Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Erin Fahle

Second Advisor

Anthony Annunziato

Third Advisor

Joan Birringer-Haig


The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a Challenge by Choice policy instituted in 2011 on AP course taking and performance in a suburban, New York high school. Before this policy, the school used a tracking system based on grade point averages and teacher recommendation in order for students to be eligible for an Advanced Placement class; after, students were allowed to enroll themselves without completing any predetermined requirements. This study used ANOVAs and time series analyses to analyze the differences in means of student enrollment and achievement in AP classes among students before, during, and after the policy implementation for all students, as well as for demographic subgroups. Overall, there was a significant increase in the percentage of students who enrolled in at least one AP course for the students who were exposed to the policy and also a significant increase in the average number of AP courses students took. However, when broken down by subgroup, Black and Hispanic students did not realize these benefits. For most classes, AP scores were not influenced by the policy even though enrollment increased. Therefore, the Challenge by Choice policy achieved the school’s intended goal of increasing AP course taking and achievement, but also increased equity gaps among some groups. Researchers, school administrators, and other school personnel may need to consider additional supports to ensure that this policy is effective for all students.

Included in

Education Commons