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ERIC Number: ED494929
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Sep
Pages: 176
Abstractor: Author
The College Ladder: Linking Secondary and Postsecondary Education for Success for All Students
Lerner, Jennifer Brown; Brand, Betsy
American Youth Policy Forum
This compendium identifies and describes schools, programs, and policies that link secondary and postsecondary education to help students earn college credit or take college-level courses while in high school. It raises issues for practitioners and policymakers to consider as these program grow and target a wider range of students. This compendium is designed to help national, state, and local policymakers and practitioners better understand what Secondary-Post-Secondary Learning Options (SPLOs) are, the various ways they are structured, and their impact on student outcomes. By helping policymakers gain a better understanding of successful or effective interventions, they can implement policies that will support student preparation for and access to postsecondary education. By profiling SPLOs, practitioners can learn what models and strategies are effective with various student populations. The authors were driven by the following guiding questions: (1) Is there evidence that these different models of SPLOs are effective at increasing academic performance, closing the achievement gap, and increasing entry to and retention in postsecondary education, particularly for first-generation, low-income, or students of color and students with disabilities?; (2) Do financing mechanisms support equity and access by all students? Is there evidence that these programs are cost effective?; (3) Are college courses for high school students as rigorous and at the same level as regular college courses?; (4) What evidence exists to demonstrate that these programs meet their respective goals of serving a specific target population or solving a specific problem?; (5) Who should pay for high school students to take these courses and what are some of the financing structures? Should federal student aid dollars be used to support high school students?; and (6) On what outcomes should these programs be measured: high school graduation or grades, attainment of college credit, entry to postsecondary education, and/or completion of degree? Unfortunately, due to limitations in the data, AYPF was unable to answer many of these questions. Instead, the available data allowed the authors to consider the following program characteristics and issues: type of student served; sources of funding; course rigor, as it is related to program location, teacher and faculty preparation, prerequisites for participation, and program length; extra supports; formal sanctioning; transferability of credit; and data. The authors conclude that there is evidence to support the effectiveness of SPLOs, yet as the field grows, the research must become more rigorous in order to answer additional specific questions on who benefits and in what ways.
American Youth Policy Forum. 1836 Jefferson Place NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-775-9731; Fax: 202-775-9733; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Practitioners; Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation for Education, Indianapolis, IN.
Authoring Institution: American Youth Policy Forum, Washington, DC.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
IES Cited: ED556127