A political and critical study on the factors that affect Latino enrollment and engagement in advanced placement courses
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Advanced placement courses are designed to be innovative and rigorous and also encourage and promote critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. Currently, most high schools across the United States offer advanced placement courses with the intent that students enrolled in such courses will be prepared for entering and completing college courses. While advanced placement courses are intended to promote enriched learning experiences for all students, the enrollment of Latino students in high school advanced placement courses is low as compared to other student groups excluding African American students (College Board, 2010). Despite reports, studies, and literature surrounding equity and access in the advanced placement program, research and literature is limited with respect to identifying factors that influence the enrollment in advanced placement courses in high schools from the perspective of Latino students. The purpose of this study was to identify the factors that influence Latino students in their decision to enroll and participate in advanced placement courses in high schools. Moreover, identifying factors that influence enrollment in advanced placement courses from the perspective of the Latino student was critical to analyzing current practice and informing future strategies for increasing enrollment in high school advanced placement courses. This qualitative case study provided rich, descriptive data drawn from student experiences and perceptions from individual interviews that allowed for flexibility and opportunities for further exploration of topics or ideas that emerged from the research to best identify the factors that influence enrollment in advanced placement courses.