New Report: Robust participation in CTE early postsecondary opportunities, but gaps remain to maximize credits earned


New Report: Robust participation in CTE early postsecondary opportunities, but gaps remain to maximize credits earned

(SILVER SPRING, MD – March 3, 2022) — Today, Advance CTE, in partnership with the College in High School Alliance, released a 50-state report on early postsecondary opportunities as part of high-quality, equitable Career Technical Education (CTE). The report reinforces the potential of CTE early postsecondary opportunities to jumpstart meaningful postsecondary credit in high school. The findings also identified that state leadership and alignment of secondary and postsecondary education systems can improve learner support, data integrity, credit transfer and instructor quality. 

The State of CTE: Early Postsecondary Opportunities, based on a survey of national state CTE directors, reveals five findings and offers six recommendations. Together, they illustrate a path to remove barriers to participation, especially for historically marginalized learners. This report is Advance CTE’s seventh State of CTE report. 

Over 5.5 million secondary learners participate in EPSOs, which include college in high school programs such as early college and dual and concurrent enrollment, as well as ‘credit by exam opportunities’ such as Advanced Placement and other college level examinations. CTE courses make up approximately one third of all EPSO enrollments. Research has shown high-quality EPSOs have positive impacts on college enrollment, retention and completion for participants, particularly learners of color. 

The report explores the design and delivery of EPSOs in CTE programs nationwide and identifies five state-level challenges to address to enhance quality and access in EPSOs:

  • Burdensome entry requirements limit participation, particularly by historically marginalized learners; 
  • Limited state learner supports to facilitate program access and completion; 
  • Lack of disaggregated data on program participation and outcomes; 
  • Limited statewide credit articulation agreements needed for seamless postsecondary credit transfer;
  • Lack of incentives and supports for qualified CTE EPSO instructors.

“Early postsecondary opportunities in CTE allow learners to jumpstart a postsecondary degree or credential in high school while also gaining in-demand skills,” stated Kimberly Green, Executive Director of Advance CTE. “When states make intentional investments in EPSO support systems, each learner can maximize portable credit to achieve college and career success.  We are proud to partner with the College in High School Alliance to raise awareness of and access to these impactful opportunities.” 

“Significant national and state research studies have shown that college in high school programs like dual enrollment and early college high school are proven interventions for giving students a jumpstart into college and career,” said Alex Perry, Coordinator of the College in High School Alliance. “When combined with high quality Career Technical Education (CTE), these programs are a powerful tool for helping students succeed, but there are significant challenges still to address in expanding access to historically marginalized learners. We are grateful to Advance CTE for choosing to shine an important spotlight on these programs, and for highlighting both the successes to date and the work ahead.” 

Read the executive summary of the report.  


About Advance CTE

Advance CTE is the longest-standing national non-profit that represents State Directors and state leaders responsible for secondary, postsecondary and adult Career Technical Education (CTE) across all 50 states and U.S. territories. Established in 1920, Advance CTE supports state CTE leadership to advance high-quality and equitable CTE policies, programs and pathways that ensure career and college success for each learner.

About College in High School Alliance

The College in High School Alliance (CHSA) is a coalition of leading national and state organizations that works towards a future in which every state, and the federal government, has a policy framework that ensures that student access, participation and success in college in high school programs accurately reflects the geographic, demographic, and economic make-up of the nation’s high school students.



Media Contact: 

Steve McFarland 

Director of Communications and Membership

Advance CTE