ERIC Number: ED252927
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Overview of Research on Ability Grouping.
Although over 77 percent of American school districts use ability grouping, or tracking, research overwhelmingly indicates that the practice benefits only the gifted. High schools commonly have two or three tracks. Regardless of the methods used to place students, the effects of ability grouping are uniform; furthermore, placement in low ability tracks is uniformly correlated with socioeconomic status and race, IQ or achievement test scores notwithstanding. Tracking, in general and in English courses, profoundly affects a student's education. First, low tracks receive both less and poorer instruction and emphasize different topics in English than high tracks; student satisfaction varies accordingly. Second, while tracking improves achievement scores of gifted students, it does not affect those of average students, and it lowers those of low ability students. Third, teachers behave more supportively toward higher-track students and hold low expectations for lower-track students. Fourth, tracking reinforces racial and class segregation and stereotyping. Fifth, low ability students may have less access to educational resources. Finally, students in low tracks have lower self-esteem and aspirations that do others. If schools are to provide equal educational opportunities, such effects must be carefully considered. (MCG)
Descriptors: Ability Grouping, Academic Achievement, Aspiration, Class Organization, Educational Discrimination, Educational Quality, Educational Resources, Educationally Disadvantaged, Elementary Secondary Education, English Instruction, Literature Reviews, Peer Relationship, Self Esteem, Teacher Student Relationship, Teaching Methods, Track System (Education)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City, CA. SMERC Information Center.