NEPC Resources on Tracking and Detracking
Tracking and the Future of Career and Technical Education: How Efforts to Connect School and Work Can Avoid the Past Mistakes of Vocational Education
Welner and Burris point to our country's history for examples of segregating children by social class. They point out current instances of "[v]ocational tracks with lowered academic expectations...being pushed in New York state, in Texas, and even, it appears, by the president himself." Misguided education policies result in sorting disadvantaged 13-year-olds into vocational tracks that will lock them into a path that denies them future opportunities.
Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking is a 10-part brief that takes up important policy issues and identifies policies supported by research. Each section focuses on a different issue, and its recommendations for policymakers are based on the latest scholarship.
Linking Learning to the 21st Century: Preparing All Students for College, Career, and Civic Participation
Many states are currently developing high school reforms labeled “Linked Learning” (formerly known as Multiple Pathways) built on the fundamental insight that career and technical education can be academically rigorous. Linked Learning policies also allow students to gravitate to schooling themes that are personally relevant, and they hold the potential to substantially improve secondary schooling.
Universal Access to a Quality Education: Research and Recommendations for the Elimination of Curricular Stratification
For well over twenty-five years, education commissions and prominent researchers have documented the negative effects of curricular stratification -- the practice of grouping students into different classes by perceived ability, commonly known as tracking or ability grouping. With little debate remaining on the need for change, the primary research focus has shifted to the implementation for reform -- for movement toward heterogeneous grouping.
Multiple Pathways: 21st Century High Schools that Prepare All Students for College, Career and Civic Participation
Many states are currently developing high school reforms labeled “Multiple Pathways,” built on the fundamental insight that career and technical education –- which used to be called “vocational education” –- can be academically rigorous. Multiple Pathways policies also allow students to gravitate to schooling themes that are personally relevant, and they hold the potential to substantially improve secondary schooling.
This longitudinal study examines the long-term effects on the achievement of students at a diverse suburban high school after all students were given accelerated mathematics in a detracked middle school as well as ninth-grade ‘high-track’ curriculum in all subjects in heterogeneously grouped classes. This study used a quasi-experimental cohort design to compare pre- and post-reform success in the earning of the New York State Regents diploma and the diploma of the International Baccalaureate.
Publisher New York: Greenwood Publishing
Page Numbers 36-41
Summary American high schools have long separated students, often using tests, and then provided them with different educational experiences and opportunities. This entry examines these interrelated practices of assessment and curricular differentiation.
Publisher Theory Into Practice, 45(1)
Page Numbers 90-99
Publisher Phi Delta Kappan, 86(8)
Page Numbers 594-598.
Summary Achievement follows from opportunities, and the persistent practice of tracking denies a range of opportunities to large numbers of students. That a disproportionate number of these students are minorities is one of the underlying reasons that the achievement gap has remained so persistent. The authors describe how a diverse suburban district in New York narrowed the gap by offering its high-track curriculum to all students.
Publisher Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 26(2)
Page Numbers 127-142
Publisher Education Law Reporter, 163(2)
Page Numbers 565-571
Publisher Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, 28(3)
Page Numbers 699-738
Publisher New York: SUNY Press
Publisher Arlington Heights, IL: Skylight Publications
Summary The authors studied schools throughout the country that explored and implemented detracking. In this candidly written guide, they report the trials and tribulations to prepare for the challenges that detracking presents. Available online at http://idea.gseis.ucla.edu/publications/documents/navigating-the-politics-of-detracking.