Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in STEM Education


Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

Keith W. Thiede, Ph.D.


Laurie Cavey, Ph.D.


Dmitri A. Tenne, Ph.D.


Dual credit courses have been offered for over fifty years and have helped students save time and money during their college education. However, little has been done to study the quality of the dual credit courses themselves. The literature is unclear about whether students in dual credit programs learn the same material as the students enrolled in the same course at the university level.

The purpose of my study was to determine whether students in a concurrent enrollment introductory physics course achieve the same knowledge growth as university students enrolled in the same physics course. I used the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) as a measure of students’ knowledge. The FCI was given as both a pre-instruction and post-instruction assessment to both the high school and university students and I used a 2 x 2 analysis of variance to compare the two groups at the two different times.

I found that both the high school group and the university group showed significant growth from pre- to post-instruction. I also found that the high school group scored significantly higher than the university group on both the pre-instruction and post-instruction FCI and the high school students showed marginally greater growth. Any conclusions drawn from my study should be tempered with the understanding that the FCI only addresses a portion of the curriculum covered in each course, the sample size was small, including only one high school and one university class, and there was no consideration for long term retention of knowledge. However, my conclusion is that dual credit courses may offer students the same knowledge as regular university courses.