Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Michele Moses

Second Advisor

William Penuel

Third Advisor

Susan Jurow

Fourth Advisor

Andrew Maul

Fifth Advisor

Kenneth Foote

Abstract

This dissertation examined high school concurrent enrollment participation in relation to the college transition, choice, readiness, and success of underrepresented student groups within the state of Colorado, as well as the implications of such programs on the equality of educational opportunities for this student population. Concurrent enrollment programs allow students an opportunity to engage in actual college classes while still in high school, with the intention of increasing college readiness and college graduation levels. However, while a burgeoning literature has argued for the promise of such programs, more rigorous, empirical studies are needed to understand the underlying effects of concurrent enrollment programs on underrepresented students' college transition process, choice, readiness, and success outcomes.

Incorporating a Policy Theory of Action framework, this dissertation answered the following research questions using both qualitative and quantitative methods. The qualitative portion of the dissertation explored: a) The types, and use, of resource and information networks that underrepresented students gain access to as a result of their participation in concurrent enrollment, b) How concurrent enrollment participation shapes underrepresented students' attitudes, expectations, values, and their understanding of college and the worth of pursing a college degree and c) How underrepresented students' concurrent enrollment experiences compare to other college preparation program alternatives found within pre-college settings?

In the quantitative portion of the dissertation, a large-scale dataset from the Colorado Department of Higher Education was used to assess the relationship between underrepresented students' participation in concurrent enrollment and the following: a) What types of institutions students attend for postsecondary education, b) Whether students will need academic remediation during their first year of postsecondary schooling, and 3) Students' first year cumulative GPA. This research has implications for policymakers, scholars, educators, and practitioners who want to better understand underrepresented students' experiences with concurrent enrollment programs.

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