How effective is dual enrollment?
Does earning college credit during high school prepare students?
Thousands of Iowa high school students earn community college credit, yet education officials don't know how well-prepared those students are for college.
More than 38,200 high school students took classes last year for credit through community colleges, 50 percent more than the figure five years earlier, according to a new Iowa Department of Education study. Those students accounted for more than 25 percent of the enrollment at the state's community colleges.
State education officials, though, haven't tracked passing and failing rates of the classes and they don't know whether course work is as rigorous as that offered at the college level, officials said.
Officials, however, are in the process of collecting the data, said Roger Utman, administrator for the Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation at the Iowa Department of Education.
Iowa State University is also studying the performance of students who take the college classes through their high schools to see how prepared they are once they reach college, said Wolfgang Kliemann, ISU's chairman of the math department.
ISU researchers have found that community college students - including high school students who take advanced classes - have more problems with college coursework once they reach ISU, Kliemann said. They have not yet been able to look specifically at high school students who earned college credit, because they are waiting for information from the state, he said.