Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Education

Document Type



Rigorous coursework is one of the necessary staples in establishing college readiness. Rural districts are much less likely to offer advanced coursework opportunities to students. The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine the equitable access to advanced coursework opportunities (Advanced Placement) provided to rural students (in-person and distance learning) in public rural high schools in Louisiana. Access to advanced coursework (Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment, etc.) serves as an indicator of college readiness; however, a substantial gap exists in providing the programs to underserved student populations. Rural students face significant barriers that can hinder their ability to thrive on a college campus which begins with preparing for and applying to college, navigating the process of attending successfully, and completing higher education degree program (graduation). There is a great divide within the learning continuum that separates rural students, and their parent support groups from the information, strategies, and advanced coursework offerings that could assist students successfully transition onto the college campus by providing the necessary academic preparations. The theoretical framework of this study was interpretive phenomenology with an emphasis on capturing the perceptions and lived experiences of the participants associated with providing Advanced Placement coursework in the rural educational setting through a compilation of qualitative interviews with educators actively engaged in the field. The research aimed to develop analyzing the experiences of rural AP teachers and the effectiveness of the coursework within the rural community. The researcher explored the phenomenon through the rural educator’s perceptions of Advanced Placement coursework, current supports (provisions and resources) that are employed within the social-cultural context to encourage college readiness (access, academic preparation, and enrollment success) for rural students, and the relationship between existing barriers and the rural educator’s ability to provide enhanced skills associated with advancing college readiness. The findings of this study add to the efficacy and scope of Advanced Placement coursework within the rural classroom by providing emphasis on expanding course access, reinforcing teacher efficacy within classrooms (advanced pedagogy), and creating academic incentives that serve rural students (providing support) in preparing for the transition to postsecondary learning.



Committee Chair

Blanchard, Joy L.