Date of Defense

5-20-2002

Department

Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

M. Arthur Garmon, Education

Second Advisor

Gunilla Holm, Education

Third Advisor

Lynn Nations-Johnson, Education

Abstract

School districts use an array of methods to group students for their academic needs. In years past, many schools have tracked their students. This practice involves placing students in different classes according to their ability levels and past academic record. However, in recent years, some schools have decided to do away with this homogenous grouping and instead "detrack" their schools, grouping students heterogeneously. Proponents of tracking argue that homogenous grouping is advantageous to higher-ability learners. Teachers sometimes find it difficult to teach students with the broad range or achievement levels typically found in a heterogeneous environment. It is also argued that heterogeneous settings do not challenge higher-achieving students, thus failing to meet their needs. Proponents of detracking believe that a heterogeneous setting gives all students equal opportunities to learn, something that tracking denies lower-ability learners. It is also found that tracking reinforces social, racial, and economic differences. The purpose of this paper is to learn how detracking affected administrators, teachers, and students at a school that had detracked the language arts curriculum in 1997.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access