Tracking: The Educator’s Dilemma

For decades, students in the public education system have been given labels: “General,” “Advanced,” “Honors” – and split into classes with others who supposedly have roughly the same intelligence level. This practice is called Tracking, and there’s currently a big push among educational professionals to get rid of it, and stop segregating students based on their IQ.

Chad Prather, a history teacher at Charlottesville High School, is part of the movement to abolish tracking, and has created a “detracked” class for the 2007-2008 school year. The Charlottesville Podcasting Network’s Michael Strickland spoke with Prather about his class, and how students will be affected by this new style of teaching. Also interviewed were Rick Wellbeloved-Stone, an environmental science teacher at CHS who would prefer the tracking system stay put, and Carol Ann Tomlinson, a Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Virginia who is an international advocate for detracking.

Currently a heated and sensitive topic among school administrations, this piece overviews the tracking system as well as the movement towards detracking, and presents the highly varied opinions teachers have on the issue.

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