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Keeping Track

  • By: R. Holly Yettick & Kevin G. Welner
  • In: Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies
  • Edited by: Craig Kridel
  • Subject:Cultural Studies (general), Curriculum & Content (general), Curriculum Studies

Even in an applied field such as curriculum studies, it is rare for an academic book to attract and influence a broad spectrum of policy makers, practitioners, and everyday people. Jeannie Oakes's Keeping Track is an exception. The book, first published in 1985, draws upon the results of a large national study to describe the effects of grouping, or tracking, students by perceived ability. Although it was not the first scholarly critique of tracking, its combination of accessible writing and compelling evidence helped spark national debate about a practice that had become pervasive in U.S. schools. A second edition issued in 2005 contains a new preface plus two additional chapters that analyze this debate and the detracking movement it spawned.

Oakes opens her book by defining ...

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