WWC review of this study

Smoothing the transition to postsecondary education: The impact of the Early College Model

Edmunds, J., Unlu, F., Glennie, E., Bernstein, L., Fesler, L., Furey, J., & Arshavsky, N. (2015). Retrieved from the SERVE website: http://www.serve.org/

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    718
     Students
    , grades
    9-PS
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: September 2017

Graduating school outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Five-year high school graduation rate (%)

Dropout Prevention vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Full sample;
1,594 students

85.4

81.7

Yes

 
 
7
Staying in school outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Continued enrollment (%)

Dropout Prevention vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample (Cohort 1, Pilot 1 and Pilot 2);
718 students

94

89

Yes

 
 
16

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    North Carolina

Setting

The study was conducted in 19 Early College High Schools in North Carolina that were oversubscribed and agreed to admit students using a lottery. Schools were located across the state, in both rural and urban areas. Students in the 2015 sample applied to attend a subset of 12 of these schools included in the 2011 publication.

Study sample

Sample characteristics for the analytic samples are not available. The randomized sample in the 2015 publication was 26.7% black, 8.1% Hispanic, and 60.6% white. The sample was 41% male, 40.7% first-generation college students, and 50.5% free/reduced price lunch eligible. 80.4 percent of the sample passed the 8th grade math exam and 79.7% passed the 8th grade reading exam. The sample included 2.9% disabled or impaired students, 14.9% gifted students, and 3.9% students who had ever been retained in a grade. The randomized sample in the 2011 publication was 68.25% white, 21.45% black, 5.57% Hispanic, 1.25% Asian, 0.56% American Indian, and 2.92% multi-racial. Forty-four percent of the sample qualified for free or reduced price lunch, 3.78% had a disability, and 2.47% had ever been retained.

Intervention Group

Students attended North Carolina Early College High Schools, which partnered with higher-education institutions and offered curricula that allowed students to complete both high school and associate’s degrees simultaneously. The schools focused on college readiness, high-quality teaching and learning, personal relationships between students and staff, high expectations, and staff commitment to a shared mission. Early College High Schools are small, autonomous schools that serve grades 9–12 or 9–13 (4 or 5 years). Teachers monitored students’ progress and actively intervened to provide extra assistance when students’ grades dropped or they fell off track.

Comparison Group

Students participated in regular classes and activities.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Edmunds, J. A., Bernstein, L., Glennie, E., Willse, J., Arshavsky, N., Unlu, F., . . . Dallas, A. (2010). Preparing students for college: The implementation and impact of the Early College High School Model. Peabody Journal of Education, 85(3), 348–364.

  • Edmunds, J. A., Bernstein, L., Unlu, F., Glennie, E., & Arshavsky, N. (2011, March). The impact of the Early College High School Model on core 9th and 10th grade student outcomes. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE) conference, Washington, DC.

At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: February 2017

Access and enrollment outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Planning to attend a 4-year college (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Grade: 10;
676 students

76

62

Yes

 
 
16
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Planning to attend a 4-year college (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Grade: 9;
1,604 students

73

70

No

--
Attainment outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Completed postsecondary credential (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Full sample;
1,651 students

30

4

Yes

 
 
42
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Completed postsecondary credential (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Minority;
568 students

20

1

Yes

 
 
47

Completed postsecondary credential (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Free/reduced-price lunch;
790 students

23

2

Yes

 
 
45

Completed postsecondary credential (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

4 Years

First-generation;
643 students

23

3

Yes

 
 
42

Completed postsecondary credential (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Non-minority;
1,061 students

36

6

Yes

 
 
41

Completed postsecondary credential (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Not first-generation;
950 students

35

6

Yes

 
 
40

Completed postsecondary credential (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Not free/reduced price lunch;
773 students

37

7

Yes

 
 
39
Attendance (high school) outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Absences (days)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
1,554 students

4.7

6.3

Yes

 
 
8
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Absences (days)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Grade: 11, not free/reduced-price lunch;
711 students

5.6

7.1

Yes

 
 
6

Absences (days)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Grade: 11 free/reduced-price lunch;
710 students

7.7

8.8

No

--
College readiness outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

On track for college at end of high school (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Full sample;
1,355 students

81

70

Yes

 
 
14
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

On track for college at the end of tenth grade (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Grade: 10;
1,355 students

89

73

Yes

 
 
25

On track for college at the end of ninth grade (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Grade: 9;
1,355 students

93

85

Yes

 
 
20

On track for college by the end of high school - Math (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
1,355 students

87

75

Yes

 
 
19

On track for college at the end of eleventh grade (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Grade: 11;
1,355 students

84

73

Yes

 
 
