The Pros And Cons Of Tracking In Schools

1747 words - 7 pages

Many young children in school do not realize they are being tracked in until they get older into high school. High school is the time where students are categorized into who is smart enough for advanced courses and who still needs help learning. Through this process there are many positives, including helping high tracking students but also negatives to tracking that effect low tracking students such as minorities and ethnic groups as well. Many educators today are still deciding if tracking should be improved within the program or if schools should detrack altogether.
Tracking has been a part of an American tradition within the education system for years and its purpose is to separate students into groups according to their academic ability (Datnow 687). Students can be placed into different tracks based on curriculum standards, career goals, and academic ability levels. Students get placed in the same groups based on their past scores, motivation and work ethic (Akos). The point of grouping students together is so students with the same academic ability can work together and be at the same level academically, this is supposed to help the students and the teacher. Academic tracking will be more effective and influence a better learning environment for students to succeed in their education. Tracking can especially help high school students as they are figuring out their paths to college and career goals (Akos). The terms ability grouping, homogeneous grouping, and curriculum grouping all have the same concept of placing students into classrooms based off of their academic ability (Datnow 687). Nearly ninety five percent of schools in America use tracking some way in their school (Akos).
Since tracking is such a popular theme in schools, especially high schools, there must be benefits that students gain. The reason why educators favor tracking so much is because teachers are able to focus on different groups of students at different times. Every student has a different learning style or level; this gives the teacher time to focus on individual needs of students. Tracking gives teachers more freedom to plan their lessons according to the academic level their students are at. Students who are also at a higher academic level will not suffer from boredom and can be challenged with their same level peers by being in more rigorous classes (Atkins 45). High academic classes support students who are wishing to pursue college and can associate with peers of high academic tracks like their own. This supports high academic achievement and higher aspirations for students when they are around peers of the same level (Akos).
There are many positives to tracking, especially to the higher ability groups, however there are some negatives that effect high ability groups within tracking as well. High grouping students can start to show problems of academic self-esteem which can influence their achievement, academic decisions, motivation, and emotions towards...

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