Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education

Major Professor

Bárbara C. Cruz, Ed.D.

Committee Member

James A. Duplass, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Janet C. Richards, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Barbara J. Shircliffe, Ph.D.


Achievement Gap, AP U.S. History, College Board, Teacher Perspectives, Title I Schools


The College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) Program continues to expand annually with increased numbers of high school students nationwide enrolling in AP courses and taking end-of-course AP exams, in hopes of earning college credit and strengthening high school transcripts. As the College Board promotes increased minority student participation (specifically African-American and Hispanic students) in AP courses, AP teachers face new challenges as potential first-generation college students enter their classrooms with below-level reading scores and a lack of essential critical-thinking skills needed for college-level assessment.

The participants in this study are five AP U.S. History Teachers from urban, suburban, and rural Title I high schools. In this inquiry, I explore how their backgrounds and experiences shape their approaches to curriculum and pedagogy in their respective environments. I conducted two separate interviews with each teacher: the first addressed their formative years and educational experiences, while the second focused on their teaching philosophies and how they deliver course content. The data revealed similar instructional practices among the participants, all of whom choose student-centered teaching models to varying degrees to enhance student engagement.

This discourse highlights the need for further inquiry into the perspectives of AP teachers in Title I schools to inform future policymaking decisions within schools and school districts to enhance historically marginalized student populations’ college and career opportunities.