16

On track for college at end of high school (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

First-generation;
502 students

72

57

Yes

 
 
16

On track for college at end of high school (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Free/reduced-price lunch;
621 students

74

59

Yes

 
 
16

On track for college at end of high school (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Non-minority;
861 students

80

68

Yes

 
 
15

On track for college at the end of twelfth grade (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Grade: 12;
1,355 students

78

68

Yes

 
 
12

On track for college at end of high school (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Not free/reduced-price lunch;
675 students

83

75

Yes

 
 
12

On track for college at end of high school (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Not first-generation;
814 students

82

75

Yes

 
 
10

On track for college at end of high school (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Minority;
466 students

75

67

Yes

 
 
9

On track for college by the end of high school - Science (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
1,355 students

98

98

No

--

On track for college by the end of high school - Social Studies (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
1,355 students

99

99

No

--

On track for college by the end of high school - English (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
1,355 students

97

98

Yes

-10
 
 
Completing school outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Five-year high school graduation rate (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Full sample;
1,594 students

85

82

Yes

 
 
5
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Five-year high school graduation rate (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Free/reduced-price lunch;
767 students

84

75

Yes

 
 
13

Five-year high school graduation rate (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Not free/reduced-price lunch;
749 students

92

88

Yes

 
 
11

Five-year high school graduation rate (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Minority;
546 students

88

83

Yes

 
 
10

Five-year high school graduation rate (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Not first-generation;
915 students

90

86

Yes

 
 
9

Five-year high school graduation rate (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Non-minority;
1,026 students

86

81

Yes

 
 
9

Five-year high school graduation rate (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

5 Years

First-generation;
623 students

82

78

No

--
General academic achievement (high school) outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Passed the end-of-course exam in Biology (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Grade: 10;
676 students

68

53

Yes

 
 
15
More Outcomes

Passed the end-of-course exam in Civics and Economics (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Grade: 10;
676 students

80

71

Yes

 
 
12

Passed the end-of-course exam in English I (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Grade: 10;
676 students

91

86

Yes

 
 
12

Passed the end-of-course exam in three or more college prep math courses (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Grade: 10;
676 students

39

28

Yes

 
 
12
Staying in school outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Continued enrollment (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
676 students

94

89

Yes

 
 
16
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Continued enrollment (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Grade: 11 free/reduced-price lunch;
710 students

92

83

Yes

 
 
20

Continued enrollment (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Grade: 11 not free/reduced-price lunch;
711 students

95

89

Yes

 
 
20

Dropped out (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Grade: 11 non free/reduced-price lunch;
711 students

0.3

0.6

Yes

 
 
16

Dropped out (%)

Dual Enrollment Programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Grade: 11 free/reduced-price lunch;
710 students

1.3

1.9

Yes

 
 
9

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 51% Free or reduced price lunch

  • Female: 59%
    Male: 41%
  • Race
    Black
    27%
    Not specified
    13%
    White
    61%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    8%
    Not Hispanic
    92%

  • Rural, Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    North Carolina

Setting

This study took place in school districts throughout the state of North Carolina, including schools located in rural and urban settings with diverse demographics.

Study sample

All participants applied to early college high schools in the eighth grade and began their Early College High School programs or traditional high school in the ninth grade of high school (during the 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08, and 2008–09 school years) and were followed through the sixth year after starting ninth grade. Eighteen cohorts of students were represented in this study. The final longitudinal sample included 1,651 students (938 intervention; 713 comparison). The intervention group was 59% White, 28% Black, 9% Hispanic, and 41% male, while the comparison group was 63% White, 25% Black, 7% Hispanic, and 41% male. In both groups, 41% of the students were first-generation college students. In addition, 51% of intervention group students were free/reduced-price lunch eligible versus 50% of comparison group students. In the intervention group, 18% of the students were underprepared in math (as operationalized by passing eighth-grade standardized tests) and 21% were underprepared in reading. In the comparison group, 22% of the students were underprepared in math and 20% were underprepared in reading.

Intervention Group

North Carolina’s early college high school model includes a program of study (grades 9–12 or 9–13) intended to lead to an associate degree or 2 years of college credit within 4–5 years. Operationally, the model includes rigorous instruction, staff collaboration and professional development, a focus on building positive relationships between students and staff, and student supports. In contrast to traditional high schools, the ECHS in North Carolina are typically located on college campuses, are small (fewer than 400 students), have autonomous governance, and require students to complete 2 years of college credits while in high school.

Comparison Group

The comparison students were assigned to the high school they would have attended if not granted admission by lottery to the early college high school.

