Dual enrollment—a program in which high school students take college classes, earning credit for both—is growing at a rapid pace across America’s high schools and community colleges. These programs are an opportunity for high school students to be introduced to college-level coursework and support services and to earn college credit—and often, to do so at minimal or no cost to them. For many students from historically underserved populations, the value of this early entry into higher education cannot be overstated. As it stands now, however, some student populations are more likely than others to participate in dual enrollment. Further, not all students who participate in dual enrollment find long-term success at the postsecondary level.
Over two decades of investigating community college student engagement has taught CCCSE that it is crucial for community colleges to consider the student experience to enhance access and foster positive outcomes for students. Therefore, if colleges are to equitably support dually enrolled students, it is imperative that they understand the experiences of those students, especially those who are underrepresented. Thus, in collaboration with an advisory panel of experts, the Dual Enrollment Survey of Student Engagement (DESSE) was created.
DESSE is currently in the second administration of its pilot phase, and CCCSE plans to launch a large-scale field test in 2025.
A grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is making the project possible.