Monday, October 3, 2011

Tracking In School

FLG read this debate about tracking versus integration with a good deal of interest. His school district wrestled with the issue back in the 1980s and 1990s. So, he saw a bit of both sides.

He realizes that his personal experience isn't data, but he can say without a doubt that his experience in integrated classes was unequivocally less stimulating and challenging than those separated for ability and it did cause him to become extremely bored and withdraw. So, he is very sympathetic to the argument that focusing on the lowest performing students comes at high-achievers' expense. That doesn't necessarily mean we should shift focus away from the achievement gap, but it does also mean we shouldn't make education policy without remembering TINSTAAFL.

2 comments:

Robbo said...

I remember they tried integration in my 9th grade history class. I sat next to a girl so amazingly stupid that we convinced her the lines of latitude and longitude were really marked out on the planet. (With toilet paper. She asked wouldn't it get wet in the oceans. We said they laminated it.)

There were maybe four or five motivated kids in the class. We spent most of it debating Vietnam and other lefty bugaboos with the teacher, while the other 20 or 25 kids just killed time. Don't recall that anyone really got that much out of it, and I believe the district chucked it soon thereafter.

arethusa said...

High-achieving students are penalized constantly these days, even at the college level, where the stupidity and laziness of their classmates often forces the instructor, for various reasons, to dumb down the class in ways that it normally wouldn't be.

 
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