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Title:Examining intersectional invisibility of African American girls in high school Advanced Placement classrooms
Author(s):Fuller-Hamilton, Asia Nicole
Director of Research:Welton, Anjalé D.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Welton, Anjalé D.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Anderson, James D.; Dunbar Jr., Christopher; Hackmann, Donald G.; Zamani-Gallaher, Eboni M.
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Advanced Placement
Intersectional invisibility
African American
Abstract:Advanced Placement (AP) classes offer several post-secondary benefits for students who enroll in them, including increased college enrollment rates, reduced cost of attendance due to a greater chance of receiving scholarships, and greater opportunities be admitted into prestigious institutions (Kettler & Hurst, 2017; Shaw, Marini, & Mattern, 2013). While the national AP program is experiencing growth, Black students in the 2013 graduating cohort remained the most underrepresented demographic group enrolled in AP classrooms and in the population of AP exam takers scoring a passing grade between 3 and 5 (College Board, 2014). When specifically examining African American girls, there is a dearth of literature on this population’s performance and engagement within AP classrooms. This absence extends beyond AP classrooms, as the inclusion and support of African American girls is also limited within educational policy research, advocacy, and programmatic interventions (Crenshaw, Ocen, & Nanda, 2015). As schools continue to strive toward achieving equitable educational outcomes for all students, disaggregating demographic data and examining the educational experiences of students is critical. In light of this, I centered my focus in this dissertation on the experiences of African American girls in two high schools within a single, socio-economically and racially diverse school district to examine their experiences within high school AP classes. I employ a phenomenological methodology to examine the essence of intersectional invisibility (Purdie-Vaughns & Eibach, 2008) among this specific population. Through interviews of student participants and high school principals, it was observed that African American girls primarily became enrolled in AP courses through counselor recommendations, despite the district’s self-selection program. Additionally, while African American girls in this study had access to various academic supports, including meetings with classroom teachers and lunch and after-school study sessions, after school jobs or extra-curricular activities and lack of teacher availability prohibited many of the students in this study from adequately accessing these supports. Lack of teacher availability was largely perpetuated in the AP History courses, in which many of the student participants in this study felt excluded from classroom participation. Conversely, those students enrolled in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) AP courses largely reported ample academic support from teacher in those classes, including a variety of instructional aides to assist them in their coursework; however, only 3 of the 10 participants were enrolled in AP STEM courses. Principals, as instructional leaders, have the capacity to increase equitable participation and outcome opportunities for African American girls and all other demographic groups through their understanding and use of data, by being fearless in addressing teacher issues, and by working with students to facilitate change.
Issue Date:2017-04-21
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Asia Fuller Hamilton
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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