I have made a few updates to my Sankey diagram that shows college enrollment by dually enrolled students. I really wish I had college enrollment data on non-dually enrolled students so I could compare the two groups.

I am publishing this update because my primary goal of this blog is to document for myself how to make better data visualizations.

Dual Enrollment College Pipeline

Twenty-one percent of public school 12th graders in Maryland during the 2019-2020 school year had a college record, that is they had been enrolled in a college class. The majority of these students participated in a dual enrollment program through their local school system. In fall 2020, the fall after they were slated to graduate from high school 79% of students who had a college record enrolled in college. This was during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those who enrolled in college, 75% enrolled at an in-State institution and 25% enrolled at an out-of-state institution. A little more than half of the in-State students (55%) enrolled at a community college, the remaining 45% enrolled at a public four-year or State-aided independent institution. Further, approximately half (51%) of students who enrolled in an in-State institution enrolled at their college of dual enrollment.

Source: Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center

Further Questions

I would be curious to know how college enrollment patterns of dual enrollment students compare to all public school 12th graders in Maryland. The Sankey graph above with that information would be much improved. Without that information, I am not really sure what it all means.

I am also interested in whether the dual enrollment credits earned transferred to the college in a meaningful way. According to MLDS data, students that took dual enrollment courses in high school earned an average of 2.14 credits.

Further, I wish that I had information on whether these students took AP or IB courses, which can also lead to college credit. I am curious if students are taking dual enrollment courses in addition to or instead of these courses. I wonder if the courses taken are primarily due to student choice, or due to the courses available at the student’s particular high school.

Finally, I am curious how these students perform in college.

Statewide about 14% of 12th graders in the 2019-2020 school year had participated in a dual enrollment program during high school; however, dual enrollment participation various by local school system. Approximately 50% of 12th graders from Frederick County Public School System participate in dual enrollment, while only about 3% of 12th graders from Anne Arundel County Public Schools participate.

In general, the counties with larger enrollment have fewer students participating in dual enrollment programs. Frederick County, and to a lesser extent Howard County, are the only larger systems with dual enrollment participation over the statewide average. Local school systems set their own rules about participation and establish relationships with colleges.

Overall 17 counties have dual enrollment programs

This map presents the same data in map format.

Dual Enrollment in Frederick County

Frederick County has the highest participation in dual enrollment programs in the State. Fifty percent of 12th graders in the county during the 2019-2020 school year participated in a dual enrollment program sometime during high school. As shown below, 75% of those who participated in dual enrollment earned between 0.5 and 2 credits.

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.

Today I am taking a look at the dual enrollment data published by the Maryland Longitudinal Data System (MLDS) Center.

According to the data, 85% of 12 graders in the 2018-2019 student year who earned dual enrollment credits between 9th and 12th grades (academic years 2015-2016 to 2018-2019) enrolled in college in fall 2019. Of those who enrolled in college: 36% enrolled in an in-State community college; 35% enrolled in an in-State (public or private) four-year college; and 28% enrolled in an out-of-state college. This is showed in the Sankey diagram below.

I wish I could match up the dual enrollment students with the general student population. It would be nice to see if the behavior of students that dually enrolled differs from the general student population. I will take a deeper look at the data in the future to see if I can use math to make any conclusions.

As of yet MLDS Center has not yet published the general college enrollment data for the 2018-2019 cohort year. However, typically, 50% or less of high school graduates immediately enroll in college. Thus, students that participate in dual enrollment programs (unsurprisingly) seem to enroll in college at a higher rate than students generally.

Source: Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center, dual enrollment courses and credits: 2018-2019

According to the data set, of the 6,237 students that enrolled in-State following participation in a dual enrollment program, 3,012 in-state students, or 48%, enrolled at the college of dual enrollment. A further 2,936 in-state students, 47%, participated in a dual enrollment program at a community college and enrolled at an in-state four-year institution.

notes about the Data

  • The data shows data on the college enrollment patterns for 2018-2019 12th grade high school students with dual enrllment activity at any point between 9th and 12th grade. The initial population was selected by identifying studetns who had noth a high school enrollment and a college enrollment recored in the 2018-2019 academic year (fall to spring). Summer enrollment information was excluded from this analysis.
  • This diagram is the result of me exploring the limits of the data and the graphing software. The numbers and math have not been checked.