Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Education


Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Hampton, Fred

Subject Headings

African Americans


The under-representation of African-American high school students in advanced placement classes must be understood in terms of broader school contexts and practices. This qualitative study investigated how teachers and guidance counselors contribute to the academic success of African-American students of high potential at a large suburban high school in the city of Cleveland. The purpose was to improve the participation and performance of these students in AP courses. Data indicates that (a) school employees (teachers and guidance counselors) can positively affect achievement, (b) their definitions of success shape these students’ opportunities for achievement, and (c) developing the capacities of high-potential students necessitates supported access to a challenging curriculum. The College Board’s report: Equity 2000: A Systemic Education Form Model stressed that although minority students who complete higher level math courses actually enroll in college at the same rate as their non-minority peers, a concern is that the minority students, especially African-American students, often have had a less demanding and relevant curricula. African-American students are not enrolled in or do not participate in a rigorous curriculum to the degree that non-minority students are participating. I collected data using observations, interviews, and focus groups. I targeted a large suburban high school that offered nineteen advanced placement courses, and one that had a reputation of effectiveness in supporting the academic success of African-American students. I determined why advanced placement courses were not a part of the curriculum design for these students and how to increase their enrollment in the courses.

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