Diversity Gap in AP High School Education Persists Despite Increased Enrollment - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1749 Words
Date:  2023-08-28


The College Board of several schools has opined that students from various races are underrepresented in the AP high school education (College Board, 2009). The group consists mainly of the minority and people of color, including African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and Indians. There is still a significant diversity gap among the AP students enrolled in school despite the reports indicating and saying that there has been increased enrollment of student population represented by each group (Morgan & Slate, 2011; College Board, 2009). It is essential to find ways to incorporate more minority students, which has become a difficult task for some schools. Although the College Board has an equity policy, there still exists the disparity, and more needs to be done in terms of the enrollment of students from minority groups for AP courses.

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African American and Latino

Schools are encouraged by AP programs to make sure AP enrollment represents diversity through demographics, socioeconomic status, and gender. One of the climaxes for the class of 2008 AP results was an increase in African American and Latino AP participation. Several accomplishments to narrow the AP courses gap were glaring despite the existing gap in representation. Eighteen states closed the difference for the Hispanic/Latino student population and 16 states that closed the gap for American Indian students. African American enrollment into AP courses has improved along with participation in all AP courses ("There is Both Good News and Bad News in Black Participation,” 2009). In 2008, about 6.1 % of blacks took all of the AP exams that were given in the United States.

Although College Board AP results indicate improvement for African Americans, they still fall behind in their participation in AP courses. According to "There is Both Good News and Bad News in Black Participation" (2009), African Americans still suffer several barriers hindering them from participating in AP. These barriers consist of the following: the high cost of each exam, which is at $89, being intellectually unprepared to take AP courses, and peer pressure that comes from their mates. However, the barriers mentioned have not stopped African Americans from learning about the AP courses available for them.

Taliaferro and DeCuir-Gunby (2008) affirmed that African American students were aware of the importance of AP courses and the lack in their perspective schools. There was a feeling of alienation by the African American students in courses because of underrepresentation in AP courses. One place where the enrollment increased was at Florida Virtual School. According to the database from the school, Florida Virtual School had the most African American students take the exam and score a three or better on the review versus the nation. A historical overview of ethnicity, gender, and student performance on the SAT reported that African American students were outperformed by other students taking the exam with African Americans scoring between the ranges of SAT mathematics at around -.74 to -.83 of a standard deviation lower than the total group on the math portion of the SAT (Kobrin et al., 2007, p. 13).

Hispanic Group

The Hispanic population of AP students has increased as well. According to the College Board, 15.4% of Hispanic students make up the AP population, and of the 15.4%, 14.8% took the AP exam. Georgia's Hispanic population comprises 4.9% of AP Hispanic students, and 6.1 % of Hispanic students scored three or higher on AP exams. That was a positive move towards narrowing the achievement gap, as indicated in the reports by the College Board. Although there has been an increase in the percentage of Hispanic students taking AP, there is still underrepresentation of the students in some school districts (College Board, 2009). Korbin et al. (2007) identified that Hispanic students' math performance on the SAT ranged from .40 and .60 of a standard deviation lower than the whole group of test-takers. Hence, educators must continue to work hard to close the ethnicity gap for AP courses.

Asian and Indian

Asian and Indian American students comprise a tiny AP population (College Board, 2009). Asian/Indian American students make up 1.1% of the class of 2008 and this class; only .6% of the students are taking AP courses. Only 16 states closed the equity and achievement gap for Asian and Indian AP students. Diminutive literature exists on Asian and Indian students' performance in virtual school on AP math, which indicates a difference in the literature. However, in a longitudinal study, Kobrin et al. (2007) discovered that Asian American students' math performance on the SAT ranged between .40 and .60 of a standard deviation higher than the total group. Considering the number of Asian and Indian students enrolled in AP courses, there is a lot of room to increase the achievement indexes.

Although the underrepresented ethnic groups are less exposed to AP courses, there seems to be some level of success within each group. AP courses should vary in ethnicity, and educators have to find better ways to recruit the underrepresented students enrolled in AP classes (College Board, 2009).

Technological Factors and Academic Success

The Internet has innovatively transformed the worldwide educational system (Clark, 2001). School systems have taken advantage and made great use of Internet services and incorporated their learning process to online platforms. In 2004, approximately 91% of public schools had Internet access within the classroom, and 77% of teachers included technology in teaching. By the 2004-2005 school year, about 22 states had created a virtual school, and in 2006, there were 28 states. Students who had taken no AP courses completed a bachelor's degree at 33% (Burney & Cross, 2006). Those students who had completed one AP course completed college at a rate of 59%.

