Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Jobs for the Future Releases New Report

On Thursday, Jobs for the Future hosted a conference call to release its new report, "On Ramp to College," which highlights the expansion of dual-enrollment programs in the states as a means of expanding college opportunity, particularly among student groups who may not view themselves as college-bound. These programs are designed to allow high school students to take college-level courses during their junior or senior years. Courses are taught either by high school teachers, adjunct professors at the high school or by college professors on a college campus. Nationally, about 13 percent of high school students are enrolled in dual-enrollment courses, but that percentage can be as high as 30 percent in some states. Dual-enrollment programs arguably can be effective in encouraging students who might not consider themselves college-bound to pursue postsecondary study.

Although this news is promising, the report suggests that minority students are participating at much lower rates and, in some instances, not at all. In fact, many schools with high minority populations do not offer dual enrollment programs, suggesting an equity issue. But, as states continue to experience pressure to produce more college graduates, dual-enrollment programs can be used to improve participation among minority and low-income students.

"On Ramp to College" reviews trends in a growing number of states and shows how dual enrollment can serve as an "on ramp" to postsecondary education. It highlights successful statewide dual-enrollment efforts, provides a step-by-step plan for policymakers to create successful programs and assess current approaches and guides state officials in providing a wide range of students equal access to dual enrollment and making the strategy part of a continuous system for grades 9-16.


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