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Title:Black student access to Advanced Placement coursework in a suburban high school
Author(s):Bentsen, Samuel Arne
Director of Research:Welton, Anjalé
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Welton, Anjalé
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Bresler, Liora; Herrmann, Mary; Alexander, Kern
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):AP participation for Black students
Abstract:Increasing numbers of high school students across America are taking AP courses; however the amount of Black high school students taking AP courses is very low. This qualitative case study explored the approach taken at one predominately White suburban high school that had undergone recent demographic change to encourage AP participation for Black students. Using Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Cultural and Social Capital Frameworks, I examined the schooling environment that Black students encountered. Secondly, it was important to scrutinize the factors within the school community that supported or inhibited Black student access to AP coursework. Finally, I studied what factors in the Black community encouraged the taking of AP courses. Valdosa is a suburb of Chicago and Valdosa East High School (VEHS) was the focus of the case study. VEHS was the original high school in the district and currently VEHS has an enrollment of 2057 with a Black student percentage of 8%, a dramatic increase as the Black population measured at 1.3% in 1998. Interviews of school administrators, counselors, an AP teacher, Black students and their parents were part of the study as well as observations of Black students’ registering for courses. The findings from the study suggested that a color-blind mind-set existed within VEHS as all students were treated in a similar manner without regard for cultural differences. Staff in VEHS, particularly two counselors, built relationships with Black students and encouraged them to take rigorous courses. Also peer to peer interaction at VEHS provided the social capital to Black students to help them acquire the needed cultural capital to navigate the educational system and enroll in AP courses. Ultimately the Black students who took AP courses learned how to navigate VEHS and owned their educational opportunities in order to be prepared to go to college.
Issue Date:2017-04-17
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Samuel Bentsen
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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