The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) presents a unique opportunity for states and districts to help more students enter and complete college by implementing school designs that ease the transition between high school and higher education. College in high school programs, which include early college, dual enrollment and concurrent enrollment programs, allow students to earn college credits while in high school, offering the opportunity to increase access to and success in postsecondary education for students of all backgrounds. ESSA explicitly encourages states to use these approaches.
ESSA encourages states and school districts to consider dual enrollment and early college in three ways:
- States can use federal funds to support college coursework
- States can include dual enrollment and early college to enhance their accountability systems and increase data transparency
- States can include dual enrollment and early college in their written plans to improve achievement in the lowest-performing schools. In addition, ESSA provides the first federal definitions for “dual or concurrent enrollment” and “early college high school”
For this analysis, content is derived ESSA and Personalized Learning: State by State and final state ESSA plans. The U.S. Department of Education has approved all plans except for Florida’s. This analysis uses Florida’s April 2018 submitted plan. Because the information in this report is only based on state ESSA plans, in some cases, it represents only part of the policy work happening in states to advance college in high school programs. However, ESSA plans do provide an important lens that stakeholders can leverage as they mobilize to continuously
refine and improve high quality college in high school systems.
Read more in this paper published by the College in High School Alliance, of which KnowledgeWorks is a founding member.