The impact of earning college credit “early” as a high school-aged student interests me. As with many things in education, what is defined as dual enrollment depends on the program or the researcher. Factors that are considered in the definition include, when the course was taken during the year (summer programs often are not included), who paid for the course, and whether the student received both high school and college credit for the course.

I am trying to understand what dual enrollment “looks like” in Maryland using data published by the Maryland Longitudinal Data System (MLDS) Center. To make this sunburst chart I took the number of 12th graders enrolled in Maryland public schools for the 2019-2020 school year from the Maryland Report Card. Then I took dual enrollment information published by MLDS Center: the number of public 12th-grade students with a college enrollment record and the number of students with a dual enrollment record. Students with dual enrollment record have information on the number of college credits earned while in high school.

According to this data, approximately 20% of high school seniors had a college record, and about 14% had taken a dual enrollment course. About 45% of those who had taken a dual enrollment course earned between 0.5 and 1 credits. Almost 2% of students who had taken a dual enrollment course, 160 students, earned 12 credits or more.

It is unknown how many dual enrollment credits transferred and counted towards degree requirements.

Click on “Flagged Dual Enrollment” for information on credits earned by these students.

Data Notes From the MLDS Center data

This table provides data on the dual enrollment credits based upon dual enrollment activity that spans 9th to 12th grade for high school students in 12th grade in 2019-2020 academic year.  The following definitions apply:
The initial population was selected by identifying students who had both a high school enrollment record and a college enrollment record in the 2019-2020 academic year (fall to spring). Summer enrollment information was excluded from this analysis.   For the portions of this analysis that related to courses and credits, the initial population was reduced using the following logic:
1) the student’s course record must be flagged as a dual enrollment course (comprehensive course data is not available for all local school systems), and
2) the student must have both a college enrollment record for the same period as the high school course record, and
3) the course must have credits (0 credit courses were excluded which represent <1% of all courses flagged as dual enrollment courses).

Course records identified as duplicate were unduplicated to include only a single record in the analysis. The duplicate records appear to be a data reporting issue. Unduplicating the records may understate the overall course record total.

Earned credits were calculated based upon the course completion status of passed.  Attempted credits were calculated based upon the course status of passed, failed, withdrawn, and incomplete.  Due to timing of data extraction course outcome data may be incomplete.  It is possible that students not counted as earning credit did earn credit once courses with the status of incomplete were resolved.  It is also possible that courses with the status of failed or withdrawn had grade changes that occurred after data extraction.   All credit values were derived from course records from the Maryland State Department of Education.

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