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Administrative Issues Journal

Abstract

This study involved identifying, categorizing, and comparing critical incidents related to qualifying dual credit high school students’ decisions to enroll or not to enroll in dual credit coursework in either a traditional or early college high school. The purpose of the study was (a) to identify the reasons qualifying students decide to enroll in dual credit courses in a traditional or early college high school and (b) to identify the reasons qualifying students choose the traditional versus the early college high school. For this qualitative study, the research method employed was the Critical Incident Technique (CIT) developed by John Flanagan in 1954. The study employed a written survey to obtain demographic information and the critical incident data. The study was conducted by appointed high school counselors at both high schools—traditional and early college. Both schools were located within the same school district. Total participants in the study totaled 139. The researcher, along with the help of a dual credit expert panel, identified, categorized, counted, and reported a total of 643 incidents: 340 effective and 303 ineffective critical incidents. For both enrolled traditional and early college high school students, “Incentives and Challenges” was the most frequent reason students cited for enrolling in dual credit. Both types of students also indicated “Culture/Atmosphere” as the top reason they chose to attend one school versus the other. Not enrolled traditional high school students cited the “Advanced Placement Course” category as the top reason they chose not to enroll in dual credit. These students also cited “Culture/Atmosphere” as the main reason they chose the traditional versus the early college high school. Not enrolled early college high school students cited “Personal Hindrances” as the key reason for not enrolling in dual credit. This same category was also cited as the top reason that early college students gave for choosing the early college versus the traditional high school.

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