The Racial Gap in Participation in High School AP, IB, and Dual Enrollment Programs

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education shows racial differences in students that take Advanced Placement (AP) classes, international baccalaureate (IB) courses or participate in dual enrollment courses with colleges. AP and IB courses are high school classes. Students can earn both high and college credit in dual enrollment classes. These courses are generally regarded as academically rigorous or high school students and the number of students participating has skyrocketed in recent years.

The data show that 44 percent of White high school students took either an AP course or an IB course. For Black high school students, only 30.2 percent enrolled in these courses. Thirteen percent of White high school students participated in dual enrollment programs compared to 6.5 percent of Black high school students.

When the racial statistics are broken down by gender, girls in all racial and ethnic groups were more likely than boys to earn credits in these courses  The largest gender gap was among African Americans. Just under 40 percent of African American girls took AP, IB or dual enrollment courses compared to just 26.9 percent of Black male high school students. The smallest gender gap among racial or ethnic groups was among Asian Americans.

The full report, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Dual-Enrollment Courses: Availability, Participation, and Related Outcomes for 2009 Ninth-Graders: 2013, may be downloaded by clicking here.

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  1. Of great concern to me is the distribution of scores. Scores among African American students were substantially lower than other groups. There is a major need for improvement in this area. Participation among African American students has increased substantially and that’s a good trend.

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