Fayetteville State University, USA (firstname.lastname@example.org)
High school reform in the United States has a long and unremarkable history with regard to improving the outcomes of traditionally underrepresented youth. Beginning in 2002, North Carolina began to implement the Early College High School model. In 2012 the state of North Carolina adopted a new accountability program that includes the ACT as a measure of college readiness in addition to the long-standing end-of-course assessments in English, algebra, and biology. Several reports and research studies have been conducted to evaluate the performance outcomes of early college students to traditionally prepared high school students and found in general early college students do as well if not better than their peers. This study examines four years of performance outcomes using the North Carolina End of Grade Tests and one year of ACT results for all students in the testing program. Of particular interest was examining the achievement gaps between Hispanic, Black, and White students over time and then assessing EOC and ACT performance as an indicator of college readiness. The findings indicate that (a) early college high school students tend to perform better on EOC and ACT assessments, (b) that the benefits of attending an early college can in many cases mitigate the effects of race, gender, and poverty, and (c) early college students may be more college ready than traditionally prepared peers.
Keywords: school reform; college readiness; school accountability; longitudinal analysis; educational policy