Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Getting More Diversity in Honors/AP Classes

One of the most persistent issues in American education, and one of the least discussed, is how to address issue of lack of diversity in accelerated, honors and AP classes. While we talk a lot about the achievement gap, we rarely look at how admission to these classes does not reflect the ethnic and gender diversity present in ours schools. The College Board reports (2012) that while increasing numbers of high school students enroll in AP classes, the admissions/enrollment gap persists.

A recent column in edutopia examined how accepted practices in many school perpetuate these gaps. The gap may be the result of the criteria used for admission to high-level classes. It may be a misperception among students and their families that these classes are for certain kinds of students. Regardless, the admission gap continues despite our knowledge that there is no inherent "ability" gap because of one's gender or ethnicity.

In her blog Heather Wolpert-Gawron, a middle school teacher describes the plan her school developed to address the need for more diversity in honors classes. She provides a candid, but thoughtful analysis of the issues involved in addressing this issue. Her post ends with the question we all should be asking---what do you plan to do about this issue in your school?

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