The Advanced Placement program has undergone many changes since its post Sputnik surge when it was designed to accelerate learners. The number of students enrolled in AP courses has swelled, demographics of participants have diversified, and course curriculums and designs have altered. The homogenous Ivy League bound population of gifted and talented students who made up the initial 1,299 students enrolled in the program has morphed into a heterogeneous population of over 2,800,000 students with many learning needs. With the increase in the testing culture of the United States, the focus in education has shifted towards closing the achievement gap with teachers focusing on the low-performing learners. To address the data results, many schools are using Response to Intervention to improve student outcomes and provide equity of educational experiences. For equitable experiences, previously identified gifted and talented students require courses which appeal to them, provide challenges through depth and complexity, and offer choice in the learning and products produced. In this quantitative, comparative, quasi-experimental study, a multivariate analysis of variance was used to investigate the perceptions of Advanced Placement mathematics students previously identified as gifted and talented in relation to a matched group of their non-identified peers with regard to the concepts of appeal, challenge, and learning choice. The population for this study consisted of 271 high school students enrolled in either Advanced Placement Calculus AB, Calculus BC, or Statistics in 3 high schools in 1 Southern California school district. Data was gathered via an electronic survey with 24 Likert-scale questions, with 21 questions from the Students Perceptions of Classroom Quality Survey. Demographic data was gathered from participants for matching. A MANOVA data analysis resulted in statistically non-significant differences between the two populations in regards to their perceptions, thus failing to reject the null hypothesis. The AP program may be an equalizing educational program. However, the resulting descriptive statistics showed mean value responses lower for the previously identified gifted and talented students in comparison to their non-identified peers for each variable. These differences suggest that educational equity of outcomes and participation may not exist in AP mathematics classes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Leadership, administration, and policy; Advanced placement programs (Education); Gifted teenagers -- Education (Secondary); Mathematics -- Study and teaching (Secondary)

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Leigh, Doug;