Date Approved

2-29-2016

Date Posted

9-15-2016

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Barbara A. Bleyaert, Ed.D., Committee Chair

Committee Member

William J. Price, Ph.D., Committee Member

Committee Member

Theresa Saunders, Ed.D., Committee Member

Committee Member

Robert Carpenter, Ph.D., Committee Member

Abstract

This quantitative study explored the post-secondary success of the graduating classes of 2010 and 2011 from one early college high school in Washtenaw County, Michigan. The Early College Alliance (ECA) program is located on the campus of Eastern Michigan University (EMU), a public four-year university. It is a consortium program providing a unique and supported dual enrollment opportunity to high school students. After mastering both the academic and socioemotional skills required for success in college, ECA students earn up to 60 undergraduate credits at EMU and graduate from high school with both a high school diploma and a significant head start on a Bachelor's Degree.

The study resulted in two major findings. First, ECA graduates have earned Bachelor's Degrees at far higher rates than their non-ECA peers (at EMU, the ECA rate was 68%, N = 47 as compared with 23% of the non-ECA students, N = 4111), with most ECA graduates continuing their education at Eastern Michigan University. Entering ECA students exhibited gaps in academic performance measures such as college credits earned while in high school, high school GPA, and ACT score based on demographic characteristics, gaps that mirrored those found in the Washtenaw County and all-EMU populations. The academic indicators were highly predictive of degree attainment among the non-ECA groups, with underrepresented students less likely to complete degrees. However, despite academic performance gaps among entering ECA students, no significant differences in degree attainment were found based on race, gender, income, or familial level of education. Interestingly, participation in the ECA program was a major predictor of degree attainment for Black students. While limited by a small sample size and a narrow focus on only one early college program, this study provides an important and intriguing initial look at the post-secondary outcomes of early college graduates.

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