The purpose of this qualitative, explanatory multiple-case study was to examine the perceptions of staff members at two Southern California high schools as they related to the disparate participation in advanced academic programs by ethnic and racial minority and economically disadvantaged students as compared to their White and economically advantaged peers. Working within the theoretical frameworks of critical theory and social constructivism, this study examined administrator, counselor, program coordinator, and teacher perceptions of specific school contexts that they believed positively or negatively affected the participation of such students in the Honors, Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs on each campus.
Data collection and analysis of semi-structured interviews, observational field notes, and site document reviews yielded five major themes: (1) administrators, counselors, program coordinators, and teachers at each site strongly believed in the accessibility of advanced academic courses to all students; (2) the participants possessed uncertain or inaccurate perceptions of racial and ethnic minority and economically disadvantaged students participation in advanced academic courses on each site; (3) staff members strongly believed that student desire was the primary attribute determining student qualification for participation in advanced academic courses; (4) staff members articulated school protocols and practices for identifying and placing students in advanced academic courses that relied upon academic predictors, such as test scores and grades, and teacher recommendations; and (5) administrators, counselors, program coordinators, and teachers identified specific school contexts that they perceived to positively or negatively impact ethnic and racial minority student participation in the Honors, AP, and IB courses on each campus.
Overall, the study revealed that while staff members at each site perceived the advanced academic programs on their campuses to be accessible to all students and strongly believed that student desire and willingness to participate in advanced academic courses of study should be the primary qualifications for participation in such classes, specific school contexts at one site contributed to the underrepresentation of ethnic and racial minority and economically disadvantaged students while at the other site specific school contexts contributed to improved minority and economically disadvantaged student participation in advance academic courses of study.
|School:||California State University, Fullerton|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 75/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Higher Education Administration, Educational leadership|
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