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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Advanced Placement Pioneers: A Historical Study of Academic Achievement of African American Students in The Advanced Placement Program of Study in Southern Maryland, 1982–1997
by Oliver, Kaye, Ph.D., College of Notre Dame of Maryland, 2011, 249; 3454781
Abstract (Summary)

This historical study explored the local history of African American education in three Southern Maryland counties: Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary’s. It traced the individual circumstances that led each county to begin its own Advanced Placement Program of study. The study, in attempting to gain insights to eliminate achievement ‘gaps’, explored the reasons each county’s first African American students entered AP courses during a period when course admission requirements were highly restrictive. Methodology for this study included oral history interviews with former teachers, administrators, superintendents, and African American AP students. The study identified and defined two distinct periods of AP: ‘phase one, when schools and teachers acted as gatekeepers for courses, resulting in an elite, highly selective group of students taking AP courses and ‘phase two, where exposure from the media led the three counties to relax AP course enrollment criteria.

Results of this study indicated academic tracking during the phase one period of AP severely limited chances for many students, but especially African Americans, to advance into AP courses. Most African Americans who were able to take AP courses did so because their individual backgrounds prepared them for academic success without assistance from the public schools. Only two students in this study were pulled into AP courses by a high school educator from lower ‘level’ courses. Most students in this study felt a racial ‘stigma’ in the AP classroom. All students interviewed who took an AP course during the period of this study went on to graduate from a four year college.

This study recommends the role of the AP course and instructor in public schools during phase two needs to change from gatekeeper to student advocate if we are to address current achievement gap issues.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kassouf-Spratt, Evelyn
Commitee: Moore, Andrew P., Peterson, Stacey
School: College of Notre Dame of Maryland
Department: Department of Education
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-A 72/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: African American Studies, Black history, Education history, Secondary education
Keywords: Achievement gap, Advanced Placement, African American achievement, African-American, History of African American education, Maryland
Publication Number: 3454781
ISBN: 978-1-124-64761-6
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