School of Education
Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)
Floralba Arbelo Marrero
teacher recommendations, high school, honors classes, Advanced Placement, minority students
Thomas, Lori, "Underrepresentation of Minority Students in Higher Level High School Classes in the Low Country of South Carolina: A Case Study" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4185.
The purpose of this qualitative multiple-case study is to explore the process and the experiences of teachers in recommending minority students for advanced placement (AP) and honors-level high school classes. The theory guiding this study was the invitational theory introduced by Purkey (1978). The invitational theory focuses on the phenomenon that learning is enhanced when people are encouraged to participate or invited into an educational experience. This case study was set in three high schools in a suburban school district in the Low Country of South Carolina and explored the experiences of 12 teachers with the recommendation process. Data collection included interviews with teachers, surveys with school counselors, and documents from the school levels. Throughout the case study, teachers' experience with the recommendation process was analyzed using coding, pattern matching, and constant comparison while developing the thematic units of this study using cross-case analysis. Five themes related to the research questions emerged through data analysis: gifted and talented services and support, the recommendation process, the underrepresentation of minority students in AP and honors-level classes, increasing enrollment in AP and honors-level classes, and collaboration of stakeholders. The results of this study revealed that teachers use various indicators to identify students for higher-level courses but identified a need for more professional development to support the process. Teachers experienced an underrepresentation of minority students in upper-level classes and gained an understanding of the need to increase the number of students enrolling in higher-level courses.