Inequities in Advanced Coursework

Use these 5 steps to help increase access to advanced coursework for black and Latinx students.

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Communicator
April 2020, Volume 43, Issue 8

When black and Latinx students are given the opportunity to take advanced coursework, they excel. So, what’s keeping that from happening? A new report from The Education Trust explores why these students are shut out, how widespread such practices are, and what educational leaders can do to increase these students’ access to advanced learning.

The Barriers

When students miss opportunities to take advanced coursework throughout their K–12 education, it can hinder their success in college and career. These are some of the barriers the report highlighted:

  • Some black and Latinx students attend a school without any advanced courses.

  • Others might attend a school that enrolls too few students in advanced coursework overall or one with inequitable course assignment, meaning black and Latinx students in particular are denied access.

  • In a particular state, problems accessing advanced courses may differ for black and Latinx students.

How Educators Can Help

Identifying barriers is a starting point to enable leaders in education to make real change when it comes to supporting black and Latinx students. The report outlines five things leaders can do to make a difference:

  • Set clear, measurable goals for advancing access to, and success in, advanced coursework, and commit to publicly measuring state and district progress toward those goals.

  • Use data to identify the barriers that prevent students of color and students from low-income backgrounds from enrolling in advanced courses.

  • Invest money to expand advanced coursework opportunities in schools serving the most black and Latinx students.

  • Expand eligibility and increase access so that black and Latinx students have a fair chance to take advanced coursework.

  • Provide sufficient support for students to prepare for advanced coursework and for their success once they are enrolled.

Read the full report, “Inequities in Advanced Coursework,” at The Education Trust’s website.

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