Mickelson, Roslyn A., & Everett, Bobbie J.
Neotracking in North Carolina: How High School Courses of Study Reproduce Race and Class-Based Stratification
University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Central Piedmont Community College
Does neotracking facilitate or hinder North Carolina’s goal of equity and excellence for all students? Is there a relationship between district and school demographics, students’ racial background and their course of study (COS) assignments?Does between- and within- school variations in COS placement result in greater or less race and social class stratification in opportunities to learn?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Teachers College Record
Vol. 110, No. 3, Pp. 535-570
- Allocation of NC high school students into four distinct Courses of Study constitutes a new form of academic tracking, or neotracking.
- Students course of study choices are related to the per capita income of the district (in quintiles) in which they matriculated.
- In more affluent districts students are significantly more likely to choose College/University preparation.
- In North Carolina Blacks, Latinos and American Indians are more likely to choose Career Prep than Whites or Asians.
- In CMS Black students are more likely to enroll in career prep than any other ethnic group, followed by Latinos and Whites.
- Data indicated that the size of a school’s student body is inversely related to the percent of Black and Hispanic students in it. In CMS, larger schools have greater percentages of White students and students identified as academically gifted, and fewer students certified for special education, free and/ or reduced lunch, and students who are limited in their English proficiency.
- In CMS, among Black and Hispanic students the more racially isolated minority their high school is, the more likely they are to be enrolled in a more academically oriented COS.
- Students in low poverty schools are much more likely to be proficient on the EOC test that students from high poverty schools (73% compared to 34%).
- Even though almost all students in CMS’s racially imbalanced minority schools- which are also high poverty schools- are enrolled in the College/University COS, at best only 38% of them are at or above proficiency in core academic subjects.
- It is not necessarily true that the 38% who scored as proficient are prepared either. A majority of the students in the four racially imbalanced, high poverty, low preforming high schools were enrolled in the College/University Prep COS, the subject area tracking practices meant that few students had the opportunity to prepare for college entrance and success.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
North Carolina 12th grade students and school districts for the 2004-2005 school year (NC statewide analysis), 2005 Charlotte population of 12th grade students and high schools (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools analysis)
Unit of Analysis:
School District, State
- The North Carolina Education Research Data Center: Data includes 68,817 12th grade students, and 117 school districts, for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (CMS) analysis researchers use the 2005 population of 12th students, (n=5,161) and high schools (n=17).
- DV: Courses of study- The four tracks are: Career Prep, College/Tech Prep, College/University Prep, and Occupational COS.
- IV: LEA income ranking in quintiles, Percent free and reduced lunch status, Racial composition of high schools, Race, EOC composite scores.