DUAL ENROLLMENT

MASSACHUSETTS

Massachusetts created dual enrollment programs in 1993, but state funding to support such programs was suspended in 2001. In 2008, the legislature restored an appropriation for dual enrollment with the creation of the Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Program. The CDEP enables high school students to get a head start on their college careers and facilitates the transition from high school to postsecondary education for students who may not be college-bound. Courses in the CDEP are offered on college campuses, online, or at the high school as “contract courses” taught by college faculty. The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education is the fiscal agent for CDEP. DHE and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education share management and support responsibilities for the program.

The program was supported by a $2 million appropriation in 2008, but funding dropped to $750,000 in the 2009-10 school year and has remained at that level. As a result, the number of students enrolled in the CDEP declined from School Year 2008-09 to School Year 2009-10, despite growing demand from students and families.

A key strength of the CDEP guidelines is their support for the participation of low-income students in college course-taking opportunities. Students in the program can enroll in college-level coursework free of charge.  CDEP is one of the few state dual enrollment programs which permits the use of public funding to cover the cost of textbooks, lab fees, and transportation.

 

Policies

States should broaden eligibility requirements to permit students to participate in credit-bearing, college-level courses based on proficiency in those subjects even if they are not proficient in others. Student eligibility should also be jointly determined by secondary and postsecondary and use multiple measures: a combination of tests, end-of-course grades, teacher recommendations, and students’ work portfolios.

POLICY ELEMENT: Eligibility requirements are determined by the secondary and postsecondary sectors together.

Not in Evidence

Postsecondary institutions determine eligibility requirements for concurrent enrollment programs.

POLICY ELEMENT: High school students can participate in college courses based on their proficiency in those subjects, even if they are not proficient in others.

Not in Evidence

Students have to meet college admission standards for non remedial courses in all subject areas. More specifically, high school students need to meet minimum standards for state system institutions based upon scores on the ACT/SAT or a high school GPA of 3.0/4.0 and class rank.

POLICY ELEMENT: Eligibility is determined by a combination of tests, end-of-course grades, teacher recommendations, and student academic work.

In Evidence

Eligibility criteria provide multiple ways for students to become eligible for dual enrollment. For example, if students are unable to meet the minimum score on the ACT/SAT, they can still qualify for concurrent enrollment based on GPA and class rank.

POLICY ELEMENT: Eligibility requirements are determined by the secondary and postsecondary sectors together.

 

In Evidence

“The board of education in consultation with the board of higher education, shall define which students may qualify for this program, establish criteria for admission, and otherwise administer this program." (MGL 15a.39)

 

POLICY ELEMENT: High school students can participate in college courses based on their proficiency in those subjects, even if they are not proficient in others.

 

In Evidence

High school students may enroll at a postsecondary institution either full time or for individual courses. Dual enrollees must meet all course prerequisites as required by the participating college or university campus.

 

POLICY ELEMENT: Eligibility is determined by a combination of tests, end-of-course grades, teacher recommendations, and student academic work.

                

In Evidence

Students must have a minimum high school cumulative GPA of 3.0, demonstrate academic success through class rank, special talent, or strong grades in the area of desired enrollment or receive a recommendation from their principal. In addition, a course prerequisite could include demonstrating proficiency in subject matter on the state’s college placement test (the ACCUPLACER exam).

States should ensure that college courses offered to high school students use the same syllabi and exams as comparable courses taught on a college campus, and that dual enrollees can receive dual-credit so they earn both high school and college credits upon successfully completing courses. In addition, the postsecondary institution conferring credit should set the qualifications for faculty teaching dual-credit courses.

POLICY ELEMENT: Students have the opportunity to take college courses for dual credit so they earn both high school and college credits upon successfully completing courses.

 

In Evidence

Students who successfully complete college coursework receive credit at both the secondary and postsecondary institutions.

