Hispanic Student Access to Advanced Placement Courses
Combs, Julie P.
Onwuegbuzie, Anthony J.
Bustamante, Rebecca M.
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This qualitative, collective case study describes the perceptions of academically successful Hispanic students regarding their access to Advanced Placement (AP) courses in 4 suburban Texas high schools. A multistage, purposeful sampling scheme was used to select 28 participants for 4 focus groups. Six participants from the focus groups participated in interviews. The conceptual framework focused on Coleman’s (1988) theory of social capital. Classical content analysis revealed 4 major themes: (a) future, (b) course placement, (c) educational work ethic, and (d) relationships. The theme of relationships varied the most with discussion of the value of relationships with counselors, peers, parents, teachers, and other family members. Participants had both positive and negative experiences with two subcategories, counselors and teachers, who influenced their opinions about their placement in courses. Implications for researchers and practitioners are provided.