Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in the Advanced Placement Classroom: A Case Study




Maguire, Tracy Miller

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There exists in our schools an excellence gap: an achievement gap at the highest levels of academic achievement between White and racial, ethnic, and linguistic minority students. Previous research has not looked at how culturally responsive pedagogy can be used to eliminate the Excellence Gap in Advanced Placement (AP) classes in order to create equity in achievement in AP. This dissertation examines the culturally responsive beliefs and practices of AP teachers whose racially, culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse (RCLED) students have historically been successful on the Advanced Placement (AP) end-of-course exam. The research questions for this study were: 1. What are the educational and professional development experiences of teachers of AP courses who have shown consistent success with Advanced Placement racially, culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse (RCLED) students? (“Success”= a score of 3+ on AP exam); 2. What are these teachers’ beliefs about teaching Advanced Placement RCLED students?; and, 3. In what ways do AP teachers who are successful with AP RCLED students exhibit aspects of culturally responsive pedagogy in their practice? I conducted a case study of five AP teachers using semi-structured interviews and classroom observations using the Culturally Responsive Instruction Observation Protocol (CRIOP), (3rd Edition) (Powell, Cantrell, Correll & Malo-Juvera, 2014). I found that the most salient factor of culturally responsive pedagogy for the teachers in this study to help their AP RCLED students reach success was the creation of caring and effective relationships between the teacher and his or her students. Other effective components of CRP in the AP context are also discussed. Teachers identified both student-related and school-related factors that they believe influence the success of RCLED students in AP courses. Finally, implications of this research and recommendations for school leaders, AP teachers, and AP program coordinators are offered.



Multicultural education, Gifted education, Pedagogy, Advanced Placement, Culturally responsive pedagogy, Diverse students, Excellence Gap