Report on AP Programs Is Useful but Lacks Detail in Its Methodology and Analysis

BOULDER, CO (September 25, 2018) – A report from the Education Trust uses a case study of two exemplary high schools to address the question of how schools might support access to and success in AP programs by low-income students and students of color.

Professor Beth C. Rubin of Rutgers University reviewed Systems for Success: Thinking Beyond Access to AP, and praised the report’s descriptions of the intricacies of providing access to and support for underrepresented students in AP. However, the review also raised concerns about the report’s minimal description of its methodological and analytical approaches.

Systems for Success contends that a variety of interventions help promote access and success, including teacher support and development, analysis of class composition, careful scheduling, and provision of during- and after-school academic support for students. The report’s qualitative approach is well-suited to describing ways that schools can address the complex and deeply rooted problem of inequitable access to academic opportunity within secondary education.

Yet the report suffers, Professor Rubin explains, from lack of rigor in its description of methods and analysis, absence of grounding in the research literature on learning and inequality, and an inattention to the experiences of students from the groups least well-represented in advanced placement courses nationwide. In lacking these features, the report misses an opportunity to address key educational justice issues. 

Overall, while it provides some inspiring examples, more detailed and rigorous description of methods and analysis would make a stronger case for the report’s highlighted interventions.

Find the review, by Beth C. Rubin, at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-AP

Find Systems for Success: Thinking Beyond Access to AP, written by Ashley Griffin and Davis Dixon and published by The Education Trust, at: https://edtrust.org/resource/systems-success-thinking-beyond-access-ap/

NEPC Reviews (http://thinktankreview.org) provide the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC Reviews are made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: http://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: https://nepc.colorado.edu