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Bounding the Case within Its Context: A Constructivist Approach to Studying Detracking Reform

Amy Stuart Wells, Diane Hirshberg, Martin Lipton and Jeannie Oakes
Educational Researcher
Vol. 24, No. 5 (Jun. - Jul., 1995), pp. 18-24
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1177074
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Bounding the Case within Its Context: A Constructivist Approach to Studying Detracking Reform
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Abstract

This article presents the story of our research team's efforts to conduct a multisite case study of 10 racially mixed schools engaged in efforts to reduce ability grouping or tracking. Although the politics of education research and our own theoretical framework told us that detracking reform is strongly influenced by the politics and norms in the local school community, we were not sure how to study a school-level change while examining the broader context of that change. We learned over the course of our study to build outward from the school site into the local community, and co-construct the boundaries of our cases with the help of our respondents. As a result, we discovered that the boundaries of each case and the differences in the shape and size of each case are as much a finding as they are a methodological consideration.

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