A Case Study

Report cover page: title and decorative imageBakersfield College is leading a sea change. Collaborating with numerous partners across Kern County, the college aims to enable every high school student in its vast geographic area to take college courses. As of fall 2019, every ninth grader at more than 30 high schools in Kern County can look forward to earning at least nine college credits in the next four years, and many can expect to earn more. Some will even attain associate degrees at the same time as they finish 12th grade. More than 120 Kern County students already have. And the potential is growing: By 2018-19, nearly 8,000 individual high school students were dually enrolling at Bakersfield College (BC) each year.

Dual enrollment at BC is a clear strategy for educational equity. Early data show encouraging correlations with an increase in high school GPA and with higher course completion rates in college. About 90 percent of participants in dual enrollment at Bakersfield College are Latinx or African American, groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education.

Widespread implementation of dual enrollment originated with a vision to transform a county where far fewer adults hold college degrees than average for California or the United States. But many factors contributed to making it a reality, including:

  • Strong leadership and a decision to enlist all of Bakersfield College in pursuit of equity;
  • Convergence of dual enrollment with Guided Pathways redesign efforts now under way statewide; and
  • Dedication of faculty, staff, administrators, and leaders in various institutions to integrating dual enrollment into their operations and academic programs.

This report explores how Bakersfield College pursued and implemented dual enrollment and how it converges with the pursuit of equity in Guided Pathways redesign.

Prepared by Career Ladders Project
November 2019