The Complexity of Solving for Racial Inequalities in Advanced Courses: How Collective Processes Can Support the Quest for Equity
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CitationDuarte, Danielle. 2021. The Complexity of Solving for Racial Inequalities in Advanced Courses: How Collective Processes Can Support the Quest for Equity. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
AbstractCollege credit bearing coursework, such as Advanced Placement and dual enrollment in college classes, provides a variety of benefits to students who take and complete these courses. Students in advanced classes have access to teachers with more training, participate in class activities that demand higher levels of critical thinking skills, demonstrate improved test scores, and have an increased likelihood of enrolling in a four-year university. Unfortunately, racial inequities in advanced course student enrollment can be found in school districts across the country.
Located in the Austin, Texas area, the Round Rock Independent School District (RRISD) has identified racial discrepancies in advanced course enrollment. According to the district’s analysis of 11th graders, Black and Latinx students with academic potential were enrolled in advanced courses at lower rates than their White and Asian peers. Similar inequities can be found within other grade levels and various types of advanced classes. This capstone chronicles the collective process of educators across RRISD as they worked to understand and remedy these discrepancies in course enrollment. Documented through the see-engage-act cycle of the National Equity Project’s Leading for Equity Framework, I describe the complexity of addressing racial inequities in advanced coursework.
Through the use of a district-created design sprint model, I facilitated interactive sessions with a team of cross-role educators. I also incorporated student voice to help the data come to life. Based on the team’s work, several projects were designed and implemented to intentionally identify and enroll Black and Latinx students in advanced courses for the upcoming year. Subsequently, additional steps are in motion to create district-aligned systems to streamline equitable enrollment and provide student support in advanced classes.
My analysis within this capstone includes current successes while also identifying areas of further consideration as Round Rock ISD continues to address racial disparities in advanced course enrollment and completion. Sharing leadership, advancing from “more data” to action, and meaningfully integrating student and family perspectives are included as implications for this work. I also suggest this type of collective process can be used to address other educational inequities, both within and outside of RRISD.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37370258
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