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Does Detracking Work? Evidence from a Mathematics Curricular Reform.

ERIC Descriptors: Middle Schools; Mathematics Curriculum; Algebra; Geometry; Curriculum Development; Track System (Education); Grade 8; Mathematics Achievement; School Segregation; Enrollment; Middle School Students

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In this paper, the authors investigate the consequences of curricular intensification by examining changes in the social organization of schooling and student achievement in one California school district. The authors' analyses consider the following three research questions: (1) What effect did 8th grade curricular intensification have on mathematics course-taking patterns in Towering Pines Unified schools?; (2) What effect did 8th grade curricular intensification have on classroom-level ethnic, language-based, and skills-based segregation in the district?; and (3) What long-term effects did 8th grade curricular intensification have on students' mathematics course taking and mathematics achievement? Their analyses focus on 8th grade student data collected from a large, ethnically-diverse Southern California school district during a four year period in which state policy provided strong incentives for schools to enroll a greater proportion of 8th graders in Algebra I courses. In sum, their findings suggest that enrolling students in more rigorous courses is not, in itself, enough to raise student achievement. Rather, their analyses suggest that successful curricular reforms must prepare students across the skill distribution and carefully attend to classroom peer dynamics. (Contains 5 tables and 1 footnote.)

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Author:Domina, Thurston; Penner, Andrew M.; Penner, Emily K.; Conley, AnneMarie
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2012
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