does offering advanced placement classes in a before-school
setting affect a diverse population of students
in a vocational school?
fellow students linger in the halls and lobbies
socializing, AP English students begin to enter
the classroom, some carrying breakfast trays from
the school cafeteria. In spite of the early hour,
the attendance rate is greater than 90%. The students
are highly motivated lovers of literature whose
achievement scores may range but whose interest
in literature does not flag.
goals are to help these students move from an immediate
emotional response to literature to a more analytical
and critical approach and to get them to use the
language of literary analysis. As a literary term
is introduced, it is added to a word wall and is
available for reference by the teachers or students.
Juxtaposition, lyric, metaphor, formalism, diction,
allegory, verisimilitude, and other terms like them
are a part of a word garden that grows through the
time, Delaware’s vocational schools provided AP
coursework to interested students. However, when
the scores were printed in the local newspaper and
used as a basis for comparing high schools, the
vocational schools withdrew from AP offerings.
we believed that these students would be successful
with challenging coursework if they were given the
opportunity to learn it and that their achievement,
as recorded by state assessments, would have been
higher had they had proper academic opportunities.
is composed of twenty-two students, ranging from
freshmen to seniors. Initially there were only juniors
and seniors in the class. Then, one day early in
the initial year of the program, 2003–2004, a freshman
timidly walked into the room and asked if she could
join, and in the 2004–2005 school year, all four
grade levels were represented. This gives the instructors
a built-in looping structure that will give us the
freshmen for four years.
the scores for this year’s seniors on the AP exam
are not available at this writing, there is other
evidence. DSTP scores show promising gains for most
students for whom pre- and post-AP course data are
available, while those who do not demonstrate gains
remain close to their pre-test scores.
students want to see the class expanded to add more
mornings of instruction. The instructors see this
class as an affirmation of their belief in the ability
of all students to learn at high standards and to
benefit from close reading and analysis of high-quality
should offer challenging coursework specifically
designed to meet the scheduling needs of career
makers should publicize the findings of this example
to implement a broad-based AP opportunity program
to vocational students throughout the state and