Support for implementation

The ECHS in this study collaborated with their higher education partner to develop a curriculum of high school and college courses students would take to graduate with a diploma and 2 years of transferable college credit. Two of the design principles of North Carolina’s Learn and Earn ECHS model (Professionalism and Leadership) also supported implementation. As part of the Professionalism principle, teachers received ongoing professional development, collaborated with other staff members, and had collective responsibility and decision-making. As part of the Leadership principle, staff worked together to create a shared mission to improve student outcomes.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Luna, G., & Fowler, M. (2011). Evaluation of achieving a college education plus: A credit-based transition program. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 35(9), 673–688. doi:10.1080/10668920903527050

  • Arshavsky, N., & Edmunds, J. A. (2014, April). The impact of Early College High Schools on mathematics teaching and learning. Paper presented at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Research conference, New Orleans, LA.

  • Bernstein, L., Edmunds, J., & Fesler, L. (2014). Closing the performance gap: The impact of the Early College High School Model on underprepared students. Evanston, IL: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness.

  • Bernstein, L., Edmunds, J., & Unlu, F. (2014, April). Catching up underprepared students in early college high schools: Reducing the performance gap. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Philadelphia, PA.

  • Bernstein, L., Yamaguchi, R., Unlu, F., Edmunds, J., Glennie, E., Willse, J., . . Dallas, A. (2010, March). Early findings from the implementation and impact study of Early College High School. Paper presented at the Spring Meeting of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, Washington, DC.

  • Edmunds, J., Unlu, F., Glennie, E., Bernstein, L., Fesler, L., Furey, J., & Arshavsky, N. (2015, Novmeber). Facilitating the transition to postsecondary education: The impact of the Early College Model. Paper presented at the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management, Miami, FL.

  • Edmunds, J., Unlu, F., Glennie, E., & Fesler, L. (2015, November). Facilitating the transition to postsecondary education: The impact of early colleges. Paper presented at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management conference, Miami, FL.

  • Edmunds, J. A. (2012). Early Colleges: A new model of schooling focusing on college readiness. New Directions for Higher Education, 158, 81–89.

  • Edmunds, J. A., Arshavsky, N., & Fesler, L. (2015, April). A mixed methods examination of college readiness in an innovative high school setting. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.

  • Edmunds, J. A., Bernstein, L., Glennie, E., Willse, J., Arshavsky, N., Unlu, F., . . . Dallas, A. (2010). Preparing students for college: The implementation and impact of the Early College High School Model. Peabody Journal of Education, 85(3), 348–364.

  • Edmunds, J. A., Bernstein, L., Unlu, F., Glennie, E., & Arshavsky, N. (2011, March). The impact of the Early College High School Model on core 9th and 10th grade student outcomes. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE) conference, Washington, DC.

  • Edmunds, J. A., Bernstein, L., Unlu, F., Glennie, E., & Smith, A. (2013, April). Graduating on-time: The impact of an innovative high school reform model on high school graduation rates. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.

  • Edmunds, J. A., Bernstein, L., Unlu, F., Glennie, E., Willse, J., Smith, A., & Arshavsky, N. (2012). Expanding the start of the college pipeline: Ninth-grade findings from an experimental study of the impact of the Early College High School Model. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 5(2), 136–159.

  • Edmunds, J. A., Unlu, F., Glennie, E., Smith, A., Fesler, L., & Bernstein, L. (2013, November). The impact of Early College High Schools on college readiness and college enrollment. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, Washington, DC.

  • Edmunds, J. A., Willse, J., Arshavsky, N., & Dallas, A. (2013). Mandated engagement: The impact of Early College High Schools. Teachers College Record, 115(7).

  • Edmunds, J. A., Willse, J., Unlu, F., Glennie, E., & Bernstein, L. (2014, September). Increasing high school students’ engagement: The impact of a high school reform model focused on college readiness. Paper presented at the Fall Meeting of the Society of Research on Educational Effectiveness, Washington, DC.

  • Unlu, F., Yamaguchi, R., Bernstein, L., & Edmunds, J. (2010, March). Estimating impacts on program-related subgroups using propensity score matching: Evidence from the Early College High School study. Paper presented at annual meeting of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, Washington, DC.

  • Edmunds, J. A., Unlu, F., Smith, A., Glennie, E., & Bernstein, L. (2013, April). The impact of Early College High Schools on low-income students. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.

