Technology in the Diverse Classroom Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Against Student Tracking

Student tracking involves categorizing students according to their learning ability and placing them in classes based on this. Advanced students are placed together and students of lower ability are placed together. While this is common practice in schools there are several education bodies calling for its abolition. There are several reasons given for the abolition of student tracking: that it widens the gap between advantages and disadvantaged students; that it separates students by race and class; and that an inclusive classroom where every student learns from each other is better for students, socially and academically.

Firstly, student tracking is said to widen the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students. Ascher (1992) notes that there is evidence that high achievers do better in accelerated classes. While this is beneficial to the students in these accelerated classes, it actually widens the gap between them and the average student. This is also true because the average student does not have access to the same learning opportunities as the accelerated group. As Ascher (1992) describes, accelerated students benefit, not because of the nature of the group, but because of the improved curriculum. This improved curriculum could be just as beneficial to the average student. By not providing the average student this same opportunity, the gap is further widened. So far, this evidence shows the accelerated student being advantaged. It would appear that this system is fine for the high achiever, but not for the low achiever. While this is generally true, there is one exception. This relates to how students are rated. If there are a large number of students above average, a high achiever could be placed in the lower group. A higher achiever then, is not only not able to meet their potential, but might find their ability declining due to the poorer curriculum they are taught.

Secondly, student tracking is also said to separate based on race and class. Ascher (1992) notes that student tracking and ability grouping is increased "when there are sizable enrollments of black and Hispanic students." It is also said that "tracking is a major contributor to the continuing gaps in achievement between disadvantaged and affluent students and between minorities and whites" (Ascher 1992). Both affluent and white students are likely to be placed in the accelerated group because of their upbringing. This is not a measure of their natural ability, but a measure of their lifestyle advantages. Black, Hispanic or other minority groups are just as likely to have equal ability to achieve, the only difference being that they have not had the same opportunity. Student tracking then enhances this by continuing to separate the students and not giving the minority groups the same opportunity. If instead, these…

Sources Used in Document:


Ascher, C. (1992). Successful Detracking in Middle and Senior High Schools. New York: ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education New York NY.

Haury, D.L., & Milbourne, L.A. (1999). Should Students Be Tracked in Math or Science? Columbus, OH: ERIC Clearinghouse for Science Mathematics and Environmental Education.

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