Geology, and Internati onal Business. Many of the students took foreign language and either honors or advan ced-level English and Math courses. Some went on to take college-level English and Math that would count as elective credit in high school. Acceleration Mechanisms Eight students had been involved in both honors and AP courses, one student had been in both IB and AP courses, nine reporte d being in either honors or AP classes, and one student indicated that these programs di d not exist at his ho meschool. One student who also had AP and honors classes favored dual enrollment the most. She enjoyed the class discussions, felt that she l earned at a higher level, and didn’t feel that she was being taught to a test as perceived of the AP courses she had taken. Research Results Three research questions guided the protocol developed for use as survey questions via email. Through these questions, six major them es were identified: initial experiences, transitional impact, dual enrollment/univers ity comparisons, student relationships,


63 63 Table 2. Location & Performance Outcomes Of Dual Enroll ment Courses Taken By Research Participants High School Letter Grades Community College Letter Grades Collegiate H S Letter Grades College/University Letter Grades TOTALS CONTENT AREA A B C A B C D F NG A B C A B S COMMUNICATIONS (ENC, LIT, CRW, SPC, ENL, LIT) 11 5 1 8 7 1 0 0 0 2 0 2 4 0 0 41 MATH (MAC, STA) 4 2 0 0 6 3 2 1 0 1 1 1 3 2 0 26 SOC SCI (PSY, SYG, DEP POS) 3 1 0 10 2 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 21 HISTORY (AMH) 2 0 0 3 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 12 SCIENCE (BSC, AST, CHM, OCB, PHY) 0 0 0 5 3 2 0 0 5 5 1 2 2 0 0 25 HUMANITIES (HUM, REL, PHI, THE) 0 0 0 2 2 1 0 1 0 6 1 0 2 1 0 16 FRN LANG (SPN, JPN) 0 0 0 2 3 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 1 2 12 ELECTIVES (SLS, REA, MAT, ECO, CGS, EST, BUL, CJL, ACG, GEB, EDF, MAN, HSC) 7 0 0 6 2 2 1 0 0 1 1 0 6 2 0 28 TOTALS 27 8 1 36 28 10 5 2 5 21 4 5 21 6 2 181


64 64 university experiences, and refl ective observations. Ot her observations by students that were not incorporated into the previously mentioned themes became the final theme that emerged from the results. Four of the six th emes had factors that made up its category, developed primarily through survey questions. Initial Experiences Several factors resulted from student re sponses to questions about their dual enrollment experience. These categories included how they became aware of the opportunity to participate in dual enrollment, their reasons for participating, and whether orientation was a requirement be fore taking classes. There were also responses related to the location and environment of dual enrollment courses. Awareness To begin learning about participan ts’ initial experiences with dual enrollment, the first question was intended to determine how they learned about the dual enrollment program. Eleven of the subject s (52%) learned of dual enrollment through their high school counselor, eith er in a one-on-one session or in a school assembly. For two of these participants, it wa s a common part of their curricu lum as they were attending a college preparatory high school. Three subjects (14%) learned of the opportunity through their friends who were taking classes, and five (24%) became aware of dual enrollment through school sources such as the honors program, morning announcements, or a teacher. Two of the stude nts (10%) learned a bout dual enrollment through a flyer that was sent in the mail or through parents w ho worked at a high school or college. Reasons There was a variety of reasons why st udents chose to participate in dual enrollment classes and sixteen participants offered more than one reason. Twelve of the


65 65 21 (57%) interviewees stated one reason th ey took these classes was to seize the opportunity to save money since tuition and books were free. One-third of this sample also wanted to get a feel of what college w ould be like, obtain college credit, and earn a higher GPA in high school. Some wanted a greater challenge than what they were experiencing in high school, while others sei zed the opportunity to get a head start on the college experience or to shorten their time in college. Additional reasons for participating in the program included parental influence, a voiding high school classe s, and desiring to try new things. One student par ticipated in dual enrollment because of the availability of other courses, as he was able to take two c ourses in Japanese as a foreign language during the summer. One student appreciated having a more flexible schedule, by having classes that were during the morning, at the end of the school day, on th e weekend, and online. Lastly, one student spoke with an advisor at the university sh e wanted to attend in another state after graduation and was told that earning an A.A. degree upon high school graduation would look great on her transcripts. Orientation Information on this issue was the result of one student’s response, which prompted a follow-up question to roughly nine of the participants. Of those who were asked, only one student reported that she had to attend an orientation at high school as well as at the college. The other eight students indicated that they did not attend college orientations when participating in dual enrollment. It was recommended in some cases, but students with hectic schedules as a result of their involvement in school activities chose not to fo llow this recommendation. Location Dual enrollment programs can be offered in high schools, community colleges, state colleges, and universities. In this study six subjects (29%) had dual


66 66 enrollment classes at their high school, eight of them (38%) took courses at the community college, one (4%) only took courses at the university, a nd another six (29%) had courses at their high sc hool and a community college. Courses on the high school campus were convenient, but three students (14%) reported that these were not as meaningful as courses taken on the college campus. A few comment s about the location of the classes as compared to the overall experience are stated as follows: “I had classes both at my high school and at the local community college. While it was very convenient to take the cla sses at my school, the course I took at the college was a lot more valuable. The class I took at the college allowed me to be in a real college setting with a professor and even student s in their 50s. It was an invaluable part of my transition to [university ] because I already knew what to expect and was used to being in a college class.” “Half of my dual enrollment courses were available at the school, while the other were at the community college. I guess you could say it isn’t fun to drive to them, but how can you complain when you are getting so much education out of the way and mentally preparing yourself for the most impor tant education? It seems worth the drive and gas to me.” “In high school, it wasn’t so bad. But I really liked the ones at [community college]. Because it gave me more in depth a nd also meet newer people. I really liked the ones at [community college] bette r than the ones at my high school. “In the HS setting and community colle ge setting, it was different. But the community college setting was really the more ideal one.”


67 67 The location of colleges where students t ook courses away from their high school ranged from a five-minute walk from their high school up to a half -hour commute, which was considered convenient for the most part Five students reported difficult commutes due to distance, traffic, etc. which cut into time for studying and social networking. Aside from that inconvenience, it seemed to be a va lue-added experience to take courses in an actual college setting. Environment Recognizing that many elements contribute to the overall environment in a dual enrollment classroom, st udents were asked questions with regard to academic expectations as well as both stude nt and teacher interactions. Most students (n = 13, 62%) reported that the academic e xpectations were the same, while eight students (38%) perceived a diffe rence in what was expected of them between the two college settings. These differences included an increased amount of work, a faster pace of instruction, and more stringent grading pract ices. Most students (n=20, 95%) reported positive interactions with professors and student s. Professors in this setting were often friendly, and more available than what these students experienced la ter in the university setting. They were able to drop in to see professors during office hours and one even had a cell phone number for her instru ctor, while at the university they often have to make an appointment or communicate via e-mail. The one student who had been home-schooled had taken courses at the community college and at the university. He reported mixed feelings that were subject to each instructor and the students in th at class environment. Student interactions While there are a few reports of students who encountered classmates that were not very serious, 19 of the students (90%) reported positive interactions with classmat es. One student, who had been in honors, AP, and dual


68 68 enrollment classes, found the overall envir onment of her dual enrollment classes to be “quite pleasant. It was comforting in high sc hool to be with students who cared as much about learning as I did. Our time was spent l earning and sharing ideas with each other in a very mature environment.” Several reports indicated that people were friendly, hardworking, and getting along well. One student reported that she enj oyed the diversity in age when she was in class with “nontraditional students who had come back to get either their first degree or expand upon what they already possessed,” and another thought she f it in pretty well, despite being years younger than her fellow cl assmates. “Many of them were much older than me and more mature,” was another re sponse by a student w ho found her classmates to be nice and accepting. Another student who had taken courses among a diverse age group was accustomed to always being around adults so it was natural for her. One student even made the comp arison about how, as a full-time college student, she has experienced students who “talk while the prof essor is speaking, go online with laptops, and show an overall lack of interest in the course,” which would have never happened among the students she took dual enrollment courses with. While the majority of reports about student interactions was fairly positive, there were also indications of bei ng around students who might not have been as appreciative of the experience. One person shared how he had students who were “immature and just had an attitude of just wanting to get it ove r and done with.” Another gentleman shared his disgust with fellow classmates who “didn’ t do the work with all their heart and then got upset over grades.” He i ndicated that this occurred more at the community college than when he took dual enrollment at the university.


69 69 Campus resources Another follow-up question that was asked of about eight or nine students was regarding their use of cam pus resources outside of the dual enrollment classroom. Five of the students (24%) descri bed their use of the college library for research or studying with friends. Four of them (19%) looked to their high schools for other resources such as student organizations and advisors. Some students were required to meet with a college advisor before regist ration, while others were only allowed to meet with their high school counselors to plan courses for the next term. Three students described their use of all of the same res ources as regular coll ege students and their ability to fit in without ot hers having the knowledge that they were a dual-enrollment student. A couple of students shared their struggles utilizing college tutoring due to their schedules, which might be a consideration for students who wish to participate in dual enrollment, while remaining active in high school activities. One student shared her experience as follows: “I sought out tutoring at the college. It was a small room with three to four people who would answer math questions. It was useful, but very hard to attend the hours since I did have high school cla sses as well. I did not have too many problems juggling dual enrollment and st aying active at my high school. There were a few times that I had to prioritize wh at I was going to do such as play at the high school volleyball game or attend my college class. I talked to my coach though beforehand and tried to schedule my classes around so I only missed two games and he knew beforehand. Not to say he didn’t get upset, but he did know. I was also involved in clubs at my hi gh school and organizing events. I had no


70 70 problems with these since I would work out times that most people could attend. I feel that the events at high school tho ugh kept me from participating in clubs on the college campus.” Another student had a similar problem when she sought alternatives for getting help with a math class after attempts with her instructor were unsuccessful. She shared: “There is only one course I wish would have had a different outcome. I took a math class as a dual-enrollment st udent, and my teacher did not understand how to help me. The entire course was ba sed on the use of a graphing calculator which I had never used prior to that cour se. I talked to the teacher numerous times about it, went to her office hours, and as ked to be taught how to do it on paper. She would only teach me on the calculat or, which I did not understand. I had a tutor for a little while, but I was involved in many other things in my high school, so I did not get as much help as I neede d. Needless to say, this is the class that I lost my 4.0 GPA.” These experiences suggest that studen ts who are taking dual enrollment or considering dual enrollment will need to be re silient, and perhaps more flexible, in their ability to seek out assistance as needed. If they are actively involved with campus activities or work, students may have to make difficult decisions about where they should direct their energies based on what they value most and what will be most critical at the time. For students who may be relying on colle ge scholarship opportuni ties as a result of their athletic or extracurricu lar involvement or may be experiencing financial challenges and need to work, very wise and conscien tious planning would pr ecede their pursuit of the college-level experience during high school.


