Photo: Hispanics Taking Few AP Classes
Only 20 percent of Hispanic students are categorized as college-ready in reading and mathematics, compared to more than 50 percent of white students, according to a researcher from Sam Houston State University’s Center for Research in Educational Leadership.
Because positive performance on Advanced Placement examinations taken in high school is one of the best predictors of college-readiness and success in college, researcher Susan Borg reasons that “increasing the enrollment of Hispanic students in AP courses might represent one way to equalize these currently imbalanced college-readiness rates.”
In 2010, she conducted a collective study to identify and describe the reasons that academically successful Hispanic students from four suburban Texas high schools did not enroll in AP courses. Advanced Placement classes are rigorous courses of high school study, culminating in the opportunity to take an examination to earn college credit in the particular subject.
Borg’s work with high-achieving 12th grade Hispanic students found that their low enrollment rates in AP courses were affected by an unpreparedness for AP coursework due to the fact that they either chose, or were advised, not to continue in earlier Pre-AP courses, a lack of work ethic dedicated to AP, and lack of consistent relationships with the school personnel, such as counselors and teachers, who are the best sources of reliable information for college preparation and success.
According to the students, school personnel advised many of them early in their school careers to transfer into lower tracks due to their average levels of performance in advanced courses.
After remaining in the lower track for many years, those students felt unprepared for advanced courses in high school. The opinions of teachers or other school personnel regarding their academic performance factored into the students’ choices to select less challenging courses, according to Borg.