On-Track for STEM Careers: Access to Rigorous and Relevant STEM Coursework in Florida’s High Schools
Characteristics of 2005-2006 seniors enrolled in accelerated academic courses (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Dual Enrollment and honors) participants in Florida:
- Students eligible for the Federal Lunch Program were underrepresented in accelerated programs.
- Female students were more likely to enroll in accelerated programs than male students. Female enrollment in Advanced Placement and honors classes at Grade 12 was also higher than males, accounting for the majority of the students enrolled in these programs.
- African-American and Hispanic students were underrepresented in both the International Baccalaureate and Dual Enrollment programs. In AP and honors, Hispanic students were represented commensurate with their representation in the general population, and Black students were underrepresented to a lesser extent.
Descriptive analyses suggest that prevalence of accelerated coursetaking in Florida high schools varies according to several factors:
- Accelerated coursetaking was most prevalent at large and mid-size city and suburban schools compared to small metropolitan suburbs, towns, and rural areas.
- Schools with the lowest proportion of accelerated coursetaking included:
- Schools enrolling a majority of African-American students.
- Schools enrolling few Hispanic students.
- Schools with a high proportion of students enrolled in free/reduced lunch programs.
- Small schools.
The factors that influence students’ decisions to participate in accelerated academic programs include (based on qualitative research in schools):
- District level policies/practices such as the push to increase participation in the AP program.
- Previous participation in accelerated programs.
- Advice and/or recommendations from parents, teachers, and counselors.
- Students’ own interests (i.e., students most frequently discussed the opportunity to boost one’s weighted GPA and earn college credit as their own reasons for participating in accelerated academic programs).
“College and Career Ready in a Flat World” in Becky Smerdon and Kathryn Borman (eds). Schools for a Complex World. Forthcoming. B. Smerdon, A. Evan & K. Borman.
“Pathways in America’s High Schools” in Becky Smerdon and Kathryn Borman (eds). Schools for a Complex World. Forthcoming, B. Smerdon, A. Evan, K. Borman & A. Nguema.
“Educational Policy in Practice: Implementing the ‘AP for All’ Movement in Two Florida High Schools” in Becky Smerdon and Kathryn Borman (eds). Schools for a Complex World. Forthcoming. A. Spalding, A. Eden & R. Heppner.
“On-Track for STEM Careers: Access to Rigorous and Relevant STEM Coursework in Florida’s High Schools,” American Educational Research Association. April 2010, Denver, CO. K. Borman, R. Lee, A. Spalding, B. Smerdon & W. Tyson.
“Using FL State Data to Identify High Performing Schools for Qualitative Case Studies,” American Anthropological Association. December 2009, Philadelphia, PA. R. Lee, R. Lanehart & T. Boydston.
“ Dual Enrollment vs. Advanced Placement: Perceptual Differences about Accelerated Courses in Florida High Schools,” American Anthropological Association. December
2009, Philadelphia, PA. A. Nguema Ndong.
“Accelerated Academic Programs in Florida High Schools: Factors Influencing Student Participation,” Florida Educational Research Association. November 2009, Orlando, FL. A. Spalding, A. Nguema Ndong, R. Heppner & K. Borman.
“An Analysis of Dual Enrollment Participation Rates in Florida High Schools,” Florida Educational Research Association. November 2009, Orlando, FL. B. Fay, A. Nguema Ndong, W. Tyson & K. Borman.
Qualitative research instruments (interviews and focus group interviews) were created for this project. Posters have been presented at the annual REESE PI meetings.