What Happens When You Combine High School and College?

The Impact of the Early College Model on Postsecondary Performance and Completion

Published in: Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Volume 42, Issue 2, pages 257–278 (June 2020). doi: 10.3102/0162373720912249

Posted on RAND.org on November 25, 2020

by Julie Edmunds, Fatih Unlu, Jane Furey, Elizabeth J. Glennie, Nina Arshavsky

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Early colleges are a new model of schooling in which the high school and college experiences are merged, shortening the total amount of time a student spends in school. This study uses a lottery-based experimental design to examine the impact of the model on longer term outcomes, including attainment of a postsecondary credential and academic performance in 4-year institutions. Results show that a significantly higher proportion of early college students were attaining postsecondary credentials. The results also show that early college students were completing their degrees more rapidly but that their performance in 4-year institutions was still comparable with the control students.

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