Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

Sub-Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Kara D. Brown

Abstract

This case study adds insight to the idea of equitable access as it relates to advanced coursework available to students in public high schools in South Carolina. The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) has become a viable choice since secondary-level magnet programs in SC have taken root for over thirty years. The IBDP originally developed in SC to attract the global elite, however in the recent decade, the IBDP has morphed into a program meant for all students. The concept of IB for All is marketed as a college readiness program within South Carolina IBDP schools. Access is multidimensional; it includes educational policies, leadership, and practices heavily shaped by the local-school policy actors. However, my analysis demonstrates that access is also a socio-cultural construct, formulated, or redefined, year after year in schools. The perspectives of IBDP coordinators from across the state of SC generated the central insights analyzed in this dissertation. Based on their responses to an initial questionnaire, coordinators were interviewed individually providing rich details about the patterns of change throughout the state. Then, focus groups and further one-on-one interviews were conducted with other key participants providing an historic and broader perspective from the state and national levels. This inquiry adds insight to the idea of what access to the IBDP looks like in relation to school reform, choice, integration, and giftedness. This case study presents the multidimensionality of access and will inform choice implementation through leveling the field for equitable opportunities for SC students to choose the IBDP option for college readiness.

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