Access to advanced coursework in New York State
Across New York State, students of color and students from low-income backgrounds are disproportionately excluded from advanced coursework.
This presents serious equity challenges. Courses such as computer science and Calculus, along with dual enrollment, Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) can provide students with an edge in college admissions while improving the likelihood of success in college and their careers.
This report explores several reasons for this persistent challenge and examines statewide enrollment figures for the 2021-22 school year, as well as whether students of color and students from low-income backgrounds attend schools with such courses.
Read the Report
View the Data Note
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Prioritize Dual Enrollment, Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs in high-need school districts across the state.
Require school districts to provide every family with information about course offerings, enrollment criteria and supports in multiple languages.
Invest in evidence-based K-12 literacy and math curriculum.
Collect better data on dual enrollment.
Enable automatic enrollment in the next available advanced course for students that demonstrate readiness using multiple measures, with the option for families to decline enrollment if they do not want their child to participate.
Strengthen NYSED’s 2019 guidance on equitable access to advanced coursework.
Incentivize collaboration between local school districts and institutions of higher education.
“Even though my high school was in a predominantly Black neighborhood, it was almost as if top-of-the-line academic honors was just filled with people that weren’t representative of the neighborhood.”
Equitable Access Now Blog Series
The New York Equity Coalition hosted discussion groups with students to hear why this equity issue is so critical. The three-part Equitable Access Now blog series shares what they had to say in their own words.
Proficient and Passed Over
Even when students who are low-income; Latinx, Black, and American Indian students; current and former English Language Learners; students with disabilities; and students in temporary housing demonstrate that they are meeting the state’s academic standards by scoring “proficient” or “advanced” on their grade 7 state math assessment, they are less likely than their peers to be given the chance to take advanced math classes in grades 8 and 9.
How schools can support students in accessing advanced courses, and what students think can be done better
How do students think schools can increase opportunity now and in the long term? From offering pre-work to advanced courses, hybrid instruction options, and more, students have plenty of ideas on how their schools can either improve what they’re already doing or implement new supports.
How access to information and enrollment practices can hold students back from taking advanced courses
Enrollment practices, how information is disseminated to students and families about taking advanced coursework, and whether or not a school offers advanced courses are a few barriers to whether or not students are enrolled early on — or enrolled when they would like to be.
Students say advanced courses should be available to everyone. But in New York, not all students have access.
Rebecca graduated from high school believing that learning was not just routine memorization — but that what she learned in the classes she took throughout middle and high school equipped her with skills to be successful in life.
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More than 500 parents, educators, and community leaders across New York are calling on state education officials to take steps to ensure that all students have access to the critical courses that will prepare them for success in college, careers, and civic life.
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