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Wednesday, June 22 • 16:45 - 18:00
POSTER.34 - High school students enrolled in university: 10 reasons why it’s a good thing

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Concurrent enrollment programs can empower high-ability learners; they provide opportunities for learners to direct their own education and advance their learning in areas of interest (Dare & Nowicki, 2015). Concurrent enrollment programs also allow universities to showcase their offerings to high-ability learners. Drawing on established theory and current research, our presentation demonstrates how concurrent enrollment can effect meaningful change. This presentation will be of interest to post-secondary institutions seeking to partner in success through student success offerings.

In our study, we used Deci and Ryan’s (1985) self-determination theory to frame students’ motivations for participating in concurrent enrollment. Study participants were 21 high-achieving secondary students concurrently enrolled at Western University. Through the program, students took one first-year university course in addition to their full-time high school studies. We used group concept mapping (Trochim, 1989), to investigate students’ perspectives on concurrent enrollment. We chose this approach because it is highly participatory, and it applies rigourous statistical analyses to qualitative data. First, students brainstormed reasons for participating in the concurrent enrollment program, then they sorted and rated the generated reasons. We analyzed the data using multi-dimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analysis to create a map of key concepts. Our findings showed that high-achieving students engage in concurrent enrollment “as a way to gather information used in making decisions about postsecondary education” (Dare & Nowicki, 2015, p. 261).

Through this presentation, attendees will learn how universities can strengthen their student success offerings, and support learners’ transitions to university, through concurrent enrollment programs. Our infographic poster provides information of interest to a diverse range of attendees including educators, school counsellors, university success counsellors, and department leaders. Attendees may use this information to effect change by introducing or expanding concurrent enrollment programs in their institutions.


Elizabeth Nowicki

Elizabeth Nowicki is an associate professor at Western University and a member of the Ontario College of Teachers. Her research draws upon educational, developmental, and social psychology and focuses on social interactions at school, implicit and explicit attitudes about ability... Read More →

Wednesday June 22, 2016 16:45 - 18:00 EDT
Atrium, Physics & Astronomy Building Western University