The Impact of Early College High School on College Persistence to Completion of a Baccalaureate Degree at a Northeast Texas University

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


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Date of Award

Summer 2020


Political leaders and policy makers in education “across the nation seek to create a more educated population in order to compete in a global technology-oriented society and to increase the earning potential of workers” (A. R. Carey, 2015, p. 3). Unfortunately, nearly half of all students who begin college do not graduate. In this study, the researcher examined the relationship between two independent variables, early college high school (ECHS) students and non-ECHS students, in regard to three dependent variables—university grade point average (GPA), persistence, and time to graduation—at a northeast Texas university. The objective was to determine whether attending an ECHS program and receiving an associate degree or some college credit hours is a reliable predictor to completion of a baccalaureate degree. In this quantitative study, the researcher used a causal-comparative design. The population of interest consisted of 35,967 undergraduate university students (n1 = 141 ECHS and n2 = 35,826 nonECHS) from class years 2008-2012 who graduated from a traditional high school or an ECHS and attended a northeast Texas university. This research highlights how participation in ECHS may increase college graduation rates and how the numbers of hours when entering a university may predict bachelor’s degree attainment. Data analysis concluded there was not enough evidence to support a difference of comparing university GPA at the time of graduation between groups. Data supported that ECHS students have a higher persistent percentage than non-ECHS students. This researcher also examined five different categories for the number of credit hours transferred to the university that may contribute to time to graduation. Using the 61-75 students transferred credit hours category, the time to graduation was the same for both groups. Research findings confirm Texas should continue enacting legislation to fund ECHS programs since ECHS students are more likely to persist to degree attainment. Subsequently, contributing to the 60x30TX strategic plan of students earning higher education credentials with marketable skills and less debt.


Madeline Justice

Subject Categories

Education | Higher Education