Effects of Dual-Credit Enrollment and Early College High School on Utah Public Education

Richard E Haskell


This study considers the effects of Dual-Credit Enrollment (DCE) and Early College High School (ECHS) programs on the Utah’s 2008 and 2009 public high graduation cohorts via an examination of the Utah Data Alliance longitudinal public education dataset.  The study assesses high school graduation rates, dual course credits earned, higher education enrollment, time-to-completion, and graduation outcomes with a focus towards how these accelerated learning programs effect the student household and state, specifically, and public education finance, generally.

As participation in dual-credit programs is voluntary and by self-selection, the study employs Propensity Score Matching method (PMS) as a quasi-experimental design methodology in an effort to limit the endogeneity bias present in such non-experimental data. Although PMS offers many advantages, its strength as an estimator is dependent on the existence of complete and quality matching variables. To assure accurate model specifications given the available data, Receiving Operator Characteristic (ROC) Analysis is applied to variations on the PMS models.

Estimated outcomes reflect positive effects for the examined student populations differentiated by program participation, with the strongest outcomes arising from ECHS participation. The economic effects of accumulating higher education course credits and decreases in higher education time-to-completion may yield the most interesting outcomes, enjoy the strongest causal claims, and result in measurable household and state level savings. These outcomes may also reveal potential weakness in the structure of higher education course and major programming, and the difficulty presented as high school students make higher education decisions.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/aef.v3i2.1323


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