Non-Evidence about Tracking: Critiquing the New Report from the Fordham Institute

Loveless, Tom
Thomas B. Fordham Institute
December 10, 2009
December 14, 2009

A new report authored by Tom Loveless and published by the Fordham Institute misleads in an attempt to convince policymakers to maintain tracking policies. The report combines weak data with questionable analyses to manufacture a flawed argument against detracking. This review was written by Kevin Welner independently, not as part of the Think Tank Review Project. It is available at:

http://www.colorado.edu/education/faculty/kevinwelner/WelnerTCRLovelessF...

In addition to the free pdf download at the link above, it is available to subscribers of the journal "Teachers College Record," at http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=15872

Welner’s review describes how the Loveless report combines weak data with questionable analyses to manufacture an argument against detracking. Better treatment of these same data would, in fact, likely show that high-achieving Massachusetts middle school students in heterogeneous, untracked classrooms do as well or better than those in tracked classrooms – certainly in language arts (English) and maybe even in mathematics. He concludes that the report misleads in an attempt to convince policymakers to maintain tracking policies.