Is concurrent enrollment math less rigorous than traditional college math?

A new study by the Office of the Commissioner compares students who take a postsecondary math course via concurrent enrollment with traditionally enrolled college students at a USHE institution to explore whether there is a difference in students’ postsecondary math success.

The Institutional Research staff analyzed more than 48,000 enrollments in general education math courses (Math 1030, 1040, or 1050) from 2015-2016. 31% of students enrolled in concurrent enrollment math went on to complete another math course, while 40% of traditional college level students enrolled in another math course.


Percentage of Students who Enrolled in Subsequent College Math
(Based on previously completed math course and enrollment type.)

The brief also compares academic performance of concurrent enrollment and traditional students via their GPA, separated by specific math course type remedial (1010), quantitative literacy requirement (1030, 1040, 1050), and subsequent math (1210, 2010, 2020).

In all cases, students completing concurrent enrollment courses had a higher college GPA than traditional college students.

By analyzing both subsequent math course-taking and college GPA among students enrolled in concurrent enrollment math courses vs. students in traditional college math courses, there does not appear to be evidence to support claims that concurrent enrollment math courses are less effective in preparing students for additional postsecondary study. In fact, there is some evidence that concurrent enrollment students perform better than students who take the traditional math course on a college campus.

Read the full study authored by Dr. Joseph Curtin, Assistant Commissioner for Institutional Research.