Advanced Course Diversity Improves


A diverse student body, especially in higher-level classes, benefits all students.  Not only does increased diversity prepare students for the future, but it also supports their academic growth during their time in school and helps to decrease the achievement gap, an educational problem nationwide.  Studies have shown that exposure to different races improves a student’s critical thinking skills, according to the Teachers College Columbia and Equal Opportunity Schools.

Nationwide, many minority students who have the determination and academic ability to take AP Courses don’t sign up for the classes. Schools need to identify students who are capable of doing well in AP courses and work towards getting students to envision themselves as someone who belongs in advanced classes.

Diverse representation in courses positively affects all students. All AP classes at East Forsyth have seen a slight increase in enrollment since last year, but more importantly, the diversity of almost every class has improved as well.

Just as in previous years, the only AP classes offered on campus are Calculus, English Language, English Literature, Environmental Science, Human Geography, Psychology, US History, and World History.

Compared to last year, 29 more students are taking AP classes overall. There are 31 less white students, 109 more black students, and 26 more Hispanic students enrolled in these courses.  Overall, black AP enrollment has increased by 195% and Hispanic AP enrollment by 104%.

As a school, East is slightly more diverse than last year.  There are 70 fewer students on campus than last year, making East now smaller than both West and Reagan, who each have approximately 2,000 students.

Based on data from Student Services, Mrs. Lawrence’s AP World History class has nearly doubled in size, but only one of the students is nonwhite.  As a freshman class, AP World has generally remained a predominantly white class, with about 10%-20% nonwhite enrollment in the past few years.  Human Geography, on the other hand, was 100% white last year and is now 11% nonwhite.

The chart shows the CHANGE in enrollment between this year and last year.


Most classes have seen a sudden increase in diversity since last year.  Calculus’ black population has doubled and Environmental Science’s Hispanic population has tripled.  Likewise, Pre-Calculus teacher Mrs. Branoff says her class, which leads into Calculus, is more diverse than last year.  The most diverse AP class this year is AP US History.

Ms. Callender, who teaches African American Studies, American History, and Sociology, said that diversity is “getting better” in AP classes.  “I’m glad diversity has increased,” she said. She added that minorities tend to take advantage of the Dual Enrollment programs with Forsyth Tech and may not be aware of AP classes.  In addition, many well qualified students also elect to take classes at Career Center, where a wider variety of courses are offered.

With AP classes 75% white overall, there is clearly more work to do in creating classes representative of the student population.  However, it’s refreshing to see some positive change.

Categories: Community News, NEWS

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