ERIC Number: ED063451
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1971-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Curriculum Assignment and Tracking Policies in Forty-Eight Urban Public High Schools. Final Report.
Heyns, Barbara; Cohen, David K.
The present research was conducted to determine the relative importance of a variety of background variables and school effects on curriculum assignment in public high schools. The emphasis was on the sociological processes of selection and differentiation within schools, and the role of education in facilitating or blocking social mobility. A selection of the data from the "Equality of Educational Opportunity Survey" were reanalyzed, to compare both schools and students in the ninth and twelfth grades. The findings were, in general, at odds with much of the polemics of school reform, in which educational institutions are criticized for restricting opportunity to lower class or non-white students. When verbal ability is assumed to adequately differentiate pupils, as a criterion for placement, there is little evidence for discrimination within schools in placement, and no evidence of racial bias. Differences in tested ability accounted for most of the observed segregation within schools by race and class, and, in general, the effects of verbal ability were 3-4 times as important as the combined effects of father's education, occupational prestige, and number of siblings in the family. If more equality of outcomes is desirable, one must question the relevance of tests as a criterion, rather than focusing on schools as agents generating inequality through perpetuating status differentials. (Author)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Achievement Tests, Curriculum Development, Equal Education, Public Schools, Racial Discrimination, Racial Segregation, Reading Ability, Reading Skills, Reading Tests, Social Class, Socioeconomic Background, Socioeconomic Influences, Socioeconomic Status, Tracking, Urban Education, Urban Schools
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Center for Educational Research and Development (DHEW/OE), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for Educational Policy Research, Cambridge, MA.