Faye Lewis

Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Walpole, MaryBeth


Advanced placement programs (Education); High school students, Black


Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration


Using a qualitative approach, this study explored the factors that contribute to the underrepresentation of Black students in the AP program. The sample was comprised of 12 Black students who attended a suburban public high school in New Jersey. Seven of the participants were enrolled in AP classes and five were enrolled in Honors classes. Themes unique to the AP group were: discomfort and isolation in AP courses and teacher expectations. The theme that emerged from the non AP student interviews was comfort in Honors. Themes common to both groups were: lack of AP information, the impact of guidance counselors, the MAC Community, parental support, and self-efficacy. Themes also emerged based upon gender. Recommendations for how educators might begin to improve the learning landscape for students included the elimination of tracking, or the reduction of the number of levels (tracks). Secondly, it was determined that students and their parents should be provided with AP information beginning in middle school. Lastly, the results of the study suggest that counselors should develop more inclusive recruitment practices, so that information relative to the AP program is made available to all students.