Research Study of Texas Dual Credit Programs and Courses

Lawrence B. Friedman, Lisa Hoogstra, Andrew Swanlund, Shazia R. Miller, Manyee Wong, Daniel O'Brien, Natalie Tucker, AIR
Greg Gibson, Joseph Shields, Cheyanne Rolf, Elissa Yeates, Gibson Consulting Group, Inc.

The Texas dual credit program allows high school students to earn both high school and college credits for completing courses offered by institutions of higher learning. Although dual credit courses often are taught on a secondary school campus to high school students only, a high school student also can take a course on a college campus or via distance education. Dual credit courses include academic and advanced technical courses that may serve as a pathway to academic degree programs or college-level workforce education courses. State law allows both school districts and colleges to obtain state funding for dual credit courses.

To provide a comprehensive view of the variations in the administration, costs, accessibility, and student participation in dual credit programs across the state, American Institutes for Research (AIR) conducted a research study for the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). The study relied on two main data sources: (1) existing administrative data on students participating in dual enrollment courses and (2) telephone surveys of relevant administrators. Operating on a short timeline of only three months, AIR released the findings of the study in March 2011, providing TEA, THECB and the 82nd Texas Legislature with a range of ways dual credit courses were made available to students; enrollment patterns; and the costs, financing, and payment for the courses. The report included suggestions regarding how the state can more efficiently provide dual credit courses and policy recommendations for the 82nd Texas Legislature regarding how to provide all students with the opportunity to earn 12 semester credit hours of college credit before graduating high school, how to promote the ability of students to access quality dual credit courses, and how to ensure efficient use of state resources regarding dual credit programs and courses.