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The Advanced Placement Program and Educational Inequality

The Advanced Placement (AP) program is nearly ubiquitous in American high schools and is often touted as a way to close racial and socioeconomic gaps in educational outcomes. Using administrative data from Michigan, I exploit variation within high schools across time in AP course offerings to identify the causal effect of AP course availability on college choice and degree attainment. I find that higher income students, White and Asian students, and higher-achieving students are more likely to take advantage of additional AP courses when they are offered, thus widening existing gaps in course-taking. I find little evidence that additional AP availability improves college outcomes for any students. Expanding access to AP courses without additional incentives or support for disadvantaged students to succeed is unlikely to address educational inequality.

Advanced Placement; Education; Inequality; Curriculum; College Outcomes
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EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Owen, Stephanie. (). The Advanced Placement Program and Educational Inequality. (EdWorkingPaper: 23-738). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University:

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