71 71 Transitional Impact The second theme, transitional impact, wa s derived from the research question: “ How did the dual enrollment experience im pact your decision to attend college?” The factors that led to this theme resulted from survey questions that asked whether dual enrollment had any impact on the participan t’s decision to attend college. This question yielded 16 negative responses (76%), only b ecause attending college was already a part of their future plans. Most of these studen ts saw dual enrollment as an opportunity to prepare for an experience that was already a planned part of their future. Only three of these participants also stated that the experi ence at the university was quite different from what they had experienced in dual enrollmen t courses at their high school or community college. One student stated that it helped her determine where she wanted to go to college, which was a preference to attend the university rather than remain at the community college. The five students who responded with ecstatic positivism reported that they were more confident, comfortabl e, prepared, and aware of what was to be expected in the college setting. Comments in regards to experiences that led to a neutral or positive transition represent this theme. Impact on college decision. When asked if participa tion in dual enrollment impacted their decision to go to college, students responded unanimously that it did not, primarily because these students had college pl anned as a part of the future prior to participating in the program. Some offered brief reasons such as “ I would have attended college either way,” or “I knew before dual enrollment that I planned to go to college .” The experience may have just given them more confidence about their decision or


72 72 reduced some of the mystery about what to expect. Several inte resting responses are listed below: “No because I was very sure that I was going to college however, it made me more confident I could definitely achieve my goals and college wasn’t going to be too hard I just needed to focus.” “I was going to go to college if I did dual enrollment or not. It just gave me the college experience before I graduated high school.” “I was planning to go to college de finitely after high school. The dual enrollment program did allow me to start my education in college earlier and save my family money.” “No, I always planned on attending co llege and dual-enrollment just helped prepare me for the transition.” “No, because I always knew I wanted to attend college after graduation. I did dual enrollment as a way to better prepare me for college.” Participating in dual enrollment did help one student go a step beyond deciding to go to college, but also to cl arify whether she wanted to at tend a community college or go to a major university. She responded, “ I was planning on going to college after graduation anyway, but I think dual-enrollment affected my decision of where to go to college. It made me not want to stay at a community college, but to experience a university.” Another student realized that she saved a semester of college by participating in dual enrollment. She stated, “ It didn’t really affect my de cision by it did give me a head start. I entered college with 14 dual en rollment credits and 12 hours is a fulltime schedule.”


73 73 Neutral transitions When asked questions about their transitions, none of the students reported a negative transition to the university. A few students (n=3, 14%) shared statements that were considered neut ral, and the majority of the responses were positive. Neutral statements were considered to be those responses where students did not clearly indicate a positive or negative response about the impact of dual enrollment on their transition. These three st udents reported that dual enro llment was much easier than what they experienced at the university or that it was a huge change. For example, one student indicated “ I do not feel that dual enrollment a ffected my transition to college, because it was still a completely different experience from dual enrollment classes.” Another student states, “ No, coming from a rigorous high school program, the college transition was not difficult.” Other comments students shar ed spoke to differences students can still expect despite their dual enrollment experiences: “It affected my transition because of th e material covered. The texts in college are more in depth and more material is cove red in a short period of time. In high school, you get a full school year to complete a cour se but dual enrollment and college classes are semester long classes but th e same amount of material.” “Really if I were to stay at [college] I would say yes but I went to a completely different school with a different environment so it was a huge change.” “Dual enrollment did not really prepare me for coming to a university. It only prepared me with staying or ganized and learning how to budget my time with college courses. As for coming to a university, it was a completely different experience. I had to learn how to interact with other students and teachers differently. Teachers now are not always able to stay thirty mi nutes after class to answer ques tions, but require you to go to


74 74 office hours. During dual enrollment, I used to stay after and talk to the teachers about many things and they were open in sharing th eir knowledge. At the uni versity, I feel like it is a game to ask the right question in order to find the answer you are seeking.” The perspectives of these students suggest that the differences they experienced were due to the changes in location they expe rienced. If they took courses at their high school or community college, there was still some transitions they had to adjust to when matriculating to a university. Dual enrollment would seem to be a stepping stone that would prepare students for some, if not all, aspects of the transition from high school to the university. Positive transition In most cases (n=18, 86%), students had positive things to say about their transition to the university from their high school and dual enrollment experience. Many students (n=17, 81%) were glad that they were able to demystify some of the experience prior to starting at the unive rsity and felt they knew what to expect. One student felt more prepared to handle the level of freedom that is av ailable at the college level. Several students echoed comments similar to the following quote: “I did not have to take challenging courses and have to adapt to “college life” at the same time. It avoided stress I know some of my peers had.” Other comments were: “Yes, I was fully prepared for college when I came in. it was not nearly the culture shock that many stude nts experience when they first get to college. I was already accustomed to my surroundings so I could just focus on school.” “It has positively influenced my tr ansition from high school to college. I feel I was much better prepared for college after having taken dual enrollment than if I had just taken honors or normal classes.”


75 75 A number of students were more specifi c regarding things that were positive about their transition. Some attributed their knowledge of processes and procedures as a common reason for this. One student stated, “I have been more aware of guidelines and processes to get things done than regular first year stude nts may not be aware of. For example, getting registered for classes, who I need to speak to when I have an issue and I knew where to get free tuto ring. I feel that I had a heads up on the average college student.” Another student who had similar t houghts had these things to say: “I really enjoyed the atmosphere at [the university ] and I learned many good lessons regarding things like OASIS and having to register for cl asses by yourself, as I had to overcome a few hurdles along the way. Having knowledge about the way the registration, class scheduling and financial aid wo rked, made my first offici al college semester seem habitual.” Another reason many students felt they had a positive transition was because they were able to build a greater comfort level w ith the academic environment that they would be confronted with upon their transition. Ther e were quite a few unique statements that spoke to the effect that the experience had on students’ c onfidence in their ability to handle the workload, participate more in cl ass, and communicate more effectively with their professors. The points below highlight numerous comments that were expressed: “I became more confident about the wo rkload. I did not hesitate to speak out in class once I became a full time student at the University. I was diligent in keeping contact with my professors wh en I needed help. I was much more excited about going to school. My greatest fear was that college wo rk would be too difficult for me, but once I realized that all I had to do was apply myself, I knew I could do it. If I had not


76 76 participated in dual enrollment I would have walked into college a full time student without a clue. I would have doubted myself I would have been uneasy all the time, which would only make my tran sition that much harder.” “Yes. Knowing how to relate to professors and manage the workload were things I had already been exposed to duri ng dual-enrollment and so they was a couple less things that were brand new in college.” “The college courses I took in hi gh school GREATLY prepared me for being a full-time student. It abso lutely scares me that some kids come to college with no knowledge whatsoever of how the classes will be the difficulty level, etc. The classes I am in now directly correlate to the ones I took in high school and I had no “initial shock” from first coming here.” “YES! YES! I can’t stress enough, as I will say again, how vital and essential dual enrollment has been on my education. I came to college fully aware and prepared and felt comfortable going to classes. I knew the level of work expected of me and I knew I had the adequate knowledge.” One student who had taken courses at the high school and the local community college encountered some difficulties that le d to a one-year delay in his transition to college after graduating from high school. Desp ite those obstacles, he had this to say about how dual enrollment im pacted his transition: “Yes it has definitely. . That[‘s] what helped me [have the] mo tivation to fight to get into college. It was a one-year battle and it was a pure struggle. But at least th e motivation and desire to never give up persisted and it came through. Taking college cl asses reminded me that I can be able to go to college…”


77 77 Dual Enrollment/Uni versity Comparisons The third theme, Dual Enrollment/Univers ity comparisons, was a result of the research question: “What comparisons woul d you make between the college experience you had as a high school student and the college experience y ou are having now as a fulltime college student? Categorie s that emerged from responses to survey questions associated with this theme included: class size, teacher contact, teaching styles, and course workload. Class size All students made reference to the difference in class size in their dual enrollment class, whether at the high school or community college, and the class they experienced once they transitioned to the university. Once they matriculated to the university, classes were at least double or triple the size they were accustomed to previously. As several students are quoted here, this drastic increase in class size was often associated with the diffi culties of having a be tter rapport with th eir professors and their peers. “The only difference is the class size. In high school, there were 25 or so students at the most but here at [the university] I have a class of 350, about 150, and another with 200 students. Therefore the one -on-one relationship with the teacher is harder to establish. Other than that, the c oursework is about the same. The information was covered as if it were a course given on the campus, so my transition was much easier.” “The classes were much smaller duri ng dual-enrollment and so most of my teachers knew my face if not my name. Here, a lot of classes I’ve taken have had 100+ students, making it slightly difficult to know every student by name. But the classes at


78 78 [the university] that have had a number closer to 30 have always made an effort to be available in and out of class.” “Yes, the class sizes at [the university] were about 3 times the size of my dual enrollment classes.” “In dual enrollment since we were such a small group, the professors knew each and every one compared to now where only my professors in Russian and Composition know me and the rest I’m just a number on the roster.” “At [the college] the classes were much smaller than my lecture classes now. It’s not necessarily that the teacher knew you any better it was just a smaller class.” “Dual enrollment is definitely more pe rsonal due to the smaller class sizes. They understand that this is a transition pro cess; therefore they may be a little more lenient on the rules. Here at [the universit y], it is the student’s responsibility to know their professors on a personal level.” These comments consistently reflected that students experienced a drastic change in the class size they experienced at the unive rsity, which seemed quite different from the smaller classes they had enjoyed in their dual enrollment settings. Teacher contact Students consistently reported cl oser ties with dual enrollment educators rather than the university profe ssors they had. They used words such as “intimate, personal, accessible, friendly, and helpful” to describe the characteristics of their previous college instructors. A few detailed responses below are more telling of how students perceived differences in dual enrollm ent professors, who were most often from their high school or community college, as compared to their current professors:


79 79 “While I was dual enrolled the relations hips were much more intimate. It was easy to reach the instructor and he or she would learn your name. At the University it’s not as easy to sit with the instructor face to face. Unless they have office hours an appointment would have to be made, but ultima tely the best way to contact them is viaemail.” “I feel that the teacher-student relati onship in dual enrollment courses is a little bit more personal. I felt more connected with my teachers in those courses because of the smaller class sizes and th erefore felt more productive and more at ease. It is a little hard to be just another face in a class full of 350+ kids and I don’t feel as prepared when tests come around.” “For HS/College, I was sorta close to them. But not as I really wanted to be. Though only like 1 was cari ng enough the other really didn’t. As for the one in college, it was ok. We got to talk here and there. And was helpful. Now for [the university], not really. Though 2 of the profe ssors I know because I took the same classes my mother did. So it was like a bonus in a way. Though in general, I really don’t have any relationships of a more academic sort anyway. Big downfall.” “Here my professors know me by a num ber not by my name. There is a lack of communication, I send an email and al most never get a response. And if I go to office hours I better have questions or it’ s a waste of time. There is no personal connection with professors at th e university, it could be the f act that I’m just one student in a sea of faces.” Perspectives such as thes e suggest that if students choose to matriculate to a university, rather than remain at a community college, they can expect differences in


