Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Heterogeneous Design: How an AP English Teacher Plans Curriculum and Manages Dilemmas
by Moon, Shannon S., Ed.D., Mills College, 2011, 172; 3465184
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this dissertation is to examine how one AP English teacher plans and prepares curriculum in her open-enrollment, heterogeneous AP English Literature class as well as how she manages dilemmas as she plans. College Board implemented the open-enrollment policy in the late 1990s, yet little research exists which considers how teachers are planning curriculum to support this more diverse body of AP students. As the student population in the United States becomes increasingly de-tracked and heterogeneous, teachers who have experience teaching AP classes before and after the open-enrollment policy offer a unique perspective on meeting high academic standards among students with varying degrees of readiness to meet such standards as well as managing the dilemmas inherent in the transition to open-enrollment.

This dissertation presents an in-depth, prototypic case study of one AP English teacher in an open-enrollment classroom. This teacher was asked to explain her planning process using an exemplar unit, reflect on student performance on the unit evaluation and explain how this information impacted the subsequent unit, and plan an on-demand lesson plan using a released AP English exam. Findings from the study show this AP teacher reported an increase in planning challenges without any corresponding increase in planning affordances. The increases in planning challenges were categorized as a variety of dilemmas including AP Exam Results versus Authentic Curricular Experience, Stiff Standards versus Flexible Standards, Teacher Centered versus Student Centered Curriculum, and Academic Language versus Expression of Ideas that were embedded in key decisions during planning. The implications include critical suggestions for future research and for policy including the purpose of the open-enrollment policy, breadth of the AP curriculum, lack of support and collaboration opportunities, responsibility for AP exam results, increased dilemma-load and decreased resources for teachers, and essential systemic changes to support "good" teaching.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Donahue, David M.
Commitee: Ayers, Richard, Richert, Anna E., Schultz, Katherine
School: Mills College
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 72/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Language arts
Keywords: AP, Advanced Placement, Curriculum, Dilemmas, English, Heterogeneous design, Lesson planning, Open enrollment
Publication Number: 3465184
ISBN: 978-1-124-76886-1
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