Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The beliefs of advanced placement teachers regarding equity and access to advanced placement courses: A mixed-methods study
by Igualada, Mirynne O'Connor, Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University, 2015, 194; 10154938
Abstract (Summary)

This mixed methods study of teachers’ beliefs about Advanced Placement (AP) equity and access policies occurred in Sunshine County School District, a large south Florida school district that has received accolades for leading the nation in access and equity in AP. Drawing on social reconstructionism, this study framed AP as an acceleration mechanism with the potential to increase students’ prospects for social advancement. These policies have resulted in a more diverse classroom experience through nontraditional student participation in AP courses.

The purpose of this embedded case study was to examine the relationship between beliefs held by AP teachers in regard to the implementation of equity and access policies, as well as to what extent these beliefs may support or hinder the execution of such policies and procedures. The study occurred in three phases and consisted of document analysis, a survey, and interviews. Surveys collected from 176 AP teachers in the district yielded quantitative data on AP teachers’ beliefs regarding equity and access and the subsequent implementation of equity and access policies. Qualitative data regarding beliefs surrounding equity and access policies and the potential challenges these policies may pose were collected through open-ended survey questions, document analysis, and interviews with eight teachers at two selected high schools representing the highest and the lowest access rates to AP in the district.

The findings indicated that AP teachers support equity and access policies in AP. Despite these beliefs, there is evidence that such policies are not implemented consistently across schools and particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related content areas. The analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data led to the conclusion that the historic tension between elitism and equity that surrounds the AP program currently is fueled primarily through state accountability measures. Implications and suggestions for future research are related to policy changes regarding the revision of the state of Florida grading system and district-level procedural changes in relation to the design of school-based professional development and development of clear AP pathways that support access among underrepresented students.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Schoorman, Dilys
School: Florida Atlantic University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 78/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education Policy, School administration, Secondary education
Keywords: Advanced placement, College Board, Equity, Mixed-methods, Social reconstructionism
Publication Number: 10154938
ISBN: 978-1-369-10023-5
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