Students who had taken two or more AP courses completed a 4-year degree at a rate of 76%. There have been noted success rates for college students and high-school students on overall experience with e-learning. However, there is limited information about the academic success of secondary students in math in the virtual environment.

In the 21st century, there has been tremendous growth in educational technology across the United States. Distance education has blossomed for mainly three reasons; distances of citizens from educational institutions, desires by students, and the more significant population to become more educated and technological advances done by the considerable input of the scientists (Casey, 2008). For example, the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA, 2008) suggested virtual schools for middle and high school students are providing opportunities for students to learn or expand education through online teaching. Virtual schools have been defined as schools that are Internet-based schools for educating students K-12 (Cavanaugh, 2009). Virtual schools have provided a pathway for high-school students seeking more Advanced Placement (AP) courses (Falduto & Ihde, 2007). Advanced Placement courses offer high-school students an opportunity to enroll in rigorous course work to prepare for college (Moore & Slate, 2008).

In many school systems, students have embraced the virtual classes a move considered to fulfill the requirements of AP courses. Advanced course offerings in some rural communities are limited because there are not enough qualified teachers to teach a variety of subjects (Falduto & Ihde, 2007). Students located in rural areas who lack AP courses in their schools would find virtual school very useful in meeting AP requirements. However, student enrollment in virtual high-school AP classes has a 64% pass rate compared to the AP national pass rate, which is at 60%.

The growth of technology has enhanced the educational system worldwide. According to Cavanaugh et al. (2008), "Technology enhances and extends students' abilities to work with complex and abstract mathematical concepts" (p. 70). Virtual schools contain several components considered as troublesome for math students. One of the elements of focus is graphing linear equations. Math instruction in a virtual setting may seem overwhelming to many teachers uncomfortable with virtual learning (Reeves et al., 2007). Virtual high schools face many challenges. The growth of virtual schools will force many teachers to become more technologically advanced and thus invest more in being educated about the processes of teaching in virtual classrooms (Bouchard & Taylor, 2008). According to Sturgeon (2007), it is impossible to take a traditional classroom teacher, place them into a virtual classroom, and expect them to be successful without proper training. However, providing instruction and appropriate training to online teachers and students in times of budget cuts becomes another challenge to the success of virtual schools (Mupinga, 2005). Efficient, skilled, technologically advanced teachers can be challenging to hire because teachers will have to go through training and learn more about the basics of a computer, its software, and virtual schools (Bouchard & Taylor, 2008)

Jackson (2019) conducted a study to determine the influence virtual schools had on AP math classes in a Southern state as compared with the traditional classroom-based secondary AP math classes. The study included a sequential explanatory mixed method. In the quantitative portion, there were 375 student participants. The qualitative part of the study involved teacher interviews where five AP math teachers were involved. These interviews were used to gain teachers’ perceptions about the success of their students in their AP math exam by delivery method. He established that teachers perceived student success on the AP math exam was due to student motivation.

The Department of Education conducted a study and discovered AP students had better 4-year graduation rates than those who did not take AP. The study also established that students who take AP courses are more likely to earn scholarships than those who did not. Approximately 85% of colleges favor students for admissions based on their AP experience (College Board, 2009). Learning math of any sort has been proven difficult for some students, and there are many contributing factors. Some believe that mathematics will be challenging to teach outside of a traditional classroom. Thus, students will be able to work at their own pace and master mathematical concepts, which could prevent them from being lost when the rest of the class moves on (Bondelli, 2007). However, Bouchard & Taylor (2008) conducted a study in Louisiana during the 2004-2005 school year and found that students in schools with deficits did better in taking online courses in mathematics than students who did not (Bouchard & Taylor, 2008).

Grismore (2012) states that "educational technology meets the needs of a diverse group of learners while assisting teaching in getting all students to achieve at a high level" (p. 2). The study established that the proper use of technology integration would guarantee high levels of success in students regardless of the subject math included. However, this same integration can have the opposite effect when utilized inappropriately, and that is why it is advised that teachers and students be trained to use it appropriately.

Information technology has become routine in the classroom, helping to elevate and replace outdated pedagogical techniques and offering teachers the ability to design curriculum in advance with regards to different...

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Diversity Gap in AP High School Education Persists Despite Increased Enrollment - Essay Sample. (2023, Aug 28). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/diversity-gap-in-ap-high-school-education-persists-despite-increased-enrollment-essay-sample

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