Graduation Year


Document Type

Ed. Specalist



Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Shannon Suldo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Elizabeth Shaunessy-Dedrick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Dedrick, Ph.D.


accelerated curricula, Advanced Placement, high school, International Baccalaureate, risk factors, Stress and coping, resilience factors


There are many benefits of student participation in accelerated curricula in high school such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBD) or Advanced Placement (AP) coursework. Benefits include skipping introductory coursework in college, being better prepared to deal with the stressors of college, and positive impacts on peer relationships, self-image, and the development of the concept of success (The International Baccalaureate Organization [IBO], 2019). However, the extent to which all students, regardless of demographic background, are able to participate in and benefit from such programs is a little less known. Previous research indicates that the IBD tends to enroll high-achieving students from families who are aware of the program and its benefits, as well as students who typically come from higher income families and parents who pursued higher education (Bailey & Karp, 2003; Chen et al., 2010). Aside from the benefits of these programs, students enrolled in these programs typically report higher levels of perceived stress than general education peers (Shaunessy-Dedrick et al., 2015). Beyond this, Cox (n.d.) found that students from underrepresented subgroups (African American, Hispanic, and low SES) cited social isolation due to their race as an additional stressor and a reason for eventually leaving the IBD program before completion. Historically, there has been little attention given and research conducted regarding how to best support these students in the school setting. As such, this study sought to identify whether historically underrepresented subgroups in accelerated curricula (African American/Black, Hispanic, and low SES) may be identified as at-risk more than historically overrepresented subgroups (White and Asian) in either academic or emotional domains. This study involved a secondary data analysis of 332 ninth grade students enrolled in an AP or IBD courses in one of three districts in a southeastern state. Students in this sample participated in a Tier 1 universal program designed to target students in accelerated coursework. Students in the program were screened for risk in academic and/or emotional domains. Students who were identified as at-risk were invited to participate in a selective tier 2 intervention in which students completed an assessment of factors of coping and engagement as it relates to success in high school accelerated curricula. These students also selected one of the factors as a target to address in an action plan to improve progress towards goals and achievement in their accelerated courses. Results of the study indicate that Black students are more likely to be identified as at risk in academic domains as well as in academic domains with co-morbid emotional challenges. Students found eligible for free/reduced-price lunch were found to be more likely identified as at-risk regardless of domain. Results also suggest specific resilience factors that may be salient for specific groups of students. Implications of these results as it relates to the school setting are discussed and future directions suggested.