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Advanced Placement Programs, Research Proposal Example

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Research Proposal

Abstract

Advanced Placement (AP) Programs are designed for high school students and are made to develop a students’ potential and increase his or her chances of being admitted into a college or university. These programs include taking college-level coursework, to ensure academic success in the future. Alarmingly, the participation levels of students from Hispanic and African American backgrounds that live in urban environments are very low. This poses as potential inequality for those students in entering college or succeeding in college. Studies have shown that not enough high schools are doing their part in preparing their students for post-secondary education, which includes the availability of Advanced Placement programs (Ndura, Robinson, & Ochs, 2003). Not only is there a lack of preparation from schools, but the changes in demographics urban environments are experiencing contributes to the low level of minority students’ participation in AP programs. There are socio-economic reasons bounding minority students from low-income families to be able to take advantage of AP programs (Klopfenstein, 2003b).

Introduction

This paper addresses the issue of unequal minorities among students from Hispanic and African American backgrounds in participating in Advanced Placement classes. There are insufficient resources to allow these students which can enable more participation from minority students from low-income urban environments. The rates of whites in Advanced Placement classes are far higher than those of minorities participating in the program. This study investigates the socio-economic issues and the lack of action from the academe regarding this topic. The low levels of minority students participating in Advanced Placement classes put them at a disadvantage when it comes to college admissions, or even college success.

Statement of Problem/Purpose of Study

Hispanic and African American students from urban poor environments do not have the same opportunities to take part in Advanced Placement classes. The purpose of this study is to identify the factors behind the situation of unequal opportunities minorities have in participating in AP classes to help them further their success in higher education. The underachievement of minorities needs to be identified and investigated. The research problems this study is to investigate are as follows:

  1. What are the factors behind the underrepresentation of minorities in Advanced Placement programs?
  2. Are schools doing enough to accommodate minority students in Advanced Placement classes?

Review of related literature

Advanced Placement (AP) Programs are designed to enhance talented individuals’ education (VanTassel-Baska, 2001). It is created as a pathway into promoting academic talent for students in high school. AP was developed in 1957 and was made for high school students to earn more credit towards college-level coursework (Klopfenstein & Thomas, 2009). The College Board creates a standardized curriculum to serve teachers as a guide in preparing students for the national AP examinations which occur once a year, during May. Colleges and Universities usually look favorably on students who have taken up AP programs (Klopfenstein, 2003a). AP course-taking has been speculated to result in early college success for those students involved in it. There has been great pressure over many students to take part in Advanced Placement Programs to increase their chances of admission in a college or university. According to Klopfenstein (2009) the College Board provides numerous studies concluding that passing AP exam scores is a strong indicator of college success.

The AP program has been increasing in students due to the competitiveness in college admissions (Klopfenstein, 2003a). However, even with this growth, minorities still face unequal opportunities in participating in AP Programs. Minorities remain underrepresented in AP programs (Ndura, et. al., 2003). This puts speculation on the underachievement of minorities. Studies have shown that Black and Hispanic students’ enrollment in AP classes are only at half the rate of white students (Klopfenstein, 2003b). The rates for enrolling in AP classes has increased by almost 400 per cent over the past two years for white students, yet remained alarmingly low for minority students. Schools of higher socio-economic levels are more accommodating to making their AP programs of higher standards for their students (Ndura, et. al., 2003).

There have been large changes in terms of demographics in American cities. These changes include growing diversity and increasing numbers of immigrants. Unfortunately, these changes have created a significant impact on learning opportunities for students from urban environments (Kyberg, et.al., 2007). Minorities face unequal opportunities as compared to white students. There have been studies showing that the educational system remains unequal due to the segregation of race and income (Kyberg, et.al., 2007). These unequal educational opportunities come out as a “rich versus poor” issue. This has come to be of socio-economic reasons, relating to the status of the students’ parents (Ndura, et.al., 2003). Because of the lack of resources and adequate number of staff, many minority children are alternatively taught by under-qualified teachers in smaller settings with an unequal students-teacher ratio (Kyberg, et.al., 2007).  Because of the extensive rates in poverty among urban environments minorities have no choice but to part-take in high schools which are large in population and extremely impersonal.