80 80 class size and teacher contact. They may face being in much larger class sizes at the university than they had in th eir dual enrollment courses at the high school or community college. As a result, having hundreds of students in a class instead of twenty or thirty, will likely lead to differences in how st udents can expect to learn in class and communicate with their professors. Teaching style Students made comparisons about the different teaching styles they were exposed to in each setting. The responses in this area were a bit mixed but, in general, students saw dual enrollment as a gent le segue into the academic expectations of the college experience. “Before being a full-time student, I had no idea what a lecture class was like and coming here I have b een introduced to that class setting. Dual-enrollment was a typical high school class sett ing, with the difference only being the college class.” “Most instructors at the University lecture for an hour or so, but while I was dual enrolled there was often student partic ipation during lectures; not just, "raise your hand if you have a question.” “I feel that the classes I took while I was dual-enrolling were a little bit more relaxed in nature; my professors were a little more flexible and approachable. It felt like the classes were more of a preparation fo r other classes, wherea s at [the university], the classes I’m taking are directly related to my area of study and more concentrated. I haven’t seen a big difference in workload though..” “The workload was definitely more intense, and the professors at the community college are more available to wo rk with you. It feels more like I'm teaching


81 81 myself the material now and the professors are just instructing my on how to do that, rather than actually teach ing me themselves.” “The teaching styles as a dual-enrollm ent student were focused on not only the class, but other pieces of knowledge that were useful not necessarily relevant. For example, in one of my science courses we had a project to look up what Chinese year it was, the year of the pig. The classes as a full time student are based solely on the information that we need to know in order to pass the class. They do not care what other classes want you to know or any outside knowledge.” “Yes, the professors were more strict in format and expectations such as having a syllabus. Class size was bigger than some of my high school classes “The styles were pretty much the same, lecture, lecture, lecture.” “At my community college my professors seems to have more extra credit opportunities compared to full time. T eaching in general is the same.” “Basically if a student is in the program that I was in; they should be treated like a college student not as if they were still in high school. It just made the transition harder because you gain these assu mptions that college courses are ran like high school classes.” “At the community college where my dual enrollment took place the professors went as slow as the class neede d. At [the university] the professors work at their own pace not caring if the students gras ped the concept or copied everything off of the PowerPoint slide. I would say the teach ing styles at the community college were better than they are at [the university], but I think that goe s back to the fact that the professors at [the university] don’t seem like they really want to be there.


82 82 Community college professors and high school teachers who taught dual enrollment were described as less challengi ng than university profe ssors, more lenient. They seemed to be more attentive to indivi dual students in this setting, as one student indicates, and were alleged to “baby” stude nts more. Five students made statements indicating that university profe ssors treated people as adults, expected students to seek out help as they needed to, often taught at a faster pace, and relied less on class participation and discussion. One student expressed her reflections by saying: “The teacher relationships were diff erent between high school and co llege classes. Teachers in high school had more control over what and how I did things. College professors told me what was required and needed to succeed. It was up to me to get the job done whereas high school teachers reminded for homewo rk and tests more than in college.” Course Workload Students shared interesting pers pectives about the differences in courseloads and expectations between the two educational settings. While most students appreciated the role of dual enroll ment in preparing them for the full-time college experience, a few did express concern th at it was a bit easier than the courses they have taken since attending th e university, where courses were described as being much harder, intensive, or difficult compared to what they had experienced before. A few remarks from this category were stated as follows: “I do notice a difference in what is expected of me in my classes now compared to then, but I am also in higher le vel classes and in my major-specific classes. So, I can’t say that it is the instructor more than the clas ses themselves. Also, certain instructors expect more from you than others and I have had some of both during both dual-enrollment and full-time.”


83 83 “I really have not noticed much of a difference. The only thing would be that at [the university] ther e is a lot of supplemental mate rial, such as online homework and quizzes.” “Some of my courses at [the univers ity] are quite a bit more difficult and professors expect a lot more out of you and aren’t always on you to do your work. But on the other hand there are some easier classes at [the univers ity] that are nothing compared to dual enrollment courses. But overall I woul d have to say dual enrollment courses were somewhat easier.” “The college classes I took as dual en rollment were too easy, professors allowed us to take open note exams so, in my opinion, we really did not get the chance to learn the material as well as I would have lik ed. My course load now is more serious and I actually am learning the ma terial and studying for test s (which are not open book)” “Participating in dual enrollment did not really prepare [me] for regular college classes, because I think that they lightened up the material for us high school students and did not really expos e us to the college environm ent. Nonetheless, I enjoyed taking the dual enrollment classes and earning college credit.” If there were one student’s response th at might summarize much of the feedback received when comparing the dual enrollment setting with the univers ity, it would be the following quote: “[The university] has so much more to offer than [the community college] does. At [the community college] there isn’ t really much to do. You just get there, go to class, and leave. At [the university] we have lots of ways to get involved. It is definitely easier to make friends at [the university]. Although, this may be an


84 84 unfair statement since I was older and more confident when I came here. Nevertheless, one definitely gets more of the college experience at [the university] while [the community college] is more scholastically focused. I would also say that the academic expectations are signifi cantly higher at [the university]. As a community college, [the community college] gets a lot of students that for whatever reason were either unable or unwilling to attend a major university. Therefore, their academic standards refl ect the level of those who are enrolled there.” Student Relationships Of the 21 participants, only three of them reported that the student relationships they experienced in dual enrollment were similar to those they experienced at the university level. One unique response by a student states, “Obviously, it’s easier to be closer to people while taking dual enrollmen t courses in high school because you tend to be in the courses with a multitude of people you know. But I also have classes here as a full-time student where I know my close frie nds and always have people to study with. I think it’s pretty much the same.” Most students (n=13, 62%) indicate that in dual enrollment they were among friends from high school who might have taken classes along with them, but at the university it ma y be harder because they’re among hundreds of students in each class. A few comments from students who shared this experience: “In dual enrollment, all the students knew each other and some were actually a group of close friends taking the class. Here at [the university], in th e large lecture classes you’re lucky if you see the same student twic e and relationships are more individual.”


85 85 “Dual enrollmentAll of us had been in classes toge ther since freshman year because we were in honors together then and then went to dual enrollment. Some of us even knew each other from elementary or middle school so we have very close relationships. [The university] There is so many students here and so many in each course that it is sometimes hard to get to know your classmates. In general education classes sometimes you’ll know 2 or 3 people at most in a 300 person class so student relationships are not as intimate as high school.” “In dual enrollment, you’re taking cla sses with students you have known for years. You are more likely to see them around a high school campus. Here at [the university], students must try ha rder to form relationships w ith students. With large size classes you might meet someone new every day and you are less likely to see these people outside of class.” One student reported a different experien ce in taking classes at the community college from other participants. She stated “At my community college it was just like high school, when walking from one class to the next I would see at least 20 people I knew and stop and have short c onversations and make plans fo r lunch or the weekend. In class I would know almost, if not everyone in the class.” Ho wever, for most of the 13 students who took courses at the community college, they were usually among students of diverse ages. Although these classes we re much smaller, where developing a bond academically might have been more feasible, st udents didn’t seem to bond with others as much due to the variety in ages. Once these students were at the university as full-time college students the classes th ese students had were filled with hundreds of classmates


86 86 and students may have found it harder to estab lish a rapport with them, but the similarity in age and stage of life made it eas ier to accomplish in some cases. “Well in the full time college I have mo re people in my age group I can relate to. Compared to those in my commun ity college who were a bit older.” “In dual-enrollment I didn’t talk to other students because they were significantly older than me.” “In college classes you make more frie nds with the people in your classes. When I did dual enrollment I didn’t really sp eak to anyone besides the friends taking the class with me from high school.” “This tends to be one of the downsid es to dual enrollment. Students are instantly exposed to many things that their parents may not want them exposed to. Also, when you are 15 in a class full of 18 to 24-yea r-olds you cannot help bu t feel out of place and sometimes alone. I was always treated ni cely and I was rarely teased for my young age but I still had trouble because I did not fit in. This is why I would strongly recommend that no student do dual enrollment alone. My first two semesters were much easier than the rest because I ha d my best friend with me.” Of the twelve students who took at leas t some dual enrollment courses at their high school, six of them clearly indicated being in a comfortable environment with people they knew. If they took courses at th e community college, th ey were more likely to be among people of varying ages and mi ght not be as comfortable unless they took these classes with a friend. Once students matr iculated to the univers ity, they were likely to be among people of similar age and their ab ility to connect with their peers could be easier if they were not intimidated by the large class sizes.


87 87 University Experience This section specifically addresses experi ences at the university level, without comparison to other educational settings. Ma ny of the responses were related to campus and class size, the dynamics of interacting wi th professors and other students, and the flexible environment in the university setti ng. Given the perceptions of students, there was a mixture of responses on any given topic, as shown below: “Here at [the university] the classes are more spaced out. It’s up to you to make it there when you’re supposed to. The age ranges are very wide. Some are typical college students between ages 18 and 21 but there are return ing students who are in their 30’s. The environment has not changed much. N one of my classes are too intense for me to handle and a lot of material is covered at a fast pace.” “The classes are almost overwhelmi ng, to the point where I changed my major. The class sizes are huge, the professors don’t seem like they want to be teaching (or at least when I was a microbio major). To see a professor during office hours you have to make an appointment, at [community college] you just walked in to their office, and they even gave you their cell numbers in case you had a ques tion “after hours.” ” “I was used to being told what to do, asking permission to use the bathroom and those things changed when I started college classes. I gu ess you can say more freedom.” “When I was taking classes at [commun ity college] while in high school my “early college” counselors told me that the university wouldn’t be much different than the classes I was currently taking, I believe the professors did as well. So when I transferred I was not expecting to have a class with 350 students in it.


