The goal of this research was to determine whether or not there was a relationship between principals’ reports of practices regarding open enrollment in Advanced Placement (AP) courses and student achievement results on the AP examinations. Because the percentage of the school population enrolled in AP courses and the percentage of students scoring a 3, 4, or 5 on AP examinations were anticipated to impact high school grades in Florida beginning in 2010, research from this study may provide important information to Florida school leaders. Because of school accountability and educational reform initiatives, the study is also important to educational leaders on a national level. Relationships between open enrollment practices shaped by high school principals’ decisions and beliefs and the increased enrollment and student performance on AP exams were examined to allow school districts to make curricular decisions regarding rigorous curricular opportunities based on the importance of designing high school AP programs that provide equity and access for all students. The population for this study included all public high schools and their principals (N=56) in five central Florida school districts that administered AP exams in May 2009 and received a Florida Department of Education assigned school grade during the 2008- 2009 school year. A multiple linear regression analysis was conducted to examine the relationships between the percentage of students from a school who took or passed the AP examination (dependent variable) and three independent variables describing principal’s attitudes toward the school’s AP program: (a) access and equity practices, (b) open enrollment practices, and (c) a rating of importance of the AP program. The goal iii was to determine if the AP examination passing percentage or enrollment percentage could be predicted by these three principal attitudinal variables. The schools’ percentages of students scoring a 3, 4, 5, on AP examinations or taking AP examinations were gathered from the Florida Department of Education website. Principals’ reports of practices were obtained from self-report on the AP Course Enrollment Survey. When examining to what extent, if any, was there a relationship between the principals' reports of practices regarding open enrollment in AP courses and overall student achievement results on AP examinations in five central Florida counties, there were significant predictors based upon the regression model. In predicting the school’s percentage of white, Hispanic, and Asian populations passing the AP examinations, only the principal’s perception of access and equity was a statistically significant factor. There were no statistically significant predictors of a school’s percentage of African American students passing the AP examinations. Neither principal’s perception of open enrollment nor importance contributed to the model results regarding open enrollment in AP courses and overall student achievement results on AP examinations. When examining to what extent, if any, was there a relationship between the principals' reports of practices regarding open enrollment in AP courses and the percentage of students enrolled in AP courses in five central Florida counties, there were significant predictors based upon the regression model. In predicting the school’s percentage of students taking AP examinations, only the principal’s perception of importance was significant for overall and for all student populations. Open enrollment was significant for the overall populations as well as white and Asian subpopulations. iv Access/Equity was only significant for white students. Thus, importance was the main cause of the model significance regarding open enrollment in AP courses and the percentage of students enrolled in AP courses. This investigation revealed that as schools increased the access and equity in AP programs that successful student performance percentages increased as did AP course enrollment percentages. Also when the variable of importance by principals was placed on AP programs, it typically had a positive impact on student performance percentages yet sometimes caused a decrease in AP course enrollment. The investigation also revealed and was supported by research that the open enrollment practices of a school may cause a decrease in successful student performance percentages. However, open enrollment practices increase student enrollment in AP courses and student success over time. Educational leaders have the natural responsibility to increase student achievement in schools. There must be appropriate practices and procedures put in place and monitored by principals to meet accountability standards and to increase equity in and access to a rigorous curriculum for all students. Based of educational reform and school accountability demands, balancing the benefits of open enrollment for AP programs, cost effectiveness of AP programs, the allocation of scarce resources, and maintaining course validity and rigor are important issues for educational leaders to consider (College Board, 2004).
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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Education
Educational Research, Technology, and Leadership
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Education, Education -- Dissertations, Academic
Bradshaw, Leigh, "Practices Of High School Principals Regarding Open Enrollment In Advanced Placement Courses And Student Performance Results In 2009" (2010). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1557.