Panel: High School to College Transitions

Friday, November 3, 2017: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Columbian (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Rajeev Darolia, University of Kentucky
Panel Chairs:  Stephanie Cellini, George Washington University
Discussants:  Myles Boylan, National Science Foundation and Kevin Stange, University of Michigan

Dual-Credit Courses and the Road to College: Experimental Evidence from Tennessee
Steven W. Hemelt, University of North Carolina, Nathaniel Schwartz, Tennessee Department of Education and Susan Dynarski, University of Michigan

Effects of Advanced Placement Science Courses on Students' College Entry: Evaluation from a Randomized Control Trial
Mark Long, University of Washington, Dylan Conger, George Washington University and Raymond McGhee, Equal Measure

High School Course Access and College STEM Attainment
Rajeev Darolia1, Cory Koedel2, Joyce Main3, Jean Felix Ndashimye2 and Junpeng Yan2, (1)University of Kentucky, (2)University of Missouri, (3)Purdue University

This panel includes four papers that use experimental or quasi-experimental methods to study factors that affect students’ transition from high school to college.  In particular, the papers look at how policies that affect a range of high school and early postsecondary experiences – high school course access, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and dual-credit courses – affect measures of college enrollment, choice, and remediation.

Papers span policies with national, state, and local implications and are set in a variety of geographic areas within the U.S. The panel features four papers with authors representing nine different institutions from academia and government, and also includes two student authors. Two discussants, one each from academia and government, will provide comments on the papers.


Two the papers use large scale randomized field experiment designs.  Hemelt, Schwartz, and Dynarski analyze a “dual credit” course policy in Tennessee that represents the first RCT of a dual credit program that expanded students’ opportunities to earn college credits in high school. Long, Conger, and McGhee report results from the first experimental study of the AP program, and test whether AP science course access affected college enrollment and persistence outcomes among students from 23 high schools across the country. Darolia, Koedel, Main, Ndashimye, and Yan also investigate the effect of math and science course access on college outcomes using 14 cohorts of high school students from Missouri and quasi-experimental methods that overcome potential threats to internal validity inherent in past research on the connection between courses and fields of study.  Finally, Boatman returns us to Tennessee for an evaluation of another new curricular intervention that facilitates the enrollment in college-level courses while in high school using state administrative data and a regression discontinuity design.


Together, this panel will provide new evidence on key policy interventions and levels that have the potential to smooth the transition from high school to college and affect college success.

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