88 88 “Here at [the university] I know maybe 10 or 20 people out of like 3,000? It is very competitive, when I was a microbio major I always wanted to make study group or try and talk to people in my classes and they just shut me down, be cause most of us had the same intention on getting into med school, and you can’t help there person that might take your spot in the medi cal school you want to go to. “My classes are all within walking dist ance from each other, so getting from one to another is not a problem.” “Most of my classes have been similar, except for a few where the professors or TA's should not have been teaching. “Now I put great effort in making good grades.” “[The university] offers a lot more enthusiasm and choices.” These statements reflect myriad experiences that students had at the university. For example, some students reported convenien t class locations while others report the student’s responsibility to get from one place to another despite the distance. One reports classes being almost overwhelming, while a nother doesn’t experience much difference from their dual enrollment classes. These differences in percep tions or experiences offered by research participants can be exp ected and did not app ear to be significant enough to raise concern in any one asp ect of the univer sity experience. Other Observations In addition to the three major research questions, additional da ta were collected including comments for students who might be considering du al enrollment, issues for administrators to be aware of. Participants were also able to co mmunicate any wishes and


89 89 final comments they might have had now that they have done dual enrollment and transitioned to the university. Considering dual enrollment One of the follow-up questions that was asked of several participants was for them to descri be any noticeable differences between honors, advanced placement, and dual enrollment classe s. Four of the twelve students (33%) who had taken honors classes reported that thos e classes were fairly easy and saw dual enrollment as a higher level of learning wh ere more was expected of you and you were treated as an adult. Another student felt that dual enrollme nt was better because “you are guaranteed college credit, as opposed to leaving it all up to one test.” One student who had taken honors, AP, and dual enrollment re ported that dual enrollment was her favorite type of class as compared to the other acce leration mechanisms. She indicated that AP classes were difficult as she felt every class was dedicated to “bei ng taught a test” and that honors classes weren’t too hard, just at a faster pace and with more projects. As for dual enrollment, however, “we learned at a higher level with students who were very willing to learn and never had to worry about an AP exam. We often had very interesting discussions in class that w ould have never occurred in a regular or even honors classroom.” Another student also felt that honors classes were like regular classes, but with more expectations whereas dual enro llment was “real, live college classes.” Desired traits Given their experiences now that they have transferred to the university, students were asked to describe wh at traits a potential dual enrollment student should have. The researcher used this question to see what kind of criteria students would recommend to their peers, beyond the academic requirements established by educational institutions. Concepts that we re frequently mentioned incl uded dedication, determination,

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90 90 organization, self-discipline, motivation, and th e ability to manage time well. Other traits included taking the experience seriously, doi ng the work, using good study habits, being open to meeting new people and adapting to multiple environments simultaneously. Diligence, maturity, and confidence were other traits that were recommended by former dual enrollment students. Samples of some of the responses to this question are as follows: “…need to be focused on the goal of co mpleting the class. In high school, the teachers baby students whereas college you ha ve to focus, come to class, do the assignments with little superv ision, the professors treat you as adults not as children. You have to have your best interests for yourself.” “Organization, organization, or ganization. I learned how to be able to study for all my classes, still play a sport, and work. You also have to be personally stable enough to be around both atmospheres at the same time By stable I mean, able to form into the environment in order to be successful and not afraid to ask questions.” “A student has to be committed and determined to do well in order to be successful in dual enrollment. After all, most of these courses are completed during your senior year of high school when the averag e student is skipping school and anxious to graduate. While most students have busy work during the second semester of senior year, dual enrollment classes are stil l in full swing and you have to keep focused the entire year.” “A student needs to be self-motivated and organized in order to succeed because professors aren’t always going to be reminding you of when you should be studying or when things are due Also, a student needs to be confident in who they are

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91 91 and their abilities. Sometimes, I felt a little inferior in certain classes with certain professors, but it ended up driving me to perfor m at my best ability to show the class and the professor what I was capable of.” Because many schools seem to focus on granting permission to take dual enrollment classes to students from honor s and AP programs at their schools, I was intrigued by the following comment from one of the respondents: “Able to balance and have a different attitu de of things. It’s a different feeling. But it give(s) you a glance on what college is going to be. You don’t necessarily have to be smart in order to do it, but at least you should have an open mind. You have to be mature when you do it. I know it may not seem like it, but it’s a reality.” “understand this starts your college ca reer; be focused on the end goal and be responsible for your own success” “realize it’s a privilege” In response to questions from this section of the study, students were able to express their thoughts about what their peers mi ght be mindful of if they are considering the dual enrollment experience. Students who had also taken advanced placement courses were able to offer their perceived differenc es between those courses and dual enrollment courses. They also provided a number of traits beyond academic requirements that they felt would be needed for a student to be successful in these experiences. Issues for administrators In the researcher’s review of the literature, much of the literature on dual enrollment desc ribes perspectives of admini strators, a few may present observations from students who are currently in volved in dual enrollment, but few, if any, offer detailed data from students who are now in college after doing dual enrollment.

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92 92 Therefore, the researcher used this oppor tunity to see what suggestions former participants might offer to administrators if given an opportunity. He re is a sample of what some interviewees had to say: “I wish that those that are register ing for dual enrollment classes would be better informed about the processes regardi ng registration, {web-based systems used by students], and immunization forms. It seemed that I was told that registration would be taken care of, what that probably meant that all of the paperwork regarding my student status would be prepared, while signi ng up for classes would still be my own responsibility. On top of that the university did not receive my immunization forms, something, which I did not find out until the add/drop period ended, leaving me to pay the late registration fee. While an advising meeting would not be necessary or particularly useful, an online document outlining the proced ures would make the process much more straightforward.” “Make sure when recommending classes that they know what the student is trying to do in college. I took a lot of cla sses that ended up being unnecessary and a waste of time.” “Yes, I recently learned that [the univ ersity] is now enforcing a policy that forces dual enrolled students to take all th eir classes at the community college unless the class they wish to take is not offered there. In this case [the university] will allow the students take the course at one of the [the university] campuses. I believe this to be an absolutely terrible mistake. Whether to a university, vocational school, or a better job, Community College is a stepping stone. If a st udent has the ability to skip this step why should he or she be prevented? This is the very purpose of the dual enrollment program.

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93 93 It gives exceptional students the opportunity to excel and skip the steps that they are capable of skipping. [The university] is undermining its own policy by forcing many students to take classes in an environment wher e they will not be intellectually tested in the manner they deserve. This appears to be an ineffective ploy by the university to save money. The reason it is ineffective is because these students do not register until right before classes start. They ar e not taking any “normal paying” student’s place. They are simply sitting in a seat that was already going to be empty. In fact, the university makes money off of them due to the purchases of books and food on campus.” “I really would want more dual enrollme nt courses. I wished the standards of the dual enrollment courses that are in HS are more like the ones on college. They try hard to adapt to make it easier but sometimes I think that the teachers in HS, if they really don’t have the education to be able to qualif y to teach college courses, then why bother trying to teach college styled classes in high school, in which it’s a more simplified version of it. I think that maybe dual enrollme nt teachers should have at least a master’s degree but honestly prefer a doctorate becau se at the college level the majority of teachers who teaches are either doctoral leve l students or doctorates. The only exception I think that would be is that if the teacher knows the material ve ry well to the point that it’s like teaching it as if it’ s like a sort of secondhand knowledge to it.” There were very few issues that interviewees wanted to bring to the attention of administrators. Overall, students were quite pleased with their experience, but a few issues were shared that usually related to the desire to not be restricted to the amount of classes a student can take and to be better guided through the registration process and the use of other online systems that students are expected to use.

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94 94 Reflective observations Subjects in the study have matr iculated to the university after taking courses in dual enrollment while they were in high school. Since they have advanced to the stage in their educational pa th that dual enrollment might prepare them for, this section of the study gave them an opportunity to freely share things they wish might have been different as they reflect on those experiences. Some of the more detailed responses include: “The classes themselves were fine, I do wish that the details regarding registration and logistics would have been better explained.” “I wish that I would have taken my co llege career in the dual enrollment and my first year more seriously. I don’t think I really wanted to go to college. I knew I wanted a degree and I knew that was some thing I would eventually accomplish, but I wasn’t as serious as I am now. I knew college was something that my family expected. It was never something I thought about not doing, but at seventeen and eighteen years old I just wasn’t that serious. Now I pride myself to make great grades. I know that it was still a learning opportunity and a privilege to be allowed in the program.” “I wish I would have taken more classes.” “I wish there was no limit on the nu mber of course I could take.” “I wish the dual enrollment teachers had b een more like college professors are and gave us more responsibil ity to better prepare us.” “I really wished I had taken a lot more. I also wished I coul d have taken some at [university now attending]. It would mean a lot. If I hadn’t had some setbacks in my ACT scores, I would have definitely been ab le to take some higher level courses.

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95 95 Many students (n=10, 48%) reported bei ng fine with their dual enrollment experience as it was and had no real wishes th ey needed to share. Of the remaining 11 students (52%), five of them only wished th ey had taken more classes or had permission to do more classes through this program. Th ree students wished that the dual enrollment classes were more like college, one wished th eir experience in a math class would have been better, one wished their dual enrollm ent professors would have had a better demeanor, and one would have wanted cleare r instructions about procedures such as registration Final thoughts The statements in this section are the result of the final survey question that asked interview ees if they had any final comments they wanted to add. Most students reported pleas ant, helpful experiences in the dual enrollment program. Two students (10%) regretted missing out on hi gh school activities, including graduation, either due to schedule conflicts or because they were not permitted to participate as a result of their dual enrollment status. A few of the more detailed comments provided by students: “Dual enrollment was a great experience. The only thing I didn't like about it was that I missed out on a few things going on at my high school because I left campus early to go to the community college.” “I missed so much of the “senior year experience” by choosing this program. I didn’t get to go to senior prom or grad night … I wasn’t allowed to walk at graduation… I missed the experience of being a senior in high school. Instead I was a sophomore in college…”

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96 96 “I had a great administrator at [comm unity college]. [Staff member], whom was always great at help ing choose classes to take that w ould be appropriate to take and a great advisor.” “I am very grateful for the dual en rollment program. It has helped me tremendously in my transition from high school to college. Not only did it help me get ready for my classes but it let me get a better start on my major during my first semester at [the university]. Being able to take 15 credit hours for free was a huge benefit because I would have had to pay for them later if I didn’t take them during high school.” “Dual enrollment is an amazing way to slowly intricate yourself into the college lifestyle and workload. TAKE DUAL ENROLLMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!” “Sometimes I wish that maybe if I had taken some sooner, that maybe it would have been a bit different. It was strange that many of them (my classmates) didn’t take any dual enrollment courses outside my HS Sometimes I even wonder to those who teach AP and those who teach dual enrollment that really one is better than the other. I am in support of dual enrollment all the wa y because it gives you the perfect experience and exposure to those who want to go to co llege. But then if there are those who don’t want to go to college, or community college, then perhaps if you at le ast take the gen ed’s in high school or at least the basic important gen eds (like the Englis h and Maths) at least it will give you a base in your life that at least you took a bit extr a steps that you can be able to comprehend better than those who si mply took purely HS cour ses. When I was in 8th grade I got the option to take a HS cla ss in middle school (Alg ebra 1 Advanced) and at least it gave me some HS exposure before hand. Same thing in HS. I hope I’m able to do it for graduate school also.”

