Tag Archives: tracking

We don’t need consolidation to change anything that needs to be changed —Barbara Stratton

Received today on Tracking can help all distributions of students —new research” of the blog “On the LAKE Front. -jsq
I’m definitely against consolidation, but I don’t like tracking either. When I was self employed breeding & training race horses in the 80’s I worked part time as a substitute teacher. The county system used a form of tracking that grouped students into slow, medium & fast learners. My children were in the top group so it worked well for them. However, I did not like the system because I observed a lot of students who lost the desire to try because they were classified in the slow learner group.

I finished the last month for one 7th grade class & had to sit in on the end of year decisions to pass or fail. One student was

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Tracking can help all distributions of students —new research

It turns out tracking students can help all students if done properly. CUEE’s invited speaker Terry Jenkins co-authored a paper back in 1997 about Detracking Troup County: Providing an Exemplary Curriculum for All Students. He appeared to be saying de-tracking was an advantge of school consolidation. Back then tracking was apparently considered a bad thing. Recent research shows that actually tracking students can help all levels of students. So yet another supposed reason or benefit of consolidation turns out not to be true.

Esther Duflo, Pascaline Dupas, and Michael Kremer wrote for American Economic Review, 101(5): 1739–74, DOI:10.1257/aer.101.5.1739, Peer Effects, Teacher Incentives, and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya

To the extent that students benefit from high-achieving peers, tracking will help strong students and hurt weak ones. However, all students may benefit if tracking allows teachers to better tailor their instruction level. Lower-achieving pupils are particularly likely to benefit from tracking when teachers have incentives to teach to the top of the distribution. We propose a simple model nesting these effects and test its implications in a randomized tracking experiment conducted with 121 primary schools in Kenya. While the direct effect of high-achieving peers is positive, tracking benefited lower-achieving pupils indirectly by allowing teachers to teach to their level. (JEL I21, J45, O15)
The first sentence is the standard “diversity” argument that CUEE keeps making. The authors state it so as to poing out that their study finds that it’s far from the whole story.

I find this part especially interesting: Continue reading