At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: September 2016

Attainment outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Completed postsecondary credential (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Full sample;

30

4

Yes

 
 
42
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Completed postsecondary credential (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Minority;

20

1

Yes

 
 
47

Completed postsecondary credential (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Free/reduced-price lunch;

23

2

Yes

 
 
45

Completed postsecondary credential (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

4 Years

First generation;

23

3

Yes

 
 
42

Completed postsecondary credential (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Non-minority;

36

6

Yes

 
 
41

Completed postsecondary credential (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Not first generation;

35

6

Yes

 
 
40

Completed postsecondary credential (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Not free/reduced-price lunch;

37

7

Yes

 
 
39
Attendance (high school) outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Absences (days)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Full sample;

4.7

6.3

Yes

 
 
8
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Absences (days)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Eleventh grade, not free/ reduced-price lunch;

5.6

7.1

Yes

 
 
6

Absences (days)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Eleventh grade, free/reduced-price lunch;

7.7

8.8

No

--
College readiness outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

On track for college at end of high school (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Full sample;

81

70

Yes

 
 
14
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

On track for college at the end of tenth grade (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Grade: 10;

89

73

Yes

 
 
25

On track for college at the end of ninth grade (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Grade: 9;

93

85

Yes

 
 
20

On track for college by the end of high school - Math (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Full sample;

87

75

Yes

 
 
19

On track for college at the end of eleventh grade (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Grade: 11;

84

73

Yes

 
 
16

On track for college at end of high school (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

First generation;

72

57

Yes

 
 
16

On track for college at end of high school (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Free/reduced-price lunch;

74

59

Yes

 
 
16

On track for college at end of high school (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Non-minority;

80

68

Yes

 
 
15

On track for college at the end of twelfth grade (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Grade: 12;

78

68

Yes

 
 
12

On track for college at end of high school (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Not free/reduced-price lunch;

83

75

Yes

 
 
12

On track for college at end of high school (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Not first generation;

82

75

Yes

 
 
10

On track for college at end of high school (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Minority;

75

67

Yes

 
 
9

On track for college by the end of high school - Science (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Full sample;

98

98

No

--

On track for college by the end of high school - Social Studies (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Full sample;

99

99

No

--

On track for college by the end of high school - English (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Full sample;

97

98

Yes

-10
 
 
Completing school outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Five-year high school graduation rate (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Full sample;

85

82

Yes

 
 
5
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Five-year high school graduation rate (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Free/reduced-price lunch;

84

75

Yes

 
 
13

Five-year high school graduation rate (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Not free/reduced-price lunch;

92

88

Yes

 
 
11

Five-year high school graduation rate (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Minority;

88

83

Yes

 
 
10

Five-year high school graduation rate (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Not first generation;

90

86

Yes

 
 
9

Five-year high school graduation rate (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Non-minority;

86

81

Yes

 
 
9

Five-year high school graduation rate (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

5 Years

First generation;

82

78

No

--
General academic achievement (high school) outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Passed the end-of-course exam in Biology (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Grade: 10;

68

53

Yes

 
 
15
More Outcomes

Passed the end-of-course exam in Civics and Economics (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Grade: 10;

80

71

Yes

 
 
12

Passed the end-of-course exam in English I (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Grade: 10;

91

86

Yes

 
 
12

Passed the end-of-course exam in three or more college prep math courses (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Grade: 10;

39

28

Yes

 
 
12
Staying in school outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Continued enrollment (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Full sample;

94

89

Yes

 
 
16
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Continued enrollment (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Eleventh grade, free/reduced-price lunch;

92

83

Yes

 
 
20

Continued enrollment (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Eleventh grade, not free/ reduced-price lunch;

95

89

Yes

 
 
20

Dropped out (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Eleventh grade, free/ reduced-price lunch;

1.3

1.9

Yes

-9
 
 

Dropped out (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

1 Years

Eleventh grade, not free/ reduced-price lunch;

0.3

0.6

Yes

-16
 
 

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 50% Free or reduced price lunch

  • Male: 41%
  • Race
    Black
    27%
    White
    61%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    8%
    Not Hispanic
    92%

  • Rural, Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    North Carolina

Setting

This study took place in school districts throughout the state of North Carolina and included schools located in rural and urban settings with diverse demographics.

Study sample

The intervention group was 59.0% White, 27.9% Black, 8.6% Hispanic, and 40.6% male, while the comparison group was 62.7% White, 25.0% Black, 7.3% Hispanic, and 41.3% male. The study reported on first generation college student status (40.8% of the intervention group and 40.5% of the comparison group), and free/reduced-price lunch eligibility (51.1% intervention, 49.7% comparison).

Intervention Group

The North Carolina’s ECHS model includes a program of study (grades 9–12 or 9–13) intended to lead to an associate degree or 2 years of college credit within 4–5 years. Operationally, the model includes rigorous instruction, staff collaboration and professional development, a focus on building positive relationships between students and staff, and student supports. In contrast to traditional high schools, the ECHS in North Carolina are typically located on college campuses, are small (fewer than 400 students), have autonomous governance, and require students to complete 2 years of college credits while in high school.