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97 97 “I encourage all high school students to ta ke dual enrollments classes, if they are offered at your school. They help with your transition into co llege and it gives you a head start on college credit hours needed to get a degree.” Aside from a few comments about things students missed at high school or the fact that the dual enrollment was a bit differe nt from what they experienced once they transitioned to the university, most res ponses were overwhelmingly positive. Students seemed to favor their experiences and would encourage other students to take advantage of the opportunity. Summary This chapter presented the research findi ngs as a result of the survey responses that participants submitted via e-mail. Part icipants responded to questions about their initial experiences with dual enrollmen t and how the dual enrollment experience impacted their decision to attend college. They also made comparisons between their college experience as a dual enrollment student and as a full college student once they graduated from high school. Six themes emerge d through this qualitativ e process: initial experiences, transitional impact, dual enro llment/university comparisons, student relationships, university experience, and ot her observations. More categories were specified within four of the six themes. Through the themes identified above, the st udy revealed that most courses were taken at a community college or a high school. Half of the participan ts learned about dual enrollment from a counselor, while the other half became aware of the program through fellow peers, other school sources, or th eir parents. Students took advantage of the opportunity for myriad reasons, but primarily to save money on tuition and books and to

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98 98 earn college credit or a higher GPA. Only one of the students partic ipated in orientation before taking courses, but more students used the library for research or studying. Attempts were also made to utilize tutoring when it fit within the student’s schedule of activities. Students almost unanimously repo rted no impact on thei r decision to attend college because attending college was always a part of their plan, but the experience did offer more confidence. Almost all students repo rted a transition in the size of classes at the university and the difference in rapport with their professors and classmates, but still recognized dual enrollment as a stepping stone that clearly provided some preparation for college. Lastly, interviewees shared their ad vice for future students who might be considering dual enrollment, desc ribed the kind of characterist ics they felt potential dual enrollment students should have, and shared issues they wanted administrators to be aware of, along with any final comments or obs ervations they desired to make. Chapter 5 will contain a summary of findings and conclusions as a result of the research data collected in this study, along with re commendations for future research.

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99 99 Chapter 5: Conclusion This chapter contains four sections. The first section includes a summary of findings and an overview of the methods us ed to conduct the st udy. The second section conveys a summary of the conclusions for each of the three research questions as a result of the students’ responses. The third section provides recommendations for practice and possibilities for future research. The final sec tion offers the researcher’s conclusions to the study. Summary of Findings The findings of the study were used to a dd to the existing lite rature by conducting a study that would incorporate the perceptions of students w ho have matriculated to a university after graduating from high school with dual enrollment e xperience. Following a phenomenological approach that was driven by the use of technology to use more innovative methods and to provi de added convenience to part icipants narrative inquiry was used to obtain student perceptions via email. All but the one of the 21 students who had been home-schooled had taken AP c ourses, the honors courses, or both. The responses of these college students were us ed in developing the themes that would answer the three research questions. Question 1 : What are the initial experiences of dual enrollment students? The initial experiences described by rese arch subjects addressed their awareness of the program, where they took classes, th eir reasons for partic ipating, the issue of

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100 100 attending orientation, the dual enrollment envi ronment, interactions among students, and campus resources that were accessed during this experience. Half of the students learned about dual enrollment through their high school counselor, either one-on-one or in a school assembly. The other half of the resear ch participants learned about the program through friends who were taking courses, a t eacher, a flyer or brochure that might have been given to them or mailed home, a te levision announcement on their school’s morning show, or parents who worked at a high school or college. Most st udents took courses at the community college or their high school. A lthough students seemed satisfied with dual enrollment courses at their high school, it seem ed that courses at the college campus were a closer resemblance of the true college experience. Students often expressed several reasons fo r participating in the program, but in most cases they were seizing the opportunity in an effort to save money on books and tuition, to earn college credit or obtain a higher GPA. They also participated so that they would have a broader variety of courses to choose from or to have a more flexible schedule. Orientation was not usually re quired and when it was recommended, most students chose not attend due to hectic schedules. Students found the dual enrollment cl assroom to be a positive learning environment. Professors were often described as friendly, more relaxed in their teaching style, and more accessible to students outside of class. Ther e were mixed results when it came to interactions with fellow classmates. Fo r classes taken at the high school, students were usually among people of similar age w hom they had known for years, but at the community college they were often exposed to a diverse age range and felt a little more out of place. Some students did not make the effort to get to know other classmates but

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101 101 there were others who were comfortable around adults or embraced the challenge to mature or adjust to the unique nuances in this setting. In terms of ot her campus resources, students used the library to do research or to study with friends, but found difficulty in incorporating use of tutoring into their schedules. One or two students attended campus events or got involved in student organizations but several others seemed to stick with the high school activities they were already involved in. Question 2 : How does the dual enrollment experien ce impact the decision of high school graduates to attend college? Most students indicated that they had pl ans to attend college prior to participating in dual enrollment and, as a result, it did not impact thei r decision to go to college. Instead, as they successfully navigated the sy stem and completed courses, they received the added confidence that this goal was achie vable. This concurs with previous findings by Windham and Perkins (2001) that students experience greater self-confidence and preparation for the academic rigor before enro lling as full-time college students if they are able to take classes and do fairly well. With this expe rience under their belts, students observed that they were able to make smoot her transitions from high school to college than their counterparts who did not particip ate in the program. They were able to demystify some of the college experience, as Bailey et. al. (2002) indicates and not be overwhelmed with such a dr astic change all at once. Question 3 : What comparisons can previous dual enrollment students make between the college experience they had in high school and th e subsequent college experience as a full-time college student?

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102 102 Subjects almost unanimously shared th eir observations about the class size as being double, triple, or more compared to what they experienced in dual enrollment. This impacted their ability to have accessibility and a cl ose rapport with professors. More rigid modes of instruction such as lecture were used at the university compared to more interactive forms of learning. Un iversity professors also taugh t at a faster, more strenuous pace. Students also described differences in student relationships between dual enrollment classes and the unive rsity experience. Specifically, being in large classes with people of similar age that they had not met be fore was also quite a unique experience as compared to smaller dual enrollment classes at the high school with thei r friends or at the community colleges with people who were quite varied in age. Other Observations In the previous sections of this chapter, findings were shared that resulted from students’ responses to ques tions that would address th eir initial dual enrollment experiences, the impact of the program on th eir decision to go to college, and their comparisons of the dual enrollment and univers ity experience. This section will describe their advice for students who mi ght be considering dual enroll ment and the kind of traits they believe these students should have. It wi ll also summarize the subjects’ perspectives on issues of concern they would want administ rators to be aware of and their reflective observations about their journey from dual en rollment to high school graduates who then went on to college. For students who might be considering dua l enrollment, the participants of the study had some advice to share. They felt st udents should take the opportunity seriously, because it is a privilege and it does begin thei r college careers. These participants seemed

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103 103 to favor dual enrollment over AP and honors cl asses, because they felt that more was expected of the student and it appeared to be a higher leve l of learning, but the student was guaranteed college credit. Students also had an opportunity to convey their beliefs about the kind of traits a potential dual en rollment student should have. Respondents felt potential students should possess a number of intrinsic characteristics such as dedication, organization, self-discipline, motivation, dilig ence, maturity, and confidence. They also needed to be able to manage time well, ta ke the experience seri ously, do the work, use good study habits, and be open to meeting new people and adapting to new environments. Only a few participants had issues they wished to share with administrators. These issues included a desire to have a mo re clear understanding of initial processes such as registration and the required health immunizations. They also desired to have more thorough advising that took their goals into consideratio n and addressed the transfer of dual enrollment credits once they matricul ated to higher educati on institutions after graduation from high school. Al so, one student expressed hi s concern for dual enrollment courses only being at the community college because he felt the university would be a more appropriate setting. As students reflected on dual enrollment and the transition to college, most were pleased with their expe riences. There were a few who wished they had taken it more seriously or that the logistic s of registration and transferring dual enrollment credits were a bit clearer. Some also wished they had taken more classes or started sooner. Lastly, one or two wished th at there were no limits on how many classes they could take through the program and that the dual enrollment instru ctors were a little more rigorous like college professors.

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104 104 Summary of the Conclusions Drawn This study provided an opportunity for college students to share their dual enrollment experience and how it impacted thei r transition to college. The scope of this study fit within suggestions by Buchanan ( 2006) to see how student s felt about their participation in the program and Andrews’ s uggestion to research wh at students have to say once they leave dual enrollment program s (2001). McCants (2004) also stressed the importance of collecting descriptive data fr om former students in order to assess the impact of the program upon its former participants. Participants’ responses revealed a nu mber of conclusions about their dual enrollment experience. Despite some of th e nuances that students faced, the program provided a pleasant experience for students ove rall. While the college-level classes in high school may not have mirrored the universit y experience and most were only enrolled part-time, the current subjects as full-time st udents in this study still felt they benefited from the level of preparation they received. The type of transition experiences that these students expressed conforms w ith Boswell’s conclusion that dual enrollment is one way to achieve a more seamless system betw een K-12 and higher education (2001). Students appreciated feeling a step ahead of their peers by having established some comfort level with proce sses, procedures, and the academic expectations rather than experiencing complete culture shock. The academic experience at the community colleges more closely resembled the course ex pectations that students experience at the university. The characteristics of students part icipating in dual enrollment courses at the high school more closely resembled the studen ts they would take courses with at the university. Students who wish to be actively involved with their high schools will want to

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105 105 exercise caution in the courses they choose for dual enrollment and what restrictions their high school administration and their own pe rsonal schedules may place upon students in this program. The type of institution that a student matriculates to can impact the differences he or she experiences in the higher education se tting they attend after graduation from high school. Students who attend a different type of institution, such as a private college or a public, liberal arts college, may experience di fferent transitions than those described by research participants in this study. For exampl e, students in this study matriculated to a public, metropolitan research university that ranks among the top ten largest public universities in the nation. If students choose to enroll in a uni versity of similar size, but take dual enrollment courses at their high school s or community colleges, they can expect variances in their rapport with professors and perhaps even their classmates. They can also expect to experience much larger class sizes and differe nces in the range of teaching methods used in these classroom environments than they had in dual enrollment classes. Students can expect to work harder at making connections with classmates at the university, especially if they are not planning to attend the same university and take the same courses with friends from their high sc hool or hometown. If they took courses at the community college, it may have been easier because they are among people of similar age. Unless a student is accustomed to being around older people, he or she may feel out of place at times.

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106 106 Recommendations for Practice Findings of the study suggest a number of recommendations for practice among program administrators and policymakers. These are listed below, followed by an elaboration of each suggestion. First Recommendation Consider mandating orientation or provi ding a special orientation at the high school so that students are better informed about processes and procedures for beginning their academic journey in higher education. Ad ministrators might consider mandating an orientation that informs students about the impact of these courses on their college transcript and other possibilitie s that may come with the expe rience. Students need to be informed of not only the possible benefits, but also potential consequences that come with taking dual enrollment courses. Because st udents expressed a desire to have more clarity about some of the initial steps that ar e necessary when getting admitted to a higher education institution and preparing to register for classes, the researcher believes that administrators should either mandate or c ontinue to stress the importance of attending orientation. Orientations are an essentia l part of the college experience that helps students get important information that they need to matriculate successfully. Online orientations might be considered as an option, or st udents can be mandated to attend regular orientations as an example of how they will ne ed to adjust their schedules periodically to attend to school business. In addition, there is the consideration of fairness that they would be excluded from a requirement that is mandated for regular college students.

