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Advanced course completion rates among New Mexico high school students following changes in graduation requirements

Region:
Southwest
Description:
In an effort to promote college and career readiness, the state of New Mexico passed a law in 2008 requiring high school students to complete at least one unit of advanced coursework (for example, Advanced Placement [AP], gifted and talented, honors, and International Baccalaureate courses) in order to graduate. The purpose of this was to study examine the completion of advanced coursework during the period following the legislative change for all high school students in New Mexico who were freshmen in 2009/10, 2010/11, and 2011/12 and were in a New Mexico high school for four years. Descriptive statistics were used to examine differences by student subgroups (White, Hispanic, and American Indian students) and other characteristics (student performance on the 8th grade standards-based exam, free-reduced price lunch status, and English learner status), and by school characteristics (school size, school performance rating, Title I status, and urbanicity). The study finds that over 56 percent of students in New Mexico completed one or more advanced courses in high school. Results indicate that a higher percentage of White students completed one or more advanced courses than Hispanic and American Indian students. This gap in course completion across racial and ethnic groups was smaller, though persisted, when examining high-performing students. Results show that a higher percentage of students in larger schools completed one or more advanced courses than in smaller schools, and this gap persisted even when examining high-performing students. Education agencies could improve supports aimed at increasing advanced course access (for example, staff development efforts, teacher quality, and paying AP exam fees) and the supply of advanced course offerings in schools with low advanced course completion rates in order to help improve advanced course participation and completion rates.
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What's Happening
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Publication Date:
October 2017
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