First Advisor

Vogel, Linda R.

Second Advisor

Weiler, Spencer

Document Type


Date Created



Determining how to provide a quality education for underserved students in the United States is a dilemma for educational leaders. In particular, high poverty Latino students are the least educated group in America. This qualitative study used data from focus group transcripts and school records to complete a comparative case study to explain how Latino students experienced the access to and equity in Advanced Placement (AP) coursework. Nine Latino students and eight White students from one high school participated in eight semi-structured focus groups based on ethnicity, grade level, grades in AP classes, and grade point averages. Triangulated data from focus groups transcripts, researcher notes, and students' academic records revealed differing academic experiences for Latino students as compared to White students at the participating high school. The results of this study exposed systemic structures and educational practices that negatively impacted Latino student enrollments in Advanced Placement programs at the participating high school. Major findings in the research included knowledge gaps among students and parents regarding the purpose and benefits of the AP program, ability tracking and differing AP program preparation, misdirected teacher beliefs and inequitable AP enrollment policies, and a lack of study session and support opportunities. Differing academic outcomes for Latino students in this study resulted in the development of a model that could support increased access to and equity in AP programs for all students.

Abstract Format



Educational leadership; Access; Advanced Placement; Equity; High School; Latino


180 pages

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Copyright is held by author.