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107 107 This orientation would include numerous t opics that will br oaden the students’ understanding of the institution and other inform ation that will contribute to their success. Students should be made aware of the inst itution’s catalog and stude nt code of conduct, procedures to get registered for classes, and student resources that are available to them. They should also learn about important calenda r dates, options for w ithdrawal if students are not being successful in a course, and th e process of transferring dual enrollment credits when they matriculate to a postsecondary instituti on after high school graduation. While promoting the potential benefits of dual enrollment, high schools should alert students of restrictions or conflicts they may encounter while taking these courses. Second Recommendation Develop or enhance quality assurance measures for instruction and student outcomes. Student perceptions suggest that it may be helpful to ha ve quality assurance measures in place for instruction and for stude nt outcomes. For instructional purposes, an approach might be implemented to be sure that courses are taught in a manner that is comparable to that which is done at higher education institutions. Given the success rate of students in this research sample as we ll as in other dual enrollment studies, an advocacy group for potential and current dual enro llment students might be beneficial in providing quality assurance of student outcome s to ensure students are pursuing these opportunities in a way that will help, and not hurt, them academically or socially. This group could also have the responsibil ity of being student advocates in terms of making recommendations to legislators a nd other decision-makers when reviewing restrictions on the number of c ourses students are allo wed to take and at what age, grade, or academic ability level courses are star ted. They might also explore and make

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108 108 recommendations about decisions such as the restrictions that are placed on students from participation in sc hool activities. Third Recommendation Establish a network for dual enrollment student s that will help bridge gaps in their collegiate experience. High school students often have opportuniti es to participate in their choice of extracurricular activities. One opti on to consider is to have school-wide or district-wide student organi zations, special sessions, or workshops throughout the academic year that would bring current and potential students together to discuss their experience. They would have the opportunity to exchange ideas, get help with issues that may occur, and build a stronger support syst em. Students taking dual enrollment at a high school can share experiences with students who take dual enrollment at the community college. Students from larger universities might be invited to share experiences that might better prepare students. Similar to prof essional conferences, roundtables and panel discussions can be arranged to facilitate a true enrichment e xperience for students. Possibilities for Future Research Given the critical need for accountability regarding th e academic standards and fiscal responsibility of our e ducational systems, more studies are needed that will provide documented evidence of programs such as dual en rollment that facilitate better alignment of educational standards, encourage the pursuit of a college degree, or demonstrate a cost benefit to the state. More specifically, topi cs for these recommended studies might look at college adjustment, retenti on rates, and time-to-d egree. Using these topics as a guide, recommendations for studies that might broade n the literature include more studies of students who have matriculated to the comm unity college or university after completing

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109 109 high school with dual enrollment experience. These studies might examine students who remain at the same institution after gra duation compared to those who attend other institutions, who live on campus compared to those who do not, or who are required to attend an orientation session compared to those who those who do not. Other factors considered equal, interesti ng results might be produced fr om research on students who begin the university with dua l enrollment experience compar ed to those who those who do not. A valuable contribution to the literature might also be research that targets special populations or programs specifica lly designed for special grou ps, such as home-schooled students, students with disabilities, first-gene ration college students, or students who have not had experience with honors, AP, or IB programs. Another possibility for future research would be examining if there are trends in dual enrollment participation according to choice of intended major in colle ge. This type of study would examine if students who choose to participate in dual enro llment are more likely to pursue certain majors at the college level. Lastly, an assessment of potential differences in dual enrollment settings such as a high school dual enrollment cour se and a community college or university dual enrollment course, which might include vari ances in instruction or seat time in class. Conclusion As we recognize the growing need to de velop a more educated workforce, we must take a close, serious look at those initiatives that will fac ilitate this goal of increased degree productivity. Developing an educational pipeline that provides a clear path from high school to college is one such avenue. Dual enrollment is an acceleration mechanism that helps students realize thei r ability, with proper planni ng and support, to successfully

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110 110 pursue a college education. Responses to this study suggest that dual enrollment options for students should continue, and more student s should be encouraged to participate. Respondents in this study further substant iate Karp’s findings that, as identity formation suggests, role rehearsal has enable d them to acquire th e normative values and embrace the identity of a college student (2006). This helps ease the transition by allowing students to make smaller steps towards this educational goal rather than facing the culture shock they might experience both academically and socially. Furthermore, students who participated in dual enrollment during high school will not be faced with the problem that is quite common among many of their peers: graduating from high school only to find out that remedial c oursework is needed before they are ready for true college academic experiences. Hanson, Windham, & Lerner (2006) state that Florida has been committed to the advancement of dual enrollment programs for many years. The results of this study suggest that legislators and ot her key administrators should c ontinue that commitment to facilitate growth in acceleration mechanisms such as dual enrollment, especially if we hope to obtain a more educated workforce that will be able to keep up with the demands of our economy and society.

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117 117 Pusser, B. & Doane, D. J. (2001). Public po licy and private enterprise: the contemporary organization of postsecondary education. Change 33 (5), 18-22. Rasch, E. L. (2004). Dual enrollment within a state P-16 education model: A micropolitical perspective. Doctoral disserta tion, University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign, 2004. Reindl, T. (2007). Hitting Home: Quality, Cost, and Access Challenges Confronting Higher Education Today. Opinion pape r, Lumina Foundation for Education. Retrieved May 30, 2007 from Repman, J., Zinskie, C., & Carlson, R. D. (2005). Effective Use of CMC Tools in Interactive Online Learning. Computers in the Schools, 22 (1/2), p. 57-69. Retrieved February 8, 2008 from Rubin, H. J. & Rubin, I. S. (2005). Qualitative interviewing: The art of hearing data Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. Selwyn, N. & Robson, K. (1998). Usi ng e-mail as a research tool. Social Research Update (21). Retrieved June 12, 2007 from Shannon, M. A. (2005). A retrospective view of academic performance among first-year students at Lake Superior State Univer sity who selected Michigan’s Dual enrollment program as their postsecondary preparatory strategy in high school (1996-2003). (Doctoral dissertation, Mi chigan State University, 2005). Seidman, I. (2006). Interviewing as qualitative research: a guide for researchers in education and the social sciences New York: Teachers College Press. Simpson, I. H. (1979). From student to nurse: A longit udinal study of socialization Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. U.S. Department of Education, A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of U.S. Higher Education. Washington, D.C., 2006. Re trieved May 14, 2007 from dfuture/reports/ final-report.pdf. U. S. Department of Education Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. (2001). Access Denied: Restoring the Nation’s Commitment to Equal Education Opportunity. Washington D.C. Retrieved May 14, 2007 from USF Honors College (2007). About Honors Retrieved May 14, 2007 from

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118 118 Venezia, A., Kiest, M. W., & Antonio A. L. ( 2003). Betraying the college dream: How disconnected K-12 and postsecondary education systems undermine student aspirations: Final policy report from St anford University’s Bridge Project. Stanford, CA: Stanford Institute for Hi gher Ed. Research. Retrieved November 29, 2005 from betrayingtheco llegedream.pdf. Welsh, J. F., Brake, N. & Choi, N. (2005). Student Participation and Performance in Dual-Credit Courses in a Reform Environment. Community College Journal of Research and Practice 29, 199-213. Windham, P. & Perkins, G. R. (2001). Dual enrollment as an acceleration mechanism: Are students prepared for subsequent courses? Retrieved November 29, 2005 from llor/Newsletters/clips/ DE_as_an_Acceleration_Mechanism.htm.

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120 120 Appendix A Research Recruitment Information Letter for Administrators and Faculty May 8, 2008 Dear Administrator/Faculty Member A research study is being conducted for a qualitative dissertation using students who were admitted to the university during the 2007-2008 academic year and took dual enrollment courses in high school. The purpose of the study is to gain insight on the impact of dual enrollment experiences on college readiness and first-year transitions. Your help is being solicited in the recruitment of students to participate in this study. Students will be invited to share about their dua l enrollment and first-year college experiences through a research project that is intended to pr ovide valuable informati on to state officials, educators, researchers, and other constituents w ho are interested in the administration of dual enrollment programs. You are being asked to simply do the following: 1. Forward an e-mail from the researcher to any students who were admitted to the university in summer 2007, fall 2007, or spring 2 008 and participated in your program or took classes with you. This e-mail will include an attached letter of invitation for students to participate in the study and the informed consent information that is related to this research study. 2. Copy the researcher on e-mails sent to students regarding this study. It is my belief that students are more likely to read an e-mail and a greater response rate might be obtained if students receive this e-mail from a name they recognize due to a rapport that was built during their first year at the university. Students will be asked to respond to the researcher and to self-identify that they possess dual enrollment e xperience, which will be verified through the Registrar’s office. No further action will be asked of you beyond the initial e-mail. Please confirm by Friday, May 9, 2008 if you are willing to assist in the recruitment of students for this study, which is expected to take place in early June. If you have any questions about the nature of this study or the process, please contact me at (813) 833-1215 or Sincerely, Theresa Lewis, Doctoral Student Adult, Career, & Higher Education

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121 121 Appendix B VOLUNTARY RESEARCH OPPORTUNITY Do you have Dual Enrollment Experience? (college credits earned during high school) Did you begin USF in either….? Summer 2007 Fall 2007 Spring 2008 Summer 2008 Fall 2008 Then please consider sharing your experiences with dual enrollment and your transition to college through an e-mail survey. We NEED to hear what you have to say!!! It’s 3 easy steps and should only take about 1-2 hours over a 4-6 week period. Note: Everything is done by e-mail at your convenience! $10 Gift Card for Food will be given in exchange for your participation You will contribute to a very import ant study that will be informative and beneficial to future students and their families, educators, program administrators, and others of interest. For more information, please send an e-mail to: Theresa Lewis, Doctoral Student USF College of Education Higher Education Administration program NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31st 2008

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122 122 Appendix C Research Recruitment Information Letter for Students Dear Student: You are invited to share your experiences in taking dual enrollment classes while you were in high school through a re search project that will provi de valuable information to state officials, educators, researchers, and other constituents who are interested in the administration of dual enrollment programs. In addition to basic demographic informati on (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.) you will be asked questions related to your experience in dual enrollment and how it has affected your transition to becoming a full-time co llege student once you graduated from high school. Incentive: $10 iTunes Gift Card!!! In order to receive the incentive as a token of appreciation, participants of the study must: 1. Provide your responses with in two weeks of the date you receive confirmation that you have been added as a member of the research gr oup. The first round of questions will also be sent at that time. 2. Continue to respond as needed for 2-4 follow-up sessions to get clarification or additional insight to responses. Upon completion of the follow-up questions, you will receive an e-mail informing you that the data collection phase is closed a nd the online gift card should be received by email within 72 hours. Requirements to participate: You must have enrolled in at least one or more college classes while you were in high school through the dual enrollment program and be willing to write about your experiences. You must have entered the university in Summer 2007, Fall 2007, or Spring 2008. Read the Informed Consent which info rms you of your rights as a voluntary participant in this study.

