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Tracking in Schools and Its Effects on Equality and Quality of Education - Term Paper Example

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SOC 346 Tracking in schools and its effects on equality and quality of education Tracking in schools involves the separation of pupils based on their academic ability into various groups for all subjects and curriculum within a school. A tracking system involves the entire school population, the whole of which is assigned to classes depending on whether the overall academic achievement is above below average, average or normal…
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Tracking in Schools and Its Effects on Equality and Quality of Education
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Download file to see previous pages The use of tracking was popular in English-speaking countries, but the practice is less used now. Strong tracking systems formed the foundation of the Tripartite System in Wales and England well into the 1970s and in Northern Ireland until 2009. Germany still uses a strongly tracked system whereby students' achievements in their final four years of primary school determine the type of secondary school they will be allowed to attend, and subsequently the type of education they will receive. American schools have also used tracking systems, though these systems are considered to be weaker than those in Great Britain and Germany. Local American schools assign students to classrooms based on their overall achievement; a given classroom will therefore be composed of students with low, average or high academic achievement. Hallinan (1994) notes that secondary school students were assigned to academic, general, or vocational tracks and that each track had courses that were designed to prepare students for postsecondary education or careers. Tracking is aimed at increasing learning. Proponents of tracking argue that it permits the teachers to provide instructions to the best ability of their students. A good balance between a student’s ability and the level of instruction provided is believed to optimize the effectiveness and efficiency of this process. Therefore, tracking is viewed to enhance cognitive development. According to the Sociological theory, there are 7 aspects of a society. One of this is groups (organizations). Macionis et al. (2010) define a group as being made of 2 or more people who identify and interact with one another. Both groups and organizations operate according to general rules. The use of tracks in schools serves to place students in schools such groups. Hallinan (1994) describes 2 issues concerning the effectiveness of tracking that makes it the subject of debate. One deals with whether tracking, when compared to other methods of grouping, if it is more effective in promoting students’ learning. The other deals with whether all students in a track benefit from tracking to the same level. This debate is fanned by assumptions about the operation of tracking and how it affects the students involved. Among these assumptions are that placement to a track is dependent mainly on academic standards, that the tracks are strictly homogeneous when it comes to students’ ability and that assignments to a track are permanent. Other assumptions are that tracking impacts negatively on the self-esteem of low-ability students, that low-ability students are problematic to teach because they lack the motivation to learn, and that tracking limits the postsecondary education options of low-track students. Hallinan (1994) concludes that the assignment of students to tracks is based on both academic and non-academic considerations. Academic factors that influence track placement are grades, scores on standardized tests, teachers’ and counselors’ recommendations. Hallinan (1994) suggests that reforms to the tracking system should be made so as to counter its negative consequences associated with it. She recommends that students engage in integrated activities during the school day. Hallinan (1994) also suggests that by ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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