TITLE: What do the characteristics and outcomes of AP classes contribute to the promise of equity? An examination of a program through using an Effectively Maintained Inequality theoretical framework
As the Advanced Placement (AP) program continues to be used as a course model for rigorous, college-level curriculum in high schools, issues of equitable racial and socio-economic access to AP courses have arisen. This research uses data from a large suburban school to examine how the characteristics and outcomes of an AP program contribute to the promise of equity. Data collected from the school was used to examine the proportionality of AP course enrollment and success rates (success was defined by an A or B in the class or a 3 or higher on the AP exam) of students of color (SOC) and students who receive free or reduced lunch. The data collected from the research demonstrate that SOC and students who receive free or reduced lunch are not proportionally represented in AP courses nor in AP success rates. Effectively Maintained Inequality (EMI) (Lucas, 2001) is used as a theoretical lens for the analysis of data used in this study. EMI posits that as academic spaces such as AP courses become more equitable and diverse, students and families who traditionally received an advantage from such a course will seek out alternatives that maintain exclusivity.
THESIS DEFENDED AND APPROVED: Spring 2019