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123 123 Appendix C (Continued) Timeline of events: Once you have been selected to participate in the study, the following events will occur during the 4-6 weeks the study is being conducted: You will become a member of the Dual Enrollment Research Group which will appear as a student organization in Bl ackboard once you have been added using your U number. The initial set of intervie w questions will be e-mailed to you and you must submit your responses by e-mail within two weeks. The estimated time needed to initially respond to all of the interview questions is approximately 11 hour(s) You may receive 2-4 more e-mails duri ng the remainder of the study to obtain additional information or cl arification on what you’ve written and no more than 15-20 minutes should be needed for each of those follow-up e-mails. You will be notified once the data collection phase is closed and will have an opportunity to examine the results of the analyses at the conc lusion of the study. Note: You are able to select an online ch at option that is al so available through Blackboard if preferred. What do you do if you wish to participate? To be considered for participation in th e study, please read the Informed Consent to be aware of your rights as a volunteer in the study. E-mail me at with the following information: o Your U # and NetID so that you can be added to the Dual Enrollment Research Group in Blackboard if selected to participate. o How many courses or semesters you pa rticipated in dual enrollment. o What semester you started at the uni versity after finishing high school o List any of the following programs that you were invol ved in during your first year: Freshman Summer Institute (FSI), Student Support Services (SSS), Honors College, New Student Connections, or University Experience (UE). Contact Information: Theresa L. Lewis, Doctoral Student Adult, Career & Higher Education

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124 124 Appendix C (Continued) Receive a $10 iTunes Gift Card for sharing your dual enrollment and college transition experience!!! Dear Student You are invited to share your experiences in taking dual enrollment classes while you were in high school through a re search project that will provi de valuable information to state officials, educators, researchers, and other constituents who are interested in the administration of dual enrollment programs. In addition to basic demographic informati on (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.) you will be asked questions related to your experience in dual enrollment and how it has affected your transition to becoming a full-time co llege student once you graduated from high school. Requirements to participate: You must have enrolled in at least one or more college classes while you were in high school through the dual enrollment progr am and be willing to write about your experiences. You must have entered the university in Summer 2007, Fall 2007, or Spring 2008. Read the Informed Consent which inform s you of your rights as a participant in this study. Timeline of events: Once you receive confirmation by e-mail that you ha ve been selected to participate in the study, the following events will occur during th e 4-6 weeks the study is being conducted: You will become a member of the Dual Enrollment Research Group which will appear as a student organization in Bl ackboard once you have been added using your username for logging into Blackboard. You will receive some questions via e-mail and you will be asked to respond via e-mail within two weeks. The estimated time needed to initially respond to all of the interview questions is a pproximately 11 hour(s). You may receive 2-4 more e-mails duri ng the remainder of the study to obtain additional information or cl arification on what you’ve written and no more than 15-20 minutes should be needed for each of those follow-up e-mails.

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125 125 You will be notified once the data collection phase is closed and will have an opportunity to examine the results of the analyses at the conc lusion of the study. Note: You are able to select an online ch at option that is al so available through Blackboard if preferred. Incentive: $10 iTunes Gift Card!!! In order to receive the incentive as a token of appreciation, participants who are selected must: 1. Provide your responses with in two weeks of the date you receive confirmation that you have been added as a member of the research gr oup. The first round of questions will also be sent at that time. 2. Continue to respond as needed for 2-4 follow-up sessions to get clarification or additional insight to responses. Upon completion of the follow-up questions, you will receive an e-mail informing you that the data collection phase is closed a nd the online gift card should be received by email within 72 hours. I appreciate your willingness to assist in pr oviding information for this research study. If you have any questions, I may be reached via e-mail at Thank you, Theresa l. Lewis, Doctoral Student Adult, Career & Higher Education

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126 126 Appendix D Informed Consent I agree to participate in th e dual enrollment research project being conducted by Theresa Lewis, a doctoral student in the Higher Edu cation program at the University of South Florida. The purpose of the study is to gain insight on the impact of dual enrollment experiences upon students who are now in college full-time. I understand that this resear ch will be conducted through e-jo urnaling, in which interview questions will be sent to me and responses returned by me through e-mail in a timely manner. I understand that the academic history I provide about my dua l enrollment experience and first year in college may be verified through university re cords from the Registrar’s office. I further understand that my pa rticipation is strict ly voluntary and that I may withdraw at any time from this study without penalty of a ny kind. I will inform the researcher of the decision to withdraw via e-mail. I understand that my identity throughout the study will remain confidential and any information submitted will be maintained in secured locations such as a locked file cabinet at the researcher’s library carrel and in a Word document that is passwordprotected. I grant permission for data from my responses to be a part of any written or verbal report as long as my right to confidentiality is maintained. I understand that anonymous results of the study will be available to me upon request once the study is concluded and the data has been analyzed. You may contact me, Theresa Lewis, at if you have specific questions about the study. Y ou may contact the Division of Research Integrity and Compliance of the University at (813) 974-9343 if you have questions about ethical procedures as a participant of this study.

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127 127 Appendix E Interview Questions Demographic Information NetID [This is the ID you use to log into We bMail and Blackboard (myUSF). It will be used to add you as a member of the research group on Blackboard.] Name Pseudonym [This is an alternate name that you choose for me to use instead of your name in any public information such as the research r esults so that you cannot be identified.] Gender Ethnicity Current age Hometown Age at the entry into fi rst dual enrollment class Name of High School Intended Major To assist you in properly responding to the next set of questions, please list information about each dual-enrollment course you have take n in the grid below. You have two options if more space is needed: 1. Once you get to the last row, you can co ntinue to press the TAB key and another row will be added automatically. 2. You can print the page, make copies, a nd fax the completed pages to (813) 3156314. This fax number will submit document s to me via e-mail, which is secured by a password that only I have.

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128 128 Appendix E (continued) DUAL ENROLLMENT COURSE LISTING COURSE TITLE COURSE PREFIX & NUMBER (if known) GRADE EARNED SEMESTER & YEAR NAME OF COLLEGE/ UNIVERSITY LOCATION OF COURSE (H.S./COLLEGE/ OTHER) AVG.CLASS SIZE Choose between: A) < 15 B) 16-30 C) 31+ ESTIMATED AVG. AGE RANGE OF CLASS Choose between: A) 15-18 B) 19-24 C) 25+ D) Unknown [Example] Freshman English I ENC 1101 A Spring 2006 HCC Tampa Bay High School C A

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129 129 Appendix E (Continued) Questions 1. How did you learn about dual enrollment? 2. What factors contributed to your decisi on to participate in the dual enrollment program? 3. Did you experience any differences in the college class(es) taken while in high school versus the college classes taken as a full-time college student? Please explain your answers. 4. What personal and academic characteristics do you feel a student needs to be successful in dual enrollment courses? 5. Describe your feelings about each of the following aspects of dual enrollment courses: a. the location of the classes b. characteristics of students in the classes, such as age, maturity level, etc. c. overall environment of dual enrollment courses taken 6. How would you compare each of the aspect s mentioned above with the college classes you have taken as a full-time student? 7. Did you perceive any differences in the academ ic expectations set by instructors of the college classes taken as a high school st udent compared to the instructors of classes taken as a full-time college student? If so, please describe. 8. What were the teacher-student relationships like in these two settings? 9. What were the student-student rela tionships like in these two settings? 10. Describe the teaching styles you have observed in dual enrollment classes compared to those you have observed as a full-time college student. 11. Did participation in dual enrollment affect your decision to attend college after graduation? If so, how? 12. Has participation in dual enrollment affect ed your transition to college as a full-time student once you graduated from high school? If so, how? 13. Is there anything you wish would have been different about the dual enrollment courses taken? If so, please describe. 14. Are there any issues you would want program administrators to be aware of? If so, please describe. 15. Is there anything you’d like to add?

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130 130 Appendix F SAMPLE FORMAT Interinstitutional Articulation Agreements Florida Statutes. (n.d.). Sample format of the interinstitutional articulation agreement. Retrieved December 1, 2007 from institutional-articulation-agreements.pdf The Interinstitutional Articulation Agreement, as required by section 1007.235, Florida Statutes, should begin with an introductory section that clear ly identifies the parties involved, the term (a beginning and ending date) of the agreement, the make-up of the Articulation Committee involved in negotiating and drafting the agreement, and a description of the process by which the agreement is renewed or terminated. Following the introductory information, consider these required components: 1 Ratification of articulation agreements between the community college and school district. 2. Courses and programs available to students eligible for dual enrollment, including a plan for the community college to provide guidance services. This section attests to the ratification and modifica tions of all other agreements between the community college and the school district. Such agreements might include plans involving career education center/community college transfers, Tech Prep, placement, testing, and dual enrollment agreements beyond the scope of this document (such as agreements unique to a specific magnet program, academy or school). As provided by law, this section should include a lis t of these agreements and any additional agreements with state universities or eligible independent colleges and universities. A brief description of the dual enrollment program, including statutory requirements (such as exemption from the payment of tuition and

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131 131fees) is an appropriate introduction to this section of the agreement. The following reference to the 2006 legislative changes can be addressed in this section. Beginning with students entering grade 9 in the 200607 school year, the revised language for section 1007.271, F.S., requires school districts to: “weigh dual enrollment courses the same as advanced placem ent, International Baccalaureate, and Advanced International Certificate of Education courses when gr ade point averages are calcu lated. Alternative grade calculation, weighting systems that discriminate against dual enrollmen t courses are prohibited.” It is important for the community college to provide and coordinate services with district guidance counselors regarding the selection of dual enrollment courses. When advising students about course availability, the Dual Enrollment Course Equivalency List, approved by the Articulation Coordinating Committee and State Board of Education, provides a great starting point. Wh ile this list identifies the college courses guaranteed for credit required for high school subject areas, it does not list all dual enrollment courses that count for subject area or practical arts electiv e credit. Current law allows for an y course in the Statewide Course Numbering System, to be offered as dual enrollment, with the exception of remedial and physical education skills courses. The 2007-2008 implementation of the A ++ Secondary Redesign Act requires high schools to offer “Major Areas of Interest” (MAI). Each year, districts can propose modifications and add courses that to Major Areas of Interest, which presents an important opportunity fo r postsecondary institutions to share with district partners suggested dual enrollment courses that can enhance the MAI. Using, students should develop an academic plan that includes courses that will result in a technology certificate, associates degree, or baccalaureate de gree. If the student intends to s eek a baccalaureate degree, the plan must include courses that meet general education an d prerequisite requirements for entrance into the selected baccalaureate degree program. It is not advisable for students to take excessive courses that will meet neither general education nor common prerequisite requirements. The intent is to provide maximum access while guiding studen ts toward a well planned program of study. a. The process by which parents and stude nts are notified of the option to participate. b. The process by which students and parents exercise their option to participate. c. Eligibility criteria for student participation in dual enrollment courses and programs.

