Advanced Placement Versus Dual Credit: The Long-Term Effects of Advanced Academics on Post-Secondary Success and Completion at a Public Four-Year Research University in a Border City

Elda Armendariz, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

Goldrick-Rab, Carter, and Wagner (2007) contend that “there are disproportionately few evaluations of program effectiveness, and thus the question of ‘what works’ is rarely adequately addressed in higher education. In other words, we have often failed to adequately connect theory to practice” (p. 2472). Due to the differing nature of the curricula for the Advanced Placement and Dual Credit Programs and the processes by which students can earn college credit in high school, most of the existing research focuses on the impact of the individual programs, which presents the need for future research on the relative effectiveness of the different programs (Perna, Rowan-Kenyon, Bell, Thomas, & Li, 2008). ^ The purpose of this non-experimental quantitative study is to evaluate the characteristics and postsecondary outcomes of students at a research university in a community near the border between the United States of America and the United States of Mexico who, while in high school, earned college credit only in advanced placement courses, students who took only dual credit courses in high school, students who earned credit in both advanced placement and dual credit courses, and students who took neither type of pre-college credit courses. In addition, this study aims to determine the intellectual development of current first-time freshmen enrolled at this university and explore the statistical significance of the intellectual development position according to the student group. “There is little empirical research on the impact of dual enrollment on student persistence and achievement, and even less on student development” (Hoffman, Vargas, & Santos, 2008). Theories on cognitive student development in college all stem from William Perry’s theory of intellectual and ethical development. The second component of this study assesses the intellectual development of first-time freshmen according to Perry’s position through the delivery of the Learning Environment Preferences instrument survey.^ On May 23, 2015, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 505, which prohibits a limit to the number of dual credit courses in which a student can enroll. Hence, the state is supporting the expansion of dual credit programs, and this legislation will significantly impact how secondary and postsecondary institutions align their college readiness initiatives. The results of this study found that a statistically significant difference exists between the postsecondary outcomes of Dual Credit students and non-Dual Credit students. In addition, students enrolled in a combination of Dual Credit and Advanced Placement high school courses significantly outperformed students solely enrolled in either program as related to first-year college GPA, persistence rate, and four and six-year graduation rate.^

Subject Area

Educational leadership

Recommended Citation

Armendariz, Elda, "Advanced Placement Versus Dual Credit: The Long-Term Effects of Advanced Academics on Post-Secondary Success and Completion at a Public Four-Year Research University in a Border City" (2017). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10280232.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI10280232

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