Comparison Group

The comparison condition was assignment to the high school the student would have attended if not granted admission by lottery to the ECHS.

Support for implementation

The ECHS in this study collaborated with their higher education partners to develop a curriculum plan of high school and college courses that would enable students to graduate with a diploma and 2 years of transferable college credit. Two of the design principles of North Carolina’s Learn and Earn ECHS model (Professionalism and Leadership) also supported implementation. As part of the Professionalism Principle, teachers received ongoing professional development, collaboration with other staff members, and had collective responsibilities and decision making. As part of the Leadership Principle, staff worked together to create a shared mission and improve student outcomes.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Bernstein, L., Edmunds, J., & Fesler, L. (2014). Closing the performance gap: The impact of the Early College High School Model on underprepared students. Evanston, IL: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness.

  • Arshavsky, N., & Edmunds, J. A. (2014, April). The impact of Early College High Schools on mathematics teaching and learning. Paper presented at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Research conference, New Orleans, LA.

  • Unlu, F., Yamaguchi, R., Bernstein, L., & Edmunds, J. (2010, March). Estimating impacts on program-related subgroups using propensity score matching: Evidence from the Early College High School study. Paper presented at annual meeting of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, Washington, DC.

  • Edmunds, J. A., Willse, J., Unlu, F., Glennie, E., & Bernstein, L. (2014, September). Increasing high school students’ engagement: The impact of a high school reform model focused on college readiness. Paper presented at the Fall Meeting of the Society of Research on Educational Effectiveness, Washington, DC.

  • Edmunds, J. A., Willse, J., Arshavsky, N., & Dallas, A. (2013). Mandated engagement: The impact of Early College High Schools. Teachers College Record, 115(7).

  • Edmunds, J. A., Unlu, F., Smith, A., Glennie, E., & Bernstein, L. (2013, April). The impact of Early College High Schools on low-income students. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.

  • Edmunds, J. A., Unlu, F., Glennie, E., Smith, A., Fesler, L., & Bernstein, L. (2013, November). The impact of Early College High Schools on college readiness and college enrollment. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, Washington, DC.

  • Edmunds, J. A., Bernstein, L., Unlu, F., Glennie, E., & Smith, A. (2013, April). Graduating on-time: The impact of an innovative high school reform model on high school graduation rates. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.

  • Edmunds, J. A., Bernstein, L., Unlu, F., Glennie, E., & Arshavsky, N. (2011, March). The impact of the Early College High School Model on core 9th and 10th grade student outcomes. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE) conference, Washington, DC.

  • Edmunds, J. A., Bernstein, L., Glennie, E., Willse, J., Arshavsky, N., Unlu, F., . . . Dallas, A. (2010). Preparing students for college: The implementation and impact of the Early College High School Model. Peabody Journal of Education, 85(3), 348–364.

  • Edmunds, J. A., Arshavsky, N., & Fesler, L. (2015, April). A mixed methods examination of college readiness in an innovative high school setting. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.

  • Edmunds, J. A. (2012). Early Colleges: A new model of schooling focusing on college readiness. New Directions for Higher Education, 158, 81–89.

  • Edmunds, J., Unlu, F., Glennie, E., & Fesler, L. (2015, November). Facilitating the transition to postsecondary education: The impact of early colleges. Paper presented at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management conference, Miami, FL.

  • Edmunds, J., Unlu, F., Glennie, E., Bernstein, L., Fesler, L., Furey, J., & Arshavsky, N. (2015, Novmeber). Facilitating the transition to postsecondary education: The impact of the Early College Model. Paper presented at the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management, Miami, FL.

  • Bernstein, L., Yamaguchi, R., Unlu, F., Edmunds, J., Glennie, E., Willse, J., . . Dallas, A. (2010, March). Early findings from the implementation and impact study of Early College High School. Paper presented at the Spring Meeting of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, Washington, DC.

  • Bernstein, L., Edmunds, J., & Unlu, F. (2014, April). Catching up underprepared students in early college high schools: Reducing the performance gap. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Philadelphia, PA.

  • Edmunds, J. A., Bernstein, L., Unlu, F., Glennie, E., Willse, J., Smith, A., & Arshavsky, N. (2012). Expanding the start of the college pipeline: Ninth-grade findings from an experimental study of the impact of the Early College High School Model. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 5(2), 136–159.

 

Your export should download shortly as a zip archive.

This download will include data files for study and findings review data and a data dictionary.

Connect With the WWC

loading
back to top