Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tracking: Why Schools Need To Take Another Route

Tracking is the term used for the division of students within a school based upon performance, or level of educational ability.  The author of the article (Oakes), argues that this division within schools, has a significant toll among students.  many of these students feel less of an intellectual than those students who are placed in a higher up section, and the affects can be really depressing.  Oakes views this whole tracking system as a form of segregation within schools, that is churning up a much unneeded sense of helplessness for those kids who are being grouped in the lower learning groups.  For me, the tracking system is way different than this.  Since middle school, every year the entire grade was tracked based upon the difficulty level of the classes, and how well each student is able to perform as an individual.  Based off of past grades and experiences, the students are placed into corresponding groups that match their academic level and provide the challenge that some students need.  I completely understand where Oakes is coming from when he speaks out on how this system segregates kids and causes problems, but I think overall that the system is too affective and important to be wiped out.  For many of the smarter students, they have tried their hardest and deserve to be in higher classes, where they will be challenged to a certain point that seems fit to them.  Many kids belong in the lower classes either because of a struggle in prior years, or because the lower classes are needed to help the student focus easier and move on successfully.  If a student feels left out of a certain level class, then he or she can work towards moving up to a higher level the next year.  I know in my high school, we were always allowed to pick which difficulty level we wanted to go into, and then simply had a teacher sign off on whether or not it was a good choice.  What it all comes down to in the end is that no two students are the same.  Every student has a different ability level, and should be grouped according to that ability.  Segregation unfortunately is an effect of this system, but in no way does that infer a flawed system, or even one that needs to be stopped.

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