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ERIC Number: EJ936853
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 41
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 58
ISSN: ISSN-0895-9048
Curriculum Differentiation and Comprehensive School Reform: Challenges in Providing Educational Opportunity
Harris, Donna Marie
Educational Policy, v25 n5 p844-884 Sep 2011
Given the efforts of comprehensive school reform to improve the quality of educational opportunities for students by providing a standards based curriculum, this analysis examines the issue of tracking and its implications regarding curriculum differentiation. Using data from middle schools involved with the comprehensive school reform model, America's Choice, this mixed method analysis shows a complex manifestation of curriculum differentiation where schools had multiple types of academic tracks that responded to students differences including comprehensive learning groups, subject-specific groups, and temporary learning groups used for test preparation. Although school-level reports indicated that most regular education and gifted students were exposed to the America's Choice English Language Arts and mathematics units, special education students and English Language learners were least likely to gain access to this content. Individual teacher responses to tracking were idiosyncratic where some modified the curriculum and instructional pace by learning group ultimately impacting the amount of content exposure where those in the top learning groups were able to cover greater material than those in lower groups. Even though some teachers resisted tracking by addressing the classroom issues that caused differences in curriculum and instruction, tracking persisted as an entrenched practice in these middle schools through preexisting academic groups and were also replicated in new learning groups that emerged to address student academic needs related to state testing demands. (Contains 7 tables and 6 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A