Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation


Gerald S. Edmonds


Concurrent enrollment, Dual credit, Project Advance, Student performance, Student persistence

Subject Categories



Concurrent enrollment programs (CEPs) are an important source of academic preparation for high school students. Along with Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate, CEPs allow students to challenge themselves in high school and prepare for the rigor of college. Many researchers and practitioners have claimed that, when high school students participate in such programs, they become more successful in college, having better retention rates and better grades. Based upon their knowledge about the many students who have participated in CEPs, Marshal and Andrews (2002) note that "there is scarcity of research on dual credit aka concurrent enrollment programs." The claims for the effectiveness of CEPs must be substantiated.

Syracuse University's concurrent enrollment program, Project Advance (PA), was implemented in 1972 at the request of six local Syracuse high schools. The current study is an empirical investigation of the effects of student participation in Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) and/or Advanced Placement (AP) on desired student outcomes such as persistence and performance, determined as follows:

1. Persistence:

a. Short-term persistence

i. Student dropout in the first year of college;

ii. Student dropout in the second year of college

b. Long-term persistence

i. Student graduation in four years

ii. Student graduation in six years

2. Performance:

a. College readiness

i. Student performance in subsequent courses on the main Syracuse University campus.

b. College performance

i. First year cumulative grade point average (freshman GPA)

ii. Fourth year cumulative grade point average (degree GPA)

The sample consists of Syracuse University undergraduates (23,398) from fall 1997 to fall 2008, both inclusive. Students who participated in SUPA and AP in high school are tracked by college enrollment and completion, and then compared with their peers of similar demographics and achievement who had not taken such courses. This study attempts to evaluate the effect of both AP and SUPA on college persistence and performance, with and without controlling for confounding variables such as demographic, financial need, and precollege entry student characteristics. The researcher also examined other significant determinants of persistence and whether the effects varied by gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The effects were examined using statistical tests for differences in means as well as multiple regression analysis. The findings of this study were mixed. No cause and effect claims were made, as this is a correlational study. Regarding short-term persistence, the findings were in favor of both AP and SUPA. Regarding long-term persistence and performance (cumulative GPA for the first and fourth year), the findings were in favor of AP. When student performance in the subsequent course was examined, participation in SUPA was not significant in predicting the grade in the subject specific postcourse grade. The findings also suggest grade inflation in six out of the eight SU courses offered through PA. However, the findings for both math and writing were illuminating. The overall results point to some positive effects of concurrent enrollment programs, but also call for improvements to increase their effectiveness.


Marshall, R. P., & Andrews, H. A. (2002). Dual-credit outcomes: A second visit. Community College Journal of Research and Practices, 26, 237-242.


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