Summary of  A Study of AP students in High Schools with Large Minority Populations

by Richard J. Coley and Patricia L. Casserly, Educational Testing Service, 1992.



Summary by Margaret DeLacy

Eight high schools whose minority students earned high AP grades in an array of subjects were chosen.  509 students participated.  Two-thirds of the students were from minority groups and 30 percent were born outside the US. 

Three of every four AP students reported participation in accelerated classes or special programs for academically able of gifted students in elementary/junior high school.   The majority of these students learned of the AP program from their teachers or during class.  Teachers were cited by 75% as being influential in their development. 

The AP students surveyed were *less* likely than average high school students to have a parent who had completed high school and their parents were not very active in their children's schools, though they were more likely to have attended a PTA meeting than the average parent.  

AP students were  *more* likely to aspire to higher educational levels than their classmates: 45% planned to pursue a graduate degree (master's or doctorate).

The careers these students most often planned to pursue included business/economics (24%), Medicine (22%), Science/math (22%), Law (17%) and Engineering (15%).  Thus over half of all AP students planned to major in medicine, engineering and science/math, compared with 15 percent of all college-bound seniors.

The most common reason they enrolled in AP classes was the challenge these classes presented.  Academic and personal development was the most frequently cited benefit from participating.

Oregon is tied with three other states (Idaho, Montana, and Arkansas) for a rank of 38th. to 41st. in the country in AP participation.  See 

If Oregon wishes to increase the number of graduates capable of and interested in participating in higher education or quantitative professions,  AP classes would be a good place to start, though they are not challenging enough for all gifted students.   Other effective measures include increasing the number of teachers trained to serve gifted students, and offering accelerated classes or special programs for academically able of gifted students in elementary and middle school as well as advanced classes in high school. These programs have been shown to be effective for all gifted students including gifted minority students.