Access to academic excellence: School personnel's perceptions and practices of student participation in advanced placement programs in a predominately minority high school
Irving, Tiffinie A.
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The Advanced Placement (AP) program allows students to participate in college preparatory coursework while in high school as well as the option of earning college credit. It is presumed enrollment policies provide students with equal opportunities to access AP. Yet, African American and Hispanic students from poverty are underrepresented student groups participating in the AP program. The purpose of this study was to examine perceptions of personnel working at a high poverty, predominately minority high school (HS) on policies and practices that determine minority and low-income student enrollment in to the AP program. A qualitative study was conducted at a high poverty, predominately minority school located in Midwestern, United States. Data collection included interviews with school personnel; review of school artifacts, and policies from the school, the local district, the state department of education and the College Board. This study concluded policies are critical for consistent student placement practices by enrollment gatekeepers. However, policies alone will not provide equitable access and opportunity for all students. Traditional HS practices influenced by staff biases, beliefs, and master schedules create barriers, preventing some students from being identified and prepared for rigorous, college preparatory courses (DeLany, 1991; Taliaferro DeVance & DeCuir-Gunby, 2008). Strong leadership focused on implementing and monitoring reforms to create a cultural competent learning environment is necessary to combat deficit viewpoints and low expectations by staff of poor and minority students.
Thesis (Ed.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Education, Dept. of Counseling, Educational Leadership, Education and School Psychology