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132 132 Appendix F (Continued) d. Institutional responsibilities for stud ent screening prior to enrollment and monitoring enrolled students. This is the section to delineate the district and pos tsecondary institutional responsibilities for promoting the dual enrollment program and notifying parents and students of the option to participate? When and how will this be handled? Be specific. (Section 1007.271(5) F.S.) Procedures for particip ation, along with firmly established deadlines, are essential to the agreement. Explanations should address the application and associated forms for admission to the program, required recommendations/signatures, designated contacts to whom parents and/or students submit their paperwork, the process by which students register and withdraw from courses, maximum course loads, grade forgiveness, weighting of dual enrollment course grades, and the process by which grades are distributed. Confusion and frustration often occur when the high school and the college share conflicting information about procedures and deadlines. Provide information about differing college and district term sc hedules and start dates. Without an official resource, parents seek resolution with their school board, the college president, or the DOE; none of which has the individual authority to make these decisions. Having these components clearly documented saves considerable time and inconvenience. Section 1007.271, F.S., establishes that students eligible for dual enrollment have an unweighted GPA of 3.0 and demonstrate readiness for college coursework through scores on college placement tests. List the specific cu t scores required for enrollm ent (particularly if they vary by discipline). Participation in career and t echnical dual enrollment require s a 2.0 unweighted GPA. Additional requirements shall not arbitrarily prohibit stud ents from participating in dual enrollment courses. Clearly delineate any exception to the GPA requirement and/or any additional community college admission requirements (such as high school grade level). In this section, include promising practices, such as college reach-out or pilot programs that promot e participation and increase underrepresented student access and address critical workforce needs. Delineat e the responsibility for the initial screening and ongoing monitoring of par ticipants in this section or incorporat e into “b” and/or “c” above. Point out the requirements for continued participation in the program. Clearly identifying which GPA is being

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133 133considered (the college or high school), and how of ten the GPAs are reviewed. This will help avoid the potential dispute when a student is dismissed from the program. A key advising point to share with parents and students is that dual enrollmen t grades are calculated and recorded in the student’s college GPA and transcript. This is a permanent record that four-year universities review, and can affect admission decisions. In addition to outlining the academic criteria for continued enrollment in the program, this section is a good place to inform students about college campus expect ations. Colleges often requ ire that dual enrollment students obtain parking permits and college library cards. College orientation information provides a helpful introduction to the college campus experience This section of the ag reement shou ld identify behavioral expectations in dual enrollment courses taught on college campuses and the code of conduct and consequences enforced. Matu rity/discipline issues arise and addressi ng them in the agreement leaves less room for dispute when these incidences occur. e. Criteria by which the quality of dual enrollment courses and programs are to be judged and maintained. f. Institutional responsibilities for the cost of dual enrollment courses and programs. Dual enrollment courses are college courses with the id entical content and learning outcomes expected of all other college courses identified with the same statewid e course prefixes and numbers. Teachers of dual enrollment courses have college teach ing credentials established by the Southern Associa tion of Colleges and Schools (SACS). This agreement must outline th e procedures for maintaining teacher quality and content integrity of courses, similar to the guidelines in the Council of President’s Statement of Standards. Such procedures should include a plan for recruiting, selecting and evaluating faculty and monitoring dual enrollment course instruction taught on the high sc hool and college campus. A strong agreement employs cost-sharing and cost-saving measures and considers the effectiveness of combining resources to cover costs associated with the program. An important point to remember is that school districts receive FTE funding for student participation in dual enrollment courses, even when students attend courses taught on the college campus. Cost-sharing, although not required, is strongly encouraged, particularly for the cost of instruction. Though there are several variations of this model, a key cost-saver allows each entity to contribute half of each instructor’s salary. The dolla r figure, for example, can be calculated on a college adjunct’s pay or the cost of a teach er overload. Whatever the rate deci ded, each entity is responsible for

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134 134 Appendix F (Continued) half that amount for each dual enrollmen t instructor. If the school district pays the instructor’s salary, the community college would pay the school district half the agreed upon cost of an instructor. Conversely, if the community college pays the instructor’s salary, the school district would pay to the community college half the agreed upon cost of an instructor. The opportunity for this financial balance provides incentive for both entities to actively recruit instructors qualified to teach dual enrollment. Another cost-saving incentive could include tuition free college coursework and professional development opportunities for district teachers to advance their teaching qua lifications and credentials needed to teach dual enrollment courses on the high school campus. While school districts are responsible for the purchase of students’ textbooks, the two entities can come to an agreement on a reasonable length of time for the use of “class sets” of dual enrollment textbooks. If, for example, there can be a guaranteed use of a set of textbooks for 3 years from the time of purchase, the costs associated with textbooks can be greatly diminished. Many districts have cost-saving procedures that require students to retu rn used dual enrollment textbooks to the college bookstore at the end of the term, wh ereby the district receives textbook reimbursement for the resale of used books. With the exception of those areas with rapidly changing technology (which can be specified in the agreement), most academic texts can be used effec tively for much longer than they typically are used. Though this may involve compromise on the part of the instructors, it should not compromise the quality or integrity of the course. New instructional costs that co lleges and districts should consider are the costs of licensing fees for electronic media access. Today, many students are re quired to pay a fee for electronic media access. Textbooks may continue to be re-used, bu t in contrast, the student may need to obtain an updated CD-ROM or license fee for each course, that is generally not re-usable. Electronic access is often password protected and does not beco me the property of the district or college. If the e-access fee is a required component of the textbook purchase, the di strict and college must address and delineate who will assume responsibility for these co sts. As required by law, students with disabilities must receive appropriate accommodations. Issues re lated to this topic must be negotiated and delineated. Which entity

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135 135covers the cost of accommodations? Whose criteria de termine the need for accommodations (K-12 or CC)? Providing these details in the agreement helps avoid difficult situations that, while rare, occasionally do arise. g. Responsibility for providing student transportation. h. Mechanisms and strategies for red ucing the incidence of postsecondary remediation in math, reading, and writin g for first-time-enrolled recent high school graduates. i. Mechanisms and strategies for promoting “tech prep” programs of study. j. A plan that outlines the mechanisms and strategies for improving the preparation of elementary, middle, and high school teachers. This section should clearly outline who is responsible for the cost of transportation for courses taught at locations other than the high school campus. If it is the student’s responsibility to provide his/her own transportation, this should be stated in the agreement. A number of districts have outstanding promising practices in terms of providing bus transportation to sites off campus. Though most districts have partnership activities between the community college and school district that serve to lessen the need for remediation when students enter postsecondary edu cation, few interinstitutional agreements adequately address this topic. This section should specify th e process by which the local Articulation Committee will: analyze the unique problems that have been identifie d in this district and develop corrective actions; measure and communicate outcomes; collaborate, develop and implement strategies that will better prepare students for college course enrollment upon graduation from high school; analyze the costs associated with the implementation of postsecondary remedial education and secondary-level corrective actions; and identify and implement the strategies for reducing su ch costs. The results of the Articulation Committee’s analysis/assessment should be annually reported to the district school board and community college board of trustees. It is worthwhile to describe a realistic ac tion plan in this section of the agreement. Examples of activities and strategies described in this section include: federal, state, or local grant programs focused on remediation, CPT testing agreements, co-sponsored af ter-school or summer tutoring/remediation programs, and collaborative teacher-faculty initiatives. Many di stricts have a separate “tech prep” articulation

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136 136agreement in place that thor oughly addresses a plan to make stud ents aware of the program, promotes enrollment, and articulates a sequentia l program of study leading to a postsecondary career and/or technical education degree or certificate. If such an agreement exists, reference in this section and provide a copy as an appendix to this agreement. Dist ricts that do not have a separate “t ech prep” agreement must address the components discussed in the previous paragraph at this point in the interinstitutional agreement. Another opportunity to enhance articulation outcomes and documen t promising practices is to outline the strategies and activities that address ongoing professional developm ent of district teachers. The plan should address both pre-service and in-service activities developed with the intent of improving teacher preparation at all levels and addressing local critical teacher shortages. Pursuant to s. 1007.235(3), F. S., professional development programs should include curriculum content and the utilization of new technologies that respond to local, state and national priorities. The final section of this agreement is the execution, which includes the appropriate signatures of school district and community college representatives. Reminders: The district school superintendent is responsible for incorporating, either directly or by reference, all dual enrollment courses contai ned within the district interinstitutional articulation agreement within the district school board’s student progression plan. This is the opportunity to provide assistance to districts; suggesting additional dual enrollment courses that districts should propo se for department approval as courses that will count toward “Major Areas of Interest” offered at the high schools. Dual enrollment courses can advance the program of study fo r MAIs, enhance students’ Bright Futures scholarship eligibility, and increase acceleration options. Districts and Community Colleges are encour aged to include representatives from local universities to participate in the deve lopment of articulation agreements. Districts are responsible for annually s ubmitting updated copies of Interinstitutional Articulation Agreements to the Florida Depart ment of Education, Office of Articulation by the start date of the fall term.

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137 137 Appendix F (Continued) All agreements are reviewed in accordance with the provisions of the law. Evidence of promising practice will be recognized. Complia nce reports will be publicly reported and areas of confirmed non-compliance will be addressed.

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138 138 About the Author Theresa Lyvette Lewis earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Education M.Ed. in Business Education with emphasis in Instruc tional Technology, and M.Ed. in Counselor Education from the Univer sity of South Florida in Tampa. With over 15 years of experience as an educator, she ha s had the opportunity to touch the lives of many After teaching middle school for seven years, along with several semesters in adult school settings, she worked as a gra duate student providing counseling and support to Jenkins Scholars recipients, spent two years as a counselor in the College of Education, and two years as a counselor for Student Support Services. While completing the final years of the doctorate degr ee, she worked at Hillsbor ough Community College as a College Success instructor and a professi onal counselor. Her love for counseling and facilitating support services wa s ignited by the opportunity to serve with Project Upward Bound, under the tutelage of the late Dr. Rich ard F. Pride, in provi ding holistic services to first-generation students like herself while pr eparing to begin her professional career as an educator. Her favorite pasttimes include being involved in music ministry, youth outreach and development, tr aveling, reading, and shopping.

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ABSTRACT: Dual enrollment is one means of facilitating increased degree productivity, which can lead to the more educated workforce needed in today's society. This qualitative study was designed to obtain student perceptions about their dual enrollment experience, including how it impacted their decision to go to college and what comparisons they would make between their dual enrollment experience and their full university experience. Twenty-one students were interviewed via e-mail to provide responses that would help answer three research questions: 1.What are the initial experiences of dual enrollment students? 2.How does the dual enrollment experience impact the decision of high school graduates to attend college? 3.What comparisons can previous dual enrollment students make between the college experience they had in high school and the subsequent college experience as a full-time college student? Students who have participated in dual enrollment and subsequently matriculated to a university were provided an opportunity to give voice to their experiences, which were fairly positive. They also described characteristics that would be desirable of potential dual enrollment students and offered recommendations for students who are considering the dual enrollment experience. The findings of the research resulted in several recommendations for practice to those who make critical decisions in regards to these programs. These recommendations include further consideration of orientation sessions for students who are considering dual enrollment, developing or enhancing quality assurance measures for instruction and student outcomes, and establishing a network for dual enrollment students that will help bridge gaps in their collegiate experience.
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