Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


Researchers from McBee Discuss Challenges to Implementation of Education Policy in Georgia

McBee REsearchers

Professor Amy Stich, Professor George Spencer (NYU), Brionna Johnson (MEd 2022), and Sean Baser (doctoral candidate) joined forces to identify obstacles to higher education policy implementation. They used the recent introduction of dual enrollment policy initiatives as an "important case of how and to what extent innovative educational policy efforts are implemented and carried out as intended."

Published in Innovative Higher Education, this study focuses on the newly enacted Georgia “Option B” program. Option B is intended to allow students to “bypass many traditional high school graduation requirements by completing sub-baccalaureate credentials for career and technical education.”

Option B differs from regular dual enrollment programs which “typically serve the role of curricular intensification – emphasizing the completion of high school requirements while facilitating early exposure to higher education, academic preparation for college, and timely degree completion.” The authors highlight that though few students in the state have participated or completed this track, there is a lack of participation in the program still.

The researchers found that high school counselors play an important role in presenting options to students as “street-level bureaucrats.” The authors point out that counselors “arguably hold discretionary power in the implementation of education policy” and have the ability to gatekeep programs.

As a theoretical underpinning, the team relied on sensemaking theory to analyze the perceptions of high school counselors in understanding the value and applicability of the new program. Sensemaking is described as a "process-oriented approach that involves retrospective reflection, ongoing enactment, social interaction, identity construction, plausibility testing, and ongoing revision of understanding in response to changing circumstances.

The findings indicate that many Georgia counselors were “wary of Option B and expressed several concerns” regarding the specifications and limitations for students and locked them in a specific career path at a young age.

The researchers recommend that increased involvement and consultations between lawmakers and counselors through the policymaking process could improve the effectiveness of the programs and create more buy-in for the programs.

To read the full findings and research of this new approach to dual enrollment, click here

Type of News/Audience:


Associate Professor of Higher Education

Support us

We appreciate your financial support. Your gift is important to us and helps support critical opportunities for students and faculty alike, including lectures, travel support, and any number of educational events that augment the classroom experience. 

Click Here to Learn More About Giving

Every dollar given has a direct impact upon our students and faculty.