WWC review of this study

The effects of accelerated college credit programs on educational attainment in Rhode Island. REL 2021–103.

Shields, K. A., Bailey, J., Hanita, M., & Zhang, X. (2021). Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED612887

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
     examining 
    3,916
     Students
    , grades
    9-PS

Reviewed: September 2021

At least one finding shows moderate evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations
College enrollment outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

College enrollment within one year of graduation

Accelerated college credit programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
3,916 students

84.00

54.00

Yes

 
 
32
 
College readiness outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Enrollment in developmental education courses in first year of college

Accelerated college credit programs vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
3,916 students

39.00

21.00

Yes

 
 
20
 
High School Completion outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

High School Graduation

Accelerated college credit programs vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
3,916 students

96.00

75.00

Yes

 
 
40
 


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 5% English language learners

  • Female: 52%
    Male: 48%

  • Rural, Suburban, Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
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    • M
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    • Q
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    • U
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    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
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    • l
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    • r
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    • w
    • y

    Rhode Island
  • Race
    Other or unknown
    100%

Setting

The study includes students who were in 9th grade in a Rhode Island high school in the 2013-2014 school year.

Study sample

The total study sample included 3,916 students from 57 high schools: 1,958 treatment and 1,958 comparison students. Just over one-third (34%) of students were of a racial or ethnic minority background, and just under half were male (48%). Very few (5%) were multilingual learners or had IEPs (7%), and over one-third (37%) were eligible for the National School Lunch Program.

Intervention Group

The intervention included enrollment in any of three accelerated college credit programs while in high school: (1) dual enrollment, (2) concurrent enrollment, and (3) taking an Advanced Placement (AP) test. In the dual enrollment programs, students enrolled in courses in a local community college (two-year public or private college), on campus or online. Instructions was delivered by college faculty. The tuition for enrollment in Rhode Island public colleges was paid for by the state. Students earned both high school and college credit. In concurrent enrollment programs, students enrolled in approved college courses at their own high school, taught by high school teachers who are adjunct faculty members at a college. There were no additional costs to students for these courses. Students earned both high school and college credit. Students enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) courses, taught by regular high school teachers, for no additional cost but must pay a fee to take the College Board-administered AP test. Data on actual enrollment in AP courses was not available, so the study only considered whether students took an AP test.

Comparison Group

Students in the matched comparison condition were students in high school who did not participate in any accelerated college credit program.

 

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