Tracking by Accident and by Design
George Mason University
Tracking in Japan, Germany and the US.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Phi Delta Kappan
- 5 types of differentiation that fit under tracking a) type of school b) course of study c) streaming d) ability grouping e) geographical location All 5 have potential to create serious inequities in educational opportunity.
- Creating different type of schools is the norm in Germany and Japan but is not often seen in the US.
- Geographic location tracking appears to some degree in Germany and Japan, but is most pronounced in the US.
- Japan has compulsory education through 9th grade. About 75% of Japanese students attend high school that provide a general college-prep curriculum.
- In Germany, about 30% of students attend the gymnasium, which covers what is in the US is upper elementary, middle and high school grades. Aim is college.
- German students move from an untracked system into a highly tracked system after 4th grade, while Japan delays all tracking until after 9th grade.
- In all countries people would agree with the tracking process if the mechanism of selection was "fair".
Journal Article Historical Analysis
Ability Groups, Curriculum, Math, Tracking
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- Case studies database of the third international Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).
- Interviews with educators, parents and students in Germany, Japan and the US.