The Variable Effects of High School Tracking
University of Wisconsin- Madison
Analyzes how the structure of the tracking system is related to differences in achievement.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
American Educational Research Journal
Vol. 57, No. 6, pp. 812-828
- The effects of tracking on achievement depend, in part, on the structure of the tracking system, especially for math.
- The average effect of academic track placement is positive.
- The impact of tracking on math achievement varies between schools.
- Catholic schools produced smaller achievement gaps between tracks (the effects were significant only for math).
- Track immobility leads to increased inequality between tracks in math and verbal scores. In math, track immobility reduces achievement overall.
- Inclusiveness positively affects achievement.
- 80% of the between school variation in effects on math achievement are explained.
- Schools vary significantly in the magnitude of track effects on math achievement, and they differ in net average achievement on both math and verbal tests.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Academic Achievement, Math, Tracking, Vocabulary
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- Data are from the High School and Beyond study (HSB), national sample of schools and students, years 1980 and 1982. Random sample. The final sample for this study is 20,762 students in 883 schools.
- DV: Student achievement (math and verbal test scores).
- IV: Student level variables-gender, race, SES, prior achievement scores (math, science, verbal, and writing) and self-reported track placement; school level variables-school SES, school type (Catholic/private), and structural characteristics (selectivity, electivity, inclusiveness, and scope).