In plain sight : an analysis of first-generation student academic success in a university administered dual enrollment program
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In 2000, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board adopted Closing the Gaps by 2015: The Texas Higher Education Plan, a blueprint to minimize educational gaps in Texas. This plan called for the expansion of early college intervention programs across the state. Since that time, a number of programs have been established that offer both college experience and the opportunity to earn college credit. Throughout the implementation of these programs, questions of rigor have persisted, as have uncertainties about how these programs might provide a true college experience. This is especially true for Texas’ underrepresented student populations. In light of these questions, a four-year university has developed a unique dual enrollment program that offers both the benefits and rigor of courses offered to on-campus first-year university students. Get Ready Today, a pseudonym, provides dual enrollment courses to students across the state. Through quantitative analysis of extant data, this dissertation sought to better understand the enrollment of first-generation students in Get Ready Today, examining if these students had significantly different academic outcomes as a result of participation in the program when compared to their non-first-generation peers. Secondly, this dissertation examined the Get Ready Today first-generation population in comparison to ix comparable control samples of first-generation students who both did and did not participate in other early college intervention programs. These control samples were developed through Propensity Score Matching. The results of the quantitative analysis were reviewed through a framework of Stanton-Salazar’s (2011) theories on student social capital development, and their impact on Tinto’s (1993) theories of student departure. The resulting findings have implications for the continued development and continuous improvement of early college intervention programs across the state.