To Track Or Not To Track Essay

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Ellen American Politics and Government 10/26/11 To Track or Not To Track The most controversial dilemma concerning educational structuring of children within the middle school level is homogeneous versus heterogeneous groupings. Homogeneous ability grouping, or tracking, puts students into classes based on their abilities and achievement levels; curriculum and instruction can be tailored to meet their specific needs. Heterogeneous grouping, means that the students in class represent the spectrum of ability levels, creates an atmosphere where children learn from each other’s techniques. Tracking seems harmless on the elementary level, and students even go on to self-track through high school and college (meaning that the student is deciding which level of classes to participate in). In the secondary schools, the stratification becomes more obvious as students assume their places in the tracking system. Tracking on the middle school level is harmful to student achievement. This topic is the one of the most professionally divisive issues in the education system. The debate over tracking is nothing new in educational research. There are a number of arguments for and against the implementation of tracking, and both sides present compelling cases. To track or not to track is a serious issue. Tracking helps schools meet the varying needs of students, provides low-achieving students with the attention and slower pace they require, and high-achieving students with the challenge they need to advance. On the other hand, tracking is detrimental to adolescent peer relationships, it is harmful to the self-esteem of low-achievers, and it reinforces inaccurate assumptions about intelligence. While both arguments are sound, the negatives of tracking far outweigh the positives. Tracking has been used in most levels of schooling for many years; in the past few decades

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