A Leg Up on College

Dual Enrollment in California

Research from Wheelhouse, PACE and the CA EdLab

A Rising Tide Infographic Report

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 statewide.

A Rising Tide reveals that:

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.

Download the Rising Tide infographic.

Download A Leg Up on College, the original report.

See the Presentations: Researchers and college leaders presented A Leg Up On College: Dual Enrollment Growth Across California’s Community Colleges at the Community College League of California annual conference In November 2020. 


Dual Enrollment in CaliforniaOn February 11, 2020, EdSource, PACE and Wheelhouse hosted a live webinar with a panel of experts to explore dual enrollment. View the webinar here.

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