Examining Discourses in a College Readiness Program: A Qualitative Study

Kendra Marie Farr, University of Texas at El Paso


In the past ten years, there has been an increase in the Hispanic student population in college across the United States (Krogstad et al. 2022). However, U.S. Census Bureau statistics (2021; 2022) have shown that they are still less likely to attain a four-year degree compared to their White counterparts. To begin understanding why this occurs, researchers look to curriculum at the high school level to see how students are becoming college ready. High schools utilize college readiness programs to help students prepare for the rigor of college courses. One program is an elective course offered at primary and secondary levels of education that recruits minoritized students from low-income households. The goal of the program is to foster the individual determination of students through using effective writing, inquiry, collaboration, organizational, and reading skills needed to be successful in college. This thesis seeks to understand how discourses play a part in the success of individual determination and this program. Six participants from one local high school were interviewed and observed during the second half of the 2022-23 school year. Results showed that all AVID staff utilized and internalized the discourse of individual determination that suggested students were the center of their academic successes and struggles. Within the discourse, there was little to no consideration for structural and institutional forces that shaped student performance. I argue that there is a way for this discourse to introduce intrinsic curricular methods of motivation into the classroom that could be more successful in preparing a student for college.

Subject Area

Sociology|American studies|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Farr, Kendra Marie, "Examining Discourses in a College Readiness Program: A Qualitative Study" (2023). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI30819113.