A comparative study of high school Advanced Placement and dual enrollment programs using a mixed methods analysis

Katrina A Haley, Tennessee State University


This study provides an in-depth analysis of whether students who take dual enrollment and/or AP classes have higher ACT test scores compared to a group of their peers that did not take dual enrollment or AP courses. The study also identified the demographic characteristics (ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic status) of students with a 3.0 or higher who were enrolled in dual enrollment and/or AP courses compared to students with comparable GPAs who did not enroll. Using a mixed methods model, this research incorporated academic student data and interview responses from teachers to explore their perceptions of advanced placement and dual enrollment classes and ACT test scores. The quantitative section focused on a group of high school seniors from a rural high school in the middle Tennessee area with GPAs of 3.0 or higher. The data collected was ACT composite and sub-scores, class enrollment, ethnicity, gender, grade point average, and socio-economic status. The qualitative section focused on four selected teachers in the Middle Tennessee area who taught AP and/or dual enrollment classes within various high schools. An analysis of the archival student data and one-on-one interviews demonstrated that the overall impact of dual enrollment and AP classes suggests that these classes aid in improving ACT composite and sub-scores. The quantitative data analysis findings reported that gender and ethnicity effects academic achievement of students who are enrolled or not enrolled in these kinds of classes. However, the quantitative data analysis did not determine that socioeconomic status effected students included in this study, but the qualitative one-on-one interviews did conclude that low socio-economic status does negatively affect students' academic performance within these classes. Based on the analysis of the one-on-one teacher interviews, it was concluded that more professional development should be provided to all teachers to promote reading for content and less memorization in the classroom. Teachers highlighted the need for students to learn effective study skills and time management skills. The participants also expressed the need for all classes to hold students to high expectations and offer a challenging and rigorous curriculum to help improve ACT test scores and increase enrollment in AP and dual enrollment courses.

Subject Area

Community college education|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Katrina A Haley, "A comparative study of high school Advanced Placement and dual enrollment programs using a mixed methods analysis" (2013). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3599429.