 

POLICY ELEMENT: College courses offered within secondary schools use the same syllabi and exams as comparable courses taught on a college campus.

 

In Evidence

College courses offered at the high school, also known as “contract courses,” must be arranged between secondary and postsecondary education partners. While state policy does not define the types of syllabi or student assessments used in these courses, CDEP courses are limited to those that would qualify under the MASSTransfer Block, which are courses that fully transfer to any public instutituion of higher education in the Commonwealth.

 

POLICY ELEMENT: The postsecondary institution conferring credit sets the qualifications for faculty teaching courses taken for dual credit.

 

In Evidence

College courses offered in the CDEP must be taught by college faculty.

States should develop funding policies that allow high school students to take college courses free of tuition and non-course-related charges, and that allow both districts and postsecondary institutions to claim per-pupil funding allocations to support the cost of offering college courses for dual-credit. There should also be provisions or special appropriations to support the development of early college schools targeting students who are underrepresented in higher education.

POLICY ELEMENT: Funding policies to support concurrent enrollment in the state create incentives for school districts to partner with institutions of higher education to offer dual credit opportunities for students.

 

Not in Evidence

Massachusetts has no enrollment-based funding mechanism that would allow high schools and postsecondary institutions to receive reimbursement for dual enrollment students.

 

POLICY ELEMENT: Funding policies for dual enrollment support access for low-income high school students who are interested in taking college courses.

 

In Evidence

Students do not pay tuition or fees for college courses taken through the CDEP.

 

POLICY ELEMENT: Funding streams are flexible enough that funds can be used for professional development, books, lab fees, and student transportation.

 

In Evidence

State funds may be used for tuition and fees, textbooks and related materials, transportation, and administration and coordination, including student support services.

States should report annually on dual enrollment participation and impact and develop administrative structures to support program leaders and dual enrollment partnerships. States should also designate a state board or governing body as having the authority and responsibility to guide dual enrollment policy.

POLICY ELEMENT: States should designate a state board or governing body as having the authority and responsibility to guide dual enrollment policy, and develop administrative structures to support program leaders and dual enrollment partners.

 

In Evidence

The program is managed and supported by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, as the fiscal agent, and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

 

POLICY ELEMENT: States should report annually on dual enrollment participation and impact.

 

In Evidence

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education reports annually on student participation in the CDEP, including data on student enrollment based upon race/ethnicity and income status.

States should develop unit-record statewide data systems that identify dual enrollees by demographic characteristics and monitor student progress longitudinally across the K-12 and higher education systems.

POLICY ELEMENT: States should develop unit-record statewide data systems that identify dual enrollees by demographic characteristics and monitor student progress longitudinally across the K-12 and higher education systems.

 

In Evidence

The state has the ability to identify dual enrollment students in its data systems. In addition, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education was the recipient of a $6 million State Longitudinal Data Systems grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

States should require that districts and postsecondary institutions specify and document key roles and responsibilities in memoranda of understanding or cooperative agreements, including the provision of a college liaison for student advisement and support. States should also provide support and funding for programs designed to serve students who are over-age and undercredited, as well as youth who have dropped out of high school.

POLICY ELEMENT: States should require that districts and postsecondary institutions specify and document key roles and responsibilities in memoranda of understanding or cooperative agreements.

 

Not in Evidence

While postseondary institutions are required to provide college orientation to familiarize dual enrollment students, their parents/guardians, and high school staff, with the expecations of college and the services that are provided (e.g., financial aid opportunities, college application process), state policy does not define institutional roles or responsibilities in CDEP partnerships, nor does it describe additional support services.

POLCY ELEMENT: States should require each dual enrollment partnership to provide a liaison between high school and college partners, with responsibilities for advising students, assisting with course scheduling, and linking students to support services.

 

In Evidence

Massachusetts requires and grants support to dual enrollment partnerships to provide a liaison. CDEP funds may be used for the administration and coordination of the program, including student support services and outreach to high schools.

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