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. (2017). Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 10(2), 297-325. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED575019

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    1,651
     Students
    , grades
    9-PS

Reviewed: August 2017

At least one finding shows strong evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Access and enrollment outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
ESSA
rating

Postsecondary enrollment - two-year institution

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Full sample;
1,651 students

0.99

0.57

Yes

 
 
34
 
More Outcomes

Postsecondary enrollment

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Full sample;
1,651 students

0.99

0.74

Yes

 
 
25
 

Postsecondary enrollment - four-year institution

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Full sample;
1,651 students

0.40

0.32

Yes

 
 
6
 
Attainment outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
ESSA
rating

Associates degree attainment

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Full sample;
1,651 students

0.28

0.03

Yes

 
 
44
 
More Outcomes

Postsecondary degree attainment

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Full sample;
1,651 students

0.56

0.04

Yes

 
 
42
 

Technical credential attainment

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Full sample;
1,651 students

0.02

0.01

Yes

 
 
9
 

Bachelor's degree attainment

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

6 Years

Full sample;
1,651 students

0.01

0.00

Yes

N/A
Completing school outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
ESSA
rating

Five-year high school graduation rate (%)

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

5 Years

Full sample;
1,594 students

0.88

0.81

No

--
Credit accumulation outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
ESSA
rating

College credits earned in high school

Early College High School vs. Business as usual

4 Years

Full sample;
1,437 students

21.60

2.80

Yes

 
 
37
 

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 51% Free or reduced price lunch

  • Male: 41%
  • Race
    Black
    27%
    White
    60%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    8%
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    North Carolina

Setting

Students participating in the study applied to attend one of 12 early college high schools in North Carolina. Students who were not admitted to the early college high school attended their traditional district high school or another high school. All participating early college high schools had more applicants than space available.

Study sample

The study sample was 26.7% black, 8.3% Hispanic, and 60.2% white. The sample was 41% male, 40.8% first-generation college students, and 50.7% free/reduced price lunch eligible. 80 percent of the sample passed the 8th grade math exam and 79.5% passed the 8th grade reading exam. The sample included 2.9% disabled or impaired students, 14.8% gifted students, and 4.1% students who had ever been retained.

Intervention Group

The study examines the effectiveness of the early college high school model, which is a school reform model of concurrent enrollment in high school and college. The study took place in North Carolina. The early college high schools that participated in the study were primarily located on a two- or four-year college campus. Early college high school students are expected to take a college preparatory course of study and graduate with two years of transferable college credit or an associate's degree. Early college high schools coordinate with their college partners to offer courses that allow students to earn a high school degree and college credit, including dual-credit courses. Most early college high schools allow students five years to complete a degree. North Carolina early college high schools are expected to adhere to six design principles: ensuring that students are ready for college, instilling powerful teaching and learning, providing high student/staff personalization, redefining professionalism, leadership, and implementing a purposeful design.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison condition generally enrolled in the traditional high school in their district. Two percent of students enrolled in early college high schools.

Support for implementation

The study does not describe any support for implementation. Schools were expected to implement a specific set of principles developed by North Carolina New Schools, a public-private partnership that managed the early college high schools in North Carolina.

 

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