Advanced placement, ap, ap potential, equity gap, enrollment, traditionally underserved minorities, african american, hispanic, economically disadvantaged, invitational theory, inviting messages, program access student survey


The number of students enrolling in Advanced Placement (AP) classes has been increasing in Florida and across the nation over the last decade. However, this trend is not happening for traditionally underserved groups of students such as African Americans, Hispanics, and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. These minority groups are underrepresented in AP classes, while Asian and White students are overrepresented. This trend is alarming because there are qualified minority students who have a great chance of being successful in AP classes according to AP Potential data. For some reason though, these qualified minority and low income students are nevertheless not enrolling in AP classes. The purpose of this research was to investigate whether or not the extension of inviting messages to enroll in AP courses was dependent upon students' ethnic and/or socioeconomic background. A mixture of quantitative and qualitative research methods were employed to examine how the role of invitational theory affects minority student enrollment in AP classes. Mean scale scores from a survey were used to measure student attitudes about how welcoming and inviting schools were when it came to student recruitment into AP classes. T-tests and an analysis of variance were used to determine if there were differences in attitudes among students currently enrolled in AP classes, students of various economic means, and students of various ethnicities. Results from this study found that students already in AP classes felt very invited to challenge themselves in AP classes by teachers, administrators, parents, and peers. Richer students, Whites, and Asians also felt more invited to join AP classes than did poorer, African American, and Hispanic students, though these results were not statistically significant. To increase enrollment in AP classes, the overwhelming response from students was that schools should advertise the pros and cons of taking an AP class. Future research should examine students' perspectives regarding inviting school cultures in regions outside of the southeastern United States. Researchers should also focus on students in urban high schools as previous research has only examined student attitudes in rural and suburban high schools. Finally, future research should examine inviting school cultures from other stakeholders' perspectives such as parents and teachers.


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Graduation Date





Murray, Kenneth


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education and Human Performance


Teaching, Learning, and Leadership

Degree Program

Educational Leadership; Executive








Release Date

December 2014

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Education and Human Performance; Education and Human Performance -- Dissertations, Academic