Research tells us that high school students who take college
courses while they are still in high school benefit from the
experience in both systems. To capitalize on the benefits of this
dual enrollment, California and other states have moved to
increase high school students’ access to college courses.
Because California lacks an integrated state data system to
connect information from K-12 to higher education, researchers
have been hampered in their efforts to understand to what extent
the state’s high school students participate in dual enrollment.
UC Davis researchers have matched high school and community
college datasets to provide a clearer picture of college
course-taking among California public high school students
College course taking by high
school students in California is more prevalent than previously
understood: 18.2% of high school students took a course at a
community college at some point during 2018-19 academic year.
Participation has grown in recent years among all racial and
socioeconomic groups of students, but disparities in
participation persist. Latinx, African-American and
socioeconomically disadvantaged students were underrepresented in
community college course-taking compared to their share of
overall high school students.
Given the demonstrated benefits of dual enrollment, the equity
concerns are significant.