Event Title

Racial Inequality in AP and Honors Courses in the U.S. Education System

Location

Breakout Session A: Education

CASB 103

Start Date

8-4-2022 1:45 PM

End Date

8-4-2022 2:00 PM

Description

With the expansion of the Accelerated Placement (AP) Program as a result of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, an increasing number of Universities and Colleges are using AP scores, either directly or indirectly, as one, among many, important criteria for making decisions on admissions and scholarship awards. However, a cross-section of the literature on educational inequality has found huge demographic (i.e. gender, class, racial, ethnic, etc.) gaps in enrollments and success in AP courses - with high income, white, and female students enrolling in, and performing better in, AP courses than other groups. While there is a wealth of literature examining these disparities at the national level, there is a dearth of information on factors associated with racial inequality in the AP Program at the local level. Using an availability sample of AP/Honors teachers within Spartanburg County, the current study set out to investigate factors associated with racial inequality in AP and Honors courses within Spartanburg County Public Schools. The sample consisted of eight teachers who self-identified as white females and three who self-identified as black females. These eleven teachers were the ones who responded affirmatively to email requests sent out to thirty (30) AP/Honors teachers in three school districts within Spartanburg County. In-depth interviews were conducted either in person or by phone using a semi-structured, open-ended questionnaire. The questionnaire collected information on the teacher’s demographic characteristics, overall student performance in the teacher’s AP/Honors classes, their experiences and interactions with the students, their perceptions about the demographic gaps in enrollment and performance in AP/Honors courses, among others. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis. Consistent with national trends, our study found that a majority of AP/Honors teachers in the Spartanburg County public schools were white females, just as the majority of students enrolled in the AP/Honors courses these teachers taught. There were very few teachers of color, and even fewer minority students, even in schools where the racial minority students were the majority. Racial disparities in enrollment and performance in AP/Honors courses were attributed to a number of factors, including tracking in the educational system, cultural dissonance, peer influence, social stigma, teacher implicit bias/prejudice, and differential support at school and home. The current study discusses the implications of these findings, strategies for mitigating the observed inequalities, and implications for future studies.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 8th, 1:45 PM Apr 8th, 2:00 PM

Racial Inequality in AP and Honors Courses in the U.S. Education System

Breakout Session A: Education

CASB 103

With the expansion of the Accelerated Placement (AP) Program as a result of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, an increasing number of Universities and Colleges are using AP scores, either directly or indirectly, as one, among many, important criteria for making decisions on admissions and scholarship awards. However, a cross-section of the literature on educational inequality has found huge demographic (i.e. gender, class, racial, ethnic, etc.) gaps in enrollments and success in AP courses - with high income, white, and female students enrolling in, and performing better in, AP courses than other groups. While there is a wealth of literature examining these disparities at the national level, there is a dearth of information on factors associated with racial inequality in the AP Program at the local level. Using an availability sample of AP/Honors teachers within Spartanburg County, the current study set out to investigate factors associated with racial inequality in AP and Honors courses within Spartanburg County Public Schools. The sample consisted of eight teachers who self-identified as white females and three who self-identified as black females. These eleven teachers were the ones who responded affirmatively to email requests sent out to thirty (30) AP/Honors teachers in three school districts within Spartanburg County. In-depth interviews were conducted either in person or by phone using a semi-structured, open-ended questionnaire. The questionnaire collected information on the teacher’s demographic characteristics, overall student performance in the teacher’s AP/Honors classes, their experiences and interactions with the students, their perceptions about the demographic gaps in enrollment and performance in AP/Honors courses, among others. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis. Consistent with national trends, our study found that a majority of AP/Honors teachers in the Spartanburg County public schools were white females, just as the majority of students enrolled in the AP/Honors courses these teachers taught. There were very few teachers of color, and even fewer minority students, even in schools where the racial minority students were the majority. Racial disparities in enrollment and performance in AP/Honors courses were attributed to a number of factors, including tracking in the educational system, cultural dissonance, peer influence, social stigma, teacher implicit bias/prejudice, and differential support at school and home. The current study discusses the implications of these findings, strategies for mitigating the observed inequalities, and implications for future studies.