More Oregon high school students achieving success with Eastern Promise

Contact: Dan Mielke | Executive Director, Eastern Promise
Phone: 541-962-3399 | E-mail: dmielke@eou.edu

March 2, 2015

LA GRANDE, Ore. - New data on high school graduation, attendance and college enrollment rates in eastern Oregon points to positive early results of a unique dual credit expansion program. Offered through Eastern Promise, the program enables students to earn college credits at a reduced tuition rate through courses taught by eligible teachers in their schools.

Early results show that 100 percent of high school seniors who participated in Eastern Promise courses in 2012-13 graduated from high school that year, compared to 98 percent of seniors in Eastern Promise schools who took only traditional dual-credit courses, 77 percent of seniors in Eastern Promise schools who did not participate in the program and 66 percent of all seniors across the state. (These percentages differ from the graduation rate calculated by the state, as the percentages shown here represent the proportion of seniors graduating in a given school year, while the state calculates a cohort-based graduation rate that tracks a ninth-grade class of students through high school.)

Looking at attendance rates among high school juniors and seniors in 2012-13 compared to their prior year in school, Eastern Promise participants showed no change, while non-participants showed a 2 percent decrease and all juniors and seniors in Oregon showed a 1 percent decrease in attendance.

After completing high school, a greater percentage of students who participated in Eastern Promise as seniors in 2012-13 went on to college in 2013 or 2014. Early results show 81 percent of participants enrolled in a college or university, while just 53 percent of students who graduated and took no Eastern Promise college credit courses and 56 percent of students statewide went on to enroll.

Dan Mielke, executive director of Eastern Promise, believes the high level of involvement of teachers and student expectations are why the model is yielding great results.

“What sets our program apart from other accelerated learning options is that teachers participate in Professional Learning Communities with community college and university faculty,” Mielke explained. “They meet several times during the year to discuss content, curriculum and develop college level assessments, and the outcome for students is just the same as if they were taking the classes on a college campus.”

On a recent survey, 77 percent of responding Eastern Promise teachers agreed that the program increased their students’ likelihood of pursuing postsecondary education.One remarked, “… [Eastern Promise] is a wonderful program with rigorous expectations for students. I have appreciated being a part of it, and I know that our students are benefiting immensely.”

Biology, chemistry, computer science, health, history, math, Spanish, communications, writing and a success 101 course focusing on career choices are all being offered this year for college credit through Eastern Promise in eastern Oregon high schools.

A cost-benefit analysis determined that for a combined student and state funding investment of approximately $76 per credit – for a total investment per student of $229 to $686 for three to nine credits – the average expected benefit in higher lifetime earnings has a net present value of $20,260 per student.

Research also shows that if a student takes six college credits through a dual-credit program while in high school, they have an 11 percent higher chance of earning a bachelor’s degree later on.

Education Northwest, a research, evaluation and technical assistance nonprofit organization working with Eastern Promise conducted the data analysis. ECONorthwest, an economic consulting firm, conducted the cost-benefit analysis.

To learn more about Eastern Promise and its program, visit www.eastern-promise.org, call 541-962-3941, or e-mail ep@eou.edu.

Eastern Promise | InterMountain ESD | 2001 SW Nye Ave. | Pendleton, OR 97801
Phone: 541.966.3178 | Email: kris.mulvihill@imesd.k12.or.us

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