Why Schools Need to Take Another Route by Jeannie Oakes
Jeannie Oakes argues that ability tracking is not the way to go in the education system. Separating students based on various skill and academic levels may seem like a good idea but in reality it is, for the most part, only helping the higher ability students; the ones who need it least in most cases.
There are some benefits and some understandable reasons to tracking. If the schools were tracked, the students who are excelling in a certain area would have a chance at succeeding even further and those who need the extra help will hopefully be given the extra support and assistance that they need.
Tracking can lead to a multitude of issues. There could be more racial/ethnic division due to the fact that it is usually minority students in the low-ability classes or groups. There could be an outbreak of even more competition in classes. Or there could be the opposite effect- students could have no motivation. They can either strive to get into those high-ability classes/groups, doing anything they can to make it, or have no hope of doing so because they feel that because they have been categorized as low-ability.
Ultimately its up to each district to decide what is best for its students but I personally think that Oakes would have us stray away from tracking. It creates an unequal learning environment and in a time where there are supposed to be no children left behind, there are more children being left behind than ever before.
Id like to discuss in class how everyone else feels. What is the class’ feeling on tracking? Have people experienced it? Do we think it is beneficial or the opposite or do we not have a preference?