Date on Capstone


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, EDD

Committee Chair

Ingle, W. Kyle

Committee Member

Alagaraja, Meera

Committee Member

Munoz, Marco A.

Committee Member

Buecker, Harrie

Author's Keywords

early college; social emotional learning; college readiness; ethics of care; academic capital


Research shows that too many students are graduating high school ill-prepared for post-secondary success. The purpose of this capstone was to explore early college in relation to student success. We conducted three independent but related studies that incorporated the perspectives of current students, graduates, and quantitative data. The first study investigated how ECHS graduates described their high school experiences, as well as how those experiences contributed to their college readiness and transition to college. The second study, a narrative analysis, sought to understand the lived academic and social experiences of students currently enrolled in an ECHS. The final study took a quantitative approach to determine if students who earned a higher number of dual credit hours were graduating from high school on time and meeting their college and career ready (CCR) benchmarks before graduating. Our collective research objective was to inform policy and practice efforts to improve high school level achievement, college readiness, persistence in college, and degree completion for students traditionally under-represented in higher education. Findings from these studies pointed to several implications for policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels. While there were multiple implications found within the individual studies, three themes emerged across all of them: alignment of secondary and postsecondary expectations, facilitation of caring relationships among all stakeholders, and inclusion of social and emotional support coupled with non-cognitive skill development. With the implications and policy recommendations provided in this capstone, stakeholders can begin to design and implement school-based plans supported by sound policy to increase educational outcomes. Future research may consider refining and further clarifying the needed processes for full implementation of the early college model across all high schools of varying demographics.