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ERIC Number: ED519345
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 266
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1241-6238-6
Gifted Spanish Speaking English Learners' Participation in Advanced Placement Programs
Torres, Luz Adriana
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Southern California
This qualitative study sought to uncover the contextual factors of the schooling process that affect the enrollment of gifted Spanish speaking English Learners (ELs) in Advanced Placement (AP) courses. In addition, this study investigated the perceptions of gifted Spanish speaking ELs toward AP courses and how these perceptions might affect their participation in AP courses. Six student participants and two teachers of EL students completed a short survey and responded to questions that asked specifically about what students and their parents know about AP courses, college requirements, financial aid, and how they accessed this information. One school counselor participated in the interview, but did not participate in the survey. English learners and other ethnic minorities are underrepresented in AP programs. AP enrollment criteria such as teacher recommendation, tracking practices, and low academic achievement have kept EL students out of AP courses. ELs are also underidentified in programs for the gifted and talented. This study investigated the schooling experiences of gifted Spanish speaking EL high school students as well as their perceptions toward AP courses that might affect what they know about AP programs and the extent to which they enroll and participate in AP programs. The research findings of this study revealed that gifted Spanish speaking ELs and their parents had high aspirations for college attendance, but had limited information or misconceptions about AP programs. This information, coupled with how students perceived themselves as learners affected their enrollment and participation in AP classes. In addition, the data revealed that teacher recommendation was a decisive factor with respect to which students were perceived to be qualified to participate in AP courses. Common themes emerging from the study identified a variety of contextual factors of the schooling process as well as student and school personnel perceptions that affected the extent to which gifted EL students participated in AP courses. Some themes dealing with the school process included: teachers were sources of information and of academic support, there was a lack of integration of the students' language and culture in the school curriculum and on campus, and school personnel were perceived to be influential in students' decisions to enroll in AP classes. The data uncovered the following themes regarding students' perceptions: parents had limited influence on their children's decisions to take AP courses because they lacked information about AP programs, students' reasons for choosing to participate or not participate in AP classes were varied and inconsistent, and students' peers served as the social capital needed to learn about AP courses. The findings of this study call for districts, schools, and policymakers to examine the current school processes and how they affect the overall achievement of gifted ELs and their enrollment, participation, and success in AP programs. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A