Recent studies from highly respected organizations including the U.S. Department of Education, Columbia University, the University of Iowa, and the Western Insterstate Commission of Higher Education document the value of accelerated learning options, including concurrent enrollment. The studies mentioned below are especially important because of their size.

NOTE: In the following studies concurrent enrollment is a subset of dual enrollment. The term dual credit, as it is used in the first study listed, refers to concurrent enrollment.

Dual Credit in Oregon, 2010 Follow-up: An Analysis of Students Taking Dual Credit in High School in 2007-08
(2010. Office of Institutional Research, Oregon University System)
Researchers at the Oregon University System (OUS) specifically examined concurrent enrollment courses (college courses taught in a high school, by a high school teacher that carry both high school and college credit). The study examined the college participation and performance of 15,707 students attending an Oregon college or university whose college transcripts recorded their having taken a concurrent enrollment course while in high school. The researchers found that:

  • “Dual credit students have a higher college participation rate than high school graduates overall.”
  • “Dual credit students who go on to college continue to the second year at a higher rate than freshmen who enter college without having earned dual credit.”
  • “Among freshmen who continue to the second year of college, dual credit participants earn a higher first year GPA.”
  • “Students who continue to the second year of college accumulate more college credit if they take dual credit in high school.”

The study also examined student performance in subsequent courses in an sequence in writing, mathematics, and Spanish:

  • “When dual credit students who take the prerequisite in high school and the final course in college are compared to their college classmates who take the entire sequence in college, it turns out that they pass the final course in proportions that are substantially equivalent to those of their college-prepared classmates”

Full report

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An Analysis of the Impact of High School Dual Enrollment Course Participation on Post-secondary Academic Success, Persistence and Degree Completion
(2008. Dr. Joni Swanson, University of Iowa, College of Education)
This study, comparing the high school and college transcripts of more than 400 students who participated in dual enrollment courses (but not in Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses) with the transcripts of students with similar GPA’s and class rank, but who took no accelerated learning courses, showed that:

  • “Dual enrollment students were 11% more likely to persist through the second year of college than non-participating students.”
  • “Dual enrollment students were 12% more likely to enter college within seven months of high school graduation than non-participating students.”
  • “Dual enrollment students who completed 20 or more credits in the first
    year of college were 28% more likely to persist through the second year in college than were students who did not complete dual enrollment courses.”

The data also suggests that dual enrollment “fosters more positive attitudes towards earning post-secondary degrees in students who did not previously hold these attitudes.”

Full report

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Accelerated Learning Options:
Moving the Needle on Access and Success – A Study of State and Institutional Policies and Practices
(2006. Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education)
Data in this report was drawn from a 50-state survey of public and private colleges and universities and analysis of their policies and practices by the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education.  The tables below summarize comparisons of four accelerated learning options (AP, IB, Tech Prep, and dual enrollment) across several criteria.
Page 26, Table 3.2
Does the college or university consider any accelerated learning option for purposes of admission and or credit requirements?

Accelerated Option Public Private All
AP 89% 94% 91%
91% 73% 85%
IB 43% 66% 51%
Tech-Prep 60% 16% 45%


Page 31, Table 3.10
Does the college or university grant elective or required college credit for accelerated learning options?

Accelerated Option Public Private All Public Private All
AP 75% 80% 77% 91% 92% 91%
77% 67% 73% 92% 78% 87%
IB 39% 60% 46% 40% 63% 48%
Tech-Prep 48% 20% 39% 53% 12% 39%


Full report

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The Postsecondary Achievement of Participants in Dual Enrollment: An Analysis of Student Outcomes in Two States
(2007. Columbia University, Community College Research Center)
In this comprehensive study researchers from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University examined the records of more than 300,000 dual enrollment students in Florida and New York.  They found that students who took dual enrollment courses in high school were more likely to:

  • Graduate from high school,
  • Enroll in college,
  • Start college in a 4-year institution,
  • Enroll in college fulltime and
  • Stay in college at least two years.

Three years after high school graduation, students who had participated in dual enrollment courses in high school had earned higher college GPAs and more postsecondary credits than their peers.

The full report is available at

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The Toolbox Revisited: Paths to Degree Completion from High School through College
(2006. U.S. Department of Education)
This national longitudinal study found that:  “The academic intensity of the student’s high school curriculum still counts more than anything else in precollegiate history in providing momentum toward completing a bachelor’s degree” (p. xviii).

“Less than 20 credits by the end of the first calendar year of enrollment … is a serious drag on degree completion…. It is all the more reason to begin the transition process in high school with expanded dual enrollment programs offering true postsecondary course work so that students enter higher education with a minimum of 6 additive credits to help them cross that 20-credit line. Six is good, 9 is better, and 12 is a guarantee of momentum” (p. xx).

Executive Summary