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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Closing the Achievement Gap: Improving Success of Low-Income Minority Students in AP Programs

  • Author(s): Higgins, Erin Marie
  • Advisor(s): Wilms, Wellford W
  • et al.

This study examined how dismal passage rates on Advanced Placement Exams by low-income and minority students in urban schools might be improved by focusing on teacher development through the formation of a professional learning community of educators across content areas discussing and sharing research-based instructional strategies. A qualitative study of nine educators at one site in a large urban city who taught various AP courses for at least one year met over the course of the Spring 2015 leading up to the AP exams. Through the formation of the PLC of AP teachers, there were three major recommendations teachers had to improve the AP program: 1) Administration should include more teacher input in decision-making, 2) An “AP culture” must be built with clear expectations and buy-in from all stakeholders, and 3) Teachers want more meaningful and ongoing professional development in teaching AP to diverse learners.

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