At the Blackboard Institute, we’re committed to improving student progression with actionable guidance drawn from Blackboard’s proximity to a large body of practice at all levels.  Our friends in both K-12 and higher education told us that dual enrollment – high school students taking college credits that count toward a diploma and degree – is an impactful and feasible way to improve student progression.  We took their advice to heart and started out on a year-long research project to share best practices for implementing and strengthening online dual enrollment programs.  To us, online is an underexplored and lower-cost medium for supplying dual enrollment classes to all students.  We’re about halfway to our goal of pulling together practice-driven guidance for the time- and resource-pressed educators we hear from each day – so they can do more for the students least likely to complete college.  Former superintendent Dr. Mary Bull – who’s worked closely with at-risk students – joined us in Columbus, OH to present the first stage of that research.  Here, Mary shares what we learned so far.  If you’re interested in more information, email us here!

I recently co-presented at the 2010 Ohio Educational Technology Conference with Garen Singer of the Blackboard Institute. We shared information and research about dual enrollment for advanced students, at-risk students, and online opportunities for dual enrollment. 

Numerous opportunities for dual enrollment for advanced students exist throughout the country.  And a few states initiated Early College High School Programs for capable at-risk students who otherwise may not have the support to make it to college.  Efficacy studies on these programs show great benefits to all types of students: increases academic opportunities & electives; increases student aspirations; prevents high school dropout; helps students acclimate to college life; reduces the cost of college; demonstrates potential benefits of college; develops academic skills.


Moreover, lessons learned from a small project in online dual enrollment for underserved students were used to develop the framework for a more successful program; a great model of continuous improvement.  Many thanks to Florida Virtual School for sharing what they learned so we could help others head down the right path!  Based on our initial research, effective practices include student qualification checks, student supports, data flow, clearly delineated FTE rules, and an atmosphere in which K-12 and HE share investment and accountability.

Dual enrollment holds great promise for blurring the lines between K-12 and college. Demand for dual enrollment, while minimal today, will explode. There is no doubt that online dual enrollment will be part of this transition and has the potential of quickly surpassing the existing model as all students become eligible to demonstrate mastery of both high school and college work simultaneously.  I encourage your support for dual enrollment in all its form as a way of increasing high school graduation rates and reducing college costs. 

Stay tuned…

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