An Introduction to "Early College"

Published In: Education Finance and Policy, Vol. 2, No. 2, Spring 2007, p. 175-187

Posted on RAND.org on March 31, 2007

by Dominic J. Brewer, Stefanie Howard, June Ahn

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Several national and international assessments have demonstrated that there has been little improvement in the performance of American high school students in recent decades. High school students are increasingly underprepared for transition into college-level course-work. One new approach to high school redesign, "early college," seeks to address these issues. The model features a rigorous academic course of study that engages students in college-level work in grades nine through fourteen. Early college is a subset of dual enrollment programs providing opportunities for students to complete high school and college credits with the same courses. The goal is to prepare students academically for college-level coursework while easing the transition to higher education. Early college offers promise in directly addressing student academic performance, attrition rates, and readiness for college, but further research is needed to determine its efficacy and scalability.

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