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Merits and Demerits of Educational Tracking

By Arkaan-Abu El-Nahil Oct 28, 2013 676 Words
Tracking has also been thought to have cause some racial discriminatory against minority students based on what type of classes they are told to take. In some cases there are types of tracking to provide what is thought to be better way to prepare students for their future careers. These tracking types are either educational track which prepares high school students to go into college, or career track which prepares students for careers right out of high school. This way of tracking is highly controversial and can be considered racist and discriminatory because students from families of lower economic status as well as minority students are often the majority of the career track. Due to race and socioeconomic considerations in recent years, some schools are trying to implement untracking. In a scholarly journal by Ralph Scott, it is mentioned that “Support for untracking is largely fueled by claims that tracking promotes and perpetuates inequities and can be characterized as unfair, racist and discriminatory” (Scott, 2001). Even with schools trying to get out of tracking students in order to prevent inequalities, many teachers prefer tracking. The preference of tracking is quite large despite “characterizations of tracking as biased and discriminatory, educators are split concerning the practice which is supported by U.S. Department of Education initiatives” (Scott, 2001). This may because there can be a benefit for those students who are able to be on an educational track and not a career track. The other half of teachers may not think that they are fully able to give students the best education possible and many educators believe that it limits teaching. Those who advocate tracking to be diminished in schools present the arguments that the tracking limits the overall education of students because it limits what the teacher is able to teach. The reason that teaching is limited is because there is so much testing that is required in order for tracking to be used in schools to decide which track students are placed into. Therefore untracking reformers characteristically urge the virtual demise of standardized attitude and achievement tests, ignore evidence that biological factors combined with early situational forces can close windows of cognitive opportunities as individuals mature, and question whether a firm base of knowledge and skills during the early years is linearly related to a person's subsequent learning proficiency levels (Scott, 2001). It is also argued that with tracking there is no justice in the classroom for both the educators as well as the students. The reason being is that what educators are required to teach in the classroom is to urge towards high IQ and standardized test scores versus high educational standards for all. Therefore the nation has witnessed to be what Jeanie Oakes describes as an “exodus from the public schools of middle class children, as well as teacher burnout, disengagement from learning by both low and high academic achievers” (Oakes, 2006). There are many benefits that come with tracking which has caused the support for it and against it to be equal. It gives an opportunity to some students to meet their full potential by being placed in on a track that will benefit them while preparing for higher education. The problem with tracking is that there is an educational imbalance in terms of opportunities that are given to some students and not others. There is limitations on some educators lessons in the classroom in preparation for the various tests that are given to students. Lastly, there is a very valid argument that tracking is preventing students from minority race and ethnic groups from excelling as much as students from the majority race. If tracking is able to meet the needs of all students and equally prepare them for higher education than it is something worth pursuing in all schools but until then the world of education will be split on this topic.

Scott, R. (2001). Tracking in schools: Can American social scientists objectify such a sensitive topic?. Mankind Quarterly, 42(1), 47-52. Oakes, J., & Lipton, M. (2006). Teaching to change the world. (3rd ed.). The McGraw-Hill Companies.

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