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Tracking in Mathematics and Science: Courses and Course-Selection Procedures

Joan Z. Spade, Lynn Columba and Beth E. Vanfossen
Sociology of Education
Vol. 70, No. 2 (Apr., 1997), pp. 108-127
DOI: 10.2307/2673159
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2673159
Page Count: 20
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Tracking in Mathematics and Science: Courses and Course-Selection Procedures
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Abstract

In this study of course offerings in mathematics and science and placement procedures in six high schools, three high schools that were identified as "excellent" through regression analyses were matched with "average" schools, with one pair each in upper-, middle-, and working-class districts. The study found differences in course patterns available to students and the procedures used to assign students to classes. Excellent schools and districts that were higher in social class offered more college-preparatory and advanced courses. Also, the process by which students in these schools and districts were placed in classes was more systematic; it included broader assessments of students' abilities and involved faculty and guidance counselors more actively. It is note-worthy that although the social class of the community was related to the structure of schools, the structure of counseling activities and the courses offered differed among schools in the same social-class communities.

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