Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2015

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Bickers

Second Advisor

Dr. Janet Donavan

Third Advisor

Mr. Kent Willmann

Abstract

This thesis makes the case that the United States has an education system that provides different access to different kinds of students. More specifically, this paper questions whether or not students have differentiated access to classes that would realistically prepare them for and help them get accepted to college. The question this thesis attempts to answer is: Are schools systematically shunting low socio-economic status students into non-college tracks compared to students with higher socio-economic statuses? Through original data collection and data obtained from a case study it is clear that there is an achievement gap between low income and high-income students. Based on the case study, it shows that low-income students are underrepresented in college prep classes. Although this study was ultimately inconclusive in attributing this gap to the access of college prep classes, the small data set and positive relationship merits a more in depth look into this correlation. This study begins the complicated process of understanding how and why different courses are offered to different students as well as how those choices can affect them when and if they apply to college.