The Institute for Education Sciences Published Our Study of Advanced Course Completion Rates Among New Mexico Students

The Institute for Education Sciences published our report on New Mexico Advanced Course Completion Rates conducted as part of the Regional Education Laboratory, Southwest. You can read the full report here.

What This Study Examined

In 2008, New Mexico adopted new high school graduation requirements designed to promote college readiness. These changes included the requirement to complete at least one course unit in advanced coursework in order to graduate. This study examines the completion of several types of advanced coursework (e.g., Advanced Placement [AP], gifted and talented, honors, and International Baccalaureate [IB] courses) during the period following the legislative change for all high school students in New Mexico.

Differences in advanced course completion among New Mexico high school students were examined by student subgroups (i.e., particularly by White, Hispanic, and American Indian students, and by 8th grade student achievement), as well as by school characteristics, including school performance rating, size, and Title I status. In addition, this study examined advanced course completion beyond meeting the minimum requirement by completing more than one advanced course while in high school.

Key Findings

  • Over 56 percent of students completed at least one advanced course in high school.
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A higher percentage of White students than of American Indian and Hispanic students completed at least one advanced course. The gaps across racial/ethnic groups were smaller when high-performing students were examined separately.
  • The percentage of students who completed at least one advanced course was lower among students who were eligible for the federal school lunch program than among students who were not eligible.
  • The percentage of students who completed at least one advanced course was lower among English learner students than among non–English learner students.
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The percentage of students who completed at least one advanced course was substantially lower among students at small schools than among students at bigger schools. The gap across school size was about the same when high-performing students were examined separately.
  • The percentage of students who completed at least one advanced course was lower among students at Title I high schools than among students at non–Title I schools.

Further, after prior student performance was accounted for, gaps in advanced course completion rates across racial/ethnic groups remained. Gaps across racial/ethnic groups remained even when students at schools with a similar performance rating and size were examined separately. The gaps were smaller–but not eliminated–when high-performing students were examined separately. When high-performing students were examined separately, the gaps across racial/ethnic groups were smaller among students at schools with a higher performance rating than among students at schools with a lower performance rating, and were smaller among students at larger schools than among students at smaller schools. These findings point to the importance of programs that help students gain the skills necessary for advanced coursework.


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