by Jeannie Oakes
Argument and quote discussion:
"Since so much of importance was omitted from their curriculum, students in these low-ability classes were likely to have little contact with the knowledge and skills that would allow them to move into higher classes or to be successful if they got there."
This article discusses how “tracking” students by their academic ability level is detrimental to their learning experience. Student who are tracked as “high-ability” have access to a richer education, better teachers, the importance of development of problem solving, critical thinking, and are expected to do more class/ homework. These “low-ability” children supposedly get a duller education, average educators, and are taught to focus more on life skills. These students are disciplined more often and greatly focus on socializing, class routine more than academic learning.
This topic is definitely a controversial topic because there are two sides to every story.
I do believe that certain aspect of learning are altered when you "track" or group children together by academic ability. As the facts show there are disadvantages, but I've become interested in the advantages of grouping children by academic need. I view ESL as a form of tracking, and these students are all put into a classroom under one impression; Spanish is their first language. SO these students are all clumped into this one classroom.. But is this not beneficial to the kids to be in a classroom full of students who struggle in the same ways? Are their needs not better met in a classroom that specializes in the education of a student whose learning English as their second language? Do the students in these types of classroom not learn because they are considered lower-ability based off of their background? I see an exponential amount of one on one work with teachers, TAs, and mentors, and as our research has shown and Kahne and Westheimer discuss, students strive in these kinds of environments. So in my eyes is see this controversial topic as just that, there are advantages and disadvantages in grouping children and who is to say if this is right or not?