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By Ashley LeSage

Tracking students in the United States education system

Every educator has their own opinion when it comes to tracking systems in schools. There are valid arguments for both sides of this spectrum. Those who are in favor of tracking say it allows teachers to cater to the students' specific needs. Those who are against the idea of tracking say it is not worth separating students, because studies shows that students do not do any better than they would without tracking.


The argument that is most compelling to me is the one against pro-tracking. I understand that we want to get all students on the same level, but that is just not an attainable goal in my opinion. Students develop at different rates, so by putting them in a harder class, there is no benefit. The same goes for students who are high achievers, they should not be slowed down when they have potential to grow more.

The way they did it in my high school was A level, B level and G level, and for each subject, you could be recommended for a different level. A level was for students who excelled in that subject, while B level was for those who were still college-bound, but needed information broken down more and at a slower rate.

What I never understood were the G level classes. I understood that not all students are college-bound, but these course were not worth as much credit as the A and B level courses. I always thought that was wrong, because if that is the best the child can do they should be getting as much credit as the high-achieving students.

Many times, G level students had to take more classes throughout high school. While everyone senior year only had to take two or three, they were having a full load still. However, to think about not having any levels whatsoever, I could not fathom that. How can you say all students are the same? That students will just rise up or be left behind.

Who is taking low-track courses?

Often, the minority students are being placed in these low-track courses. Then, usually the Caucasians are being put on the high-achieving route. Students should be placed at a level that challenges them, but they are still able to succeed. Skin color should not have any part in where a child is placed in classes.

I believe the teachers should have the say of where the student should be placed. It should not be up to the test scores, student, or even parents. I believe many times students of the minority race at a school just assume they cannot do it, but as a teacher, you learn your student's abilities better than anyone else. By having the teacher from the previous year place them would increase student's chances for achievement.

I see people being treated as statistics. All human connection, compassion and overall care for a person's well-being is gone. Each student is falling into the trap that since their skin is a certain tone they are expected to behave and succeed in a certain manner. Before a child even gets to school they are judged and have an impression that they did not make. A white child is expected to succeed, while a black child is expected to struggle. It is as though these children are having to prove themselves.

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