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Dual Credit Participation Increasing, But Gaps Persist

A student’s participation in dual credit programs increases their likelihood of completing high school, attending college and earning a degree.

OLYMPIA — March 29, 2017 — Dual credit programs give students a chance to earn college credit while still in high school. Examples include Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Cambridge International, College in the High School, Running Start and Tech Prep.

Participation in these programs results in increased high school graduation rates and college enrollment, better grades in college and a higher likelihood of earning a college degree or professional certificate.

Today, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) released data and analytics on dual credit program participation. In 2016, more than half of Washington students (57 percent) completed at least one dual credit course or program. The data show that participation is steadily increasing in all program offerings.

“The increase in dual credit participation is a testament to the emphasis educators put on providing rigorous educational opportunities to meet every students’ unique learning needs,” said Chris Reykdal, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Dual credit programs are a powerful tool in getting students prepared for education and training beyond high school.”

“Two-thirds of all jobs require at least some post-high school education or training,” Reykdal continued. “Helping our students prepare for this reality is an economic imperative.”

Although overall participation in dual credit programs is increasing, the data show that gaps between student groups persist. For example, although the number of low-income students taking dual credit courses increased by 3 percentage points from 2013 to 2016, low-income students have a participation rate 12 percentage points lower than their peers.

Additionally, although access to dual credit programs is increasing across all race and ethnicity categories, a 31-percentage-point gap exists between the highest- and lowest-performing student subgroups by race.

“With this data, we are able to both celebrate our progress in increasing access to dual credit opportunities while also identifying the persistent but unacceptable gaps in access,” said Superintendent Reykdal.

This is the first time OSPI has released dual credit data in this format. Districts are encouraged to address any data quality issues, while identifying areas of improvement in overall dual credit enrollment and within specific student subgroups.

“We should not be afraid of data,” Reykdal continued. “This organization will show a relentless commitment to exposing opportunity and performance gaps using data. This is the only way we can effectively change policies, practices and results for all students.”

OSPI is providing districts with a dual credit analytics companion tool, developed in partnership with Education Northwest, to assist districts with analyzing their data and developing action steps for future improvement.

Today’s release is part of OSPI’s “Performance Indicators – Data and Analytics” work designed to help the state and school districts make data-informed decisions. As new data sets are released, they are posted on the OSPI Data and Analytics webpage.

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About OSPI
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Chris Reykdal, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and improve student achievement on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.

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Nathan Olson
Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015 |

The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015


   Updated 3/29/2017

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