Accelerated Learning in Oregon: Regional Promise Evaluation

July 2020
illustration of school building

To help achieve Oregon’s high school and postsecondary education completion goals, the state has been expanding its investment in accelerated learning options that give high school students the opportunity to earn college credit. A growing body of literature has found that accelerated learning programs (e.g., dual credit, dual enrollment) have positive effects on high school graduation; academic achievement in high school; and college access, credit accumulation, and graduation.

In the 2013–2015, 2015–2017 and 2017-2019 bienniums, the Oregon State Legislature allocated funding to regional consortia composed of school districts, educational service districts (ESDs), and local postsecondary institutions to increase the number of high school students who graduated college and career ready. The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) is administering these Regional Promise grants, and Education Northwest is evaluating their contribution to five core pillars:

  • Equity is a commitment to ensuring historically underserved student populations are prepared for, have access to, and enroll and succeed in accelerated college-credit opportunities
  • College-going culture is a commitment to building a school culture that increases the college-going knowledge and career awareness of all students and their families
  • Accelerated college credit is a commitment to improving and expanding the variety of accelerated college credit course offerings in the region
  • Cross-sector partnerships are a commitment to collaboration between school districts, ESDs, and postsecondary institutions to achieve program goals
  • Cross-sector professional learning communities are a commitment to developing opportunities for faculty from postsecondary institutions and teachers from high schools to come together to establish an appropriate curriculum and shared assessments for dual-credit classes

Overall, the Regional Promise program has made progress toward its goals by increasing the number of ACC classes available to students, expanding ACC enrollment for all students, increasing the number of teachers eligible to teach dual-credit courses, and reaching historically underserved populations in greater numbers than traditional dual-credit programs. The innovative program model that emphasizes collaboration between the K–12 and postsecondary education sectors may contribute to the program’s success. In addition, the explicit focus on reaching historically underserved populations ensure that grantees are mindful of expanding access to these groups during implementation.

Research Summaries and Evaluation Reports