Date of Award

5-12-2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Wenfan Yan, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

George R. Bieger, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Sue Rieg, Ed. D.

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine guidance counselor perceptions regarding the benefits students receive as a result of participating in a dual enrollment program. These perceptions were limited to guidance counselor influence, the intrinsic benefits students received from participation in dual enrollment and the impact dual enrollment participation has on a student‟s decision to attend post secondary education. The guidance counselors in this study participated in a regional dual enrollment program made up of seven school districts located in south central Pennsylvania. Methods of inquiry for this study included data gathered through focus groups, an individual interview and both document and historical analysis. Findings of this study indicate that guidance counselors perceive their influence on a student‟s post secondary planning very different than guidance counselors a generation ago. However, guidance counselors were clear they see themselves as being the most knowledgeable of secondary school curriculum, post secondary school requirements and their students; they should be driving dual enrollment initiatives within their school districts. The findings also indicate that middle achieving students may have the most to gain by participating in a dual enrollment program. Historically, school districts have not invested in programs that support middle achieving students, and as a result districts may be missing a golden opportunity. By far, guidance counselors perceive a student‟s self- efficacy levels substantially increase as a result participating in a dual enrollment program. Additionally, when coupled with an improved sense of self-efficacy, students‟ attitudes and post secondary aspirations change as a result of their experience. Findings of this study indicate there is a positive and, in most cases, a cause and effect relationship that exists between students who participate in a dual enrollment program and their persistence to higher education.

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