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.
Researchers from the
Lab (UC Davis) have matched high school and
community college datasets to provide a clearer picture of
college course-taking among California public high school
College course taking by high school students in California is
more prevalent than previously understood: 18.2% of high school
graduates from the 2018-19 cohort took a course at a
community college at some point during their high school
Participation has grown in recent years among all racial and
socioeconomic groups of students, but disparities in
participation, while shrinking, persist. Latinx, Black
and socioeconomically disadvantaged students are underrepresented
in community college course taking compared to their share of
overall high school students.
There may be reason for optimism, however, in that a
growing type of structured dual enrollment — courses that
exclusively enroll high school students — appears to have more
equitable participation across racial/ethnic subgroups.
Despite increases in dual enrollment in recent years, student
opportunity to take community college courses often depends on
the high school they attend.