Students from diverse cultural backgrounds, as compared to those students from socio-economically well-off schools experience a disadvantage and are very under-represented in Advanced Placement programs (Kyberg, 2007). There has been a link found in the underachievement of minority students and their economic status. Low-income students may be pressured to work and carry on familial responsibilities while attending school (Klopfenstein, 2003b). Besides lack of available courses and lack of preparation on the part of the school, students do not have the time nor the economic means to participate in the AP programs. Although there is no cost to participate in an Advanced Placement program, there is a fee should the student choose to take the exam (Kyberg, 2007). Because of factors such as economic resources and lack of institutional preparedness, the likeliness of a students participating in an advanced curriculum such as the Advanced Placement Program are low (Kloptenstein, 2003b).

This underrepresentation of minorities being able to take part in Advanced Placement programs puts students of Hispanic and African American backgrounds from urban environments at an unequal position in terms of success in college or even entering college. This issue of access, participation and achievement must be investigated further and action must be taken for minority students’ opportunities to develop (Ndura, et.al., 2003). This unequal access puts students at a loss when it comes to college.

Hypothesis

There is a direct social and economic relation to the lack of participation from minority students in Advanced Placement classes. There are also demographic shifts in urban environments directly causing the underrepresentation of minorities in Advanced Placement classes. These two factors result to the unequal opportunities minorities may face in terms of college admissions or even college success.

Methodology/collecting data

Quantitative means of data collecting will be used to identify the number of minority students as compared to other students in their participation of Advanced Placement programs. Students in high school will be the subjects of data collection, as well as their schools’ track records. Schools from environments which are socio-economically better off will be compared to those schools which lack socio-economic resources in terms of admissions in Advanced Placement classes. We will be sampling students from both urban settings and suburban settings, taking into account students’ socio-economic statuses, getting the same number of students for each ethnic group, including the minorities identified. There will be a total of forty students, twenty from the suburban environment, and twenty from the urban environment. Both groups will be even in ethnic ratios. Qualitative means of data will find the interest in minority students not in AP classes in participating in AP classes. Also, views of minorities who are participating in AP classes will be examined, and the readiness of the school in accommodating these minority students will be further analyzed and criticized. A total of twenty students from the urban settings will be chosen as samples, all from minority groups of Hispanic and African American backgrounds.

Results

Because of the lack of statistical data on this topic, it is hard to conclude all the reasons of why there is a underrepresentation of such for minorities in Advanced Placement programs. Further research need to be made in connection with the readiness of schools in accommodating minority students from low-income families to participate in advanced placement classes. Also, teacher as well as student attitudes must be identified within an Advanced Placement program. Awareness for this underrepresentation of minority students from low-income families need to be made among the academe to ensure equality amongst all students in terms of admission in college as well as college success.

References

Ndura, E., Robinson, M., & Ochs, G. (2003). Minority students in high school advanced placement courses: opportunity and equity denied. American Secondary Education, 32(1),

Klopfenstein, K. (2003a). Advanced placement: do minorities have equal opportunity?. Economics of Education Review, 23(2), 115-131.

Klopfenstein, K. (2003b). Recommendations for maintaining the quality of advanced placement programs. American Secondary Education, 32 (1),

Klopfenstein, K., & Thomas, M.K. (2009). The link between advanced placement experiences and college success. Southern Economic Journal, 75(3).

Kyburg, R.M., Hertberg-Davis, H., & Callahan, C.M. (2007). Advanced placement and International Baccalaureate Programs: Optimal learning environments for talented minorities. Journal of Advanced Academics, 18(2), 172-215.

Kyburg, R.M. (2007). Minority student voices: advanced placement and international baccalaureate students speak out. American Research Association,

VanTassel-Baska, J. (2001). The role of advanced placement in talent development. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 12(3), 126.

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Research Proposal

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