Tracking is the often controversial practice of sorting students based on their observed ability or academic achievement into homogeneous groups with the aim of allowing teachers to tailor instructional style and content to students’ needs and abilities. This broad definition encompasses a wide range of educational practices, including differentiated instruction within skills-heterogeneous classrooms (a practice that is common in elementary schools in the United States), between-class sorting within skills-heterogeneous schools (a practice that is common in U.S. high schools), and between-school sorting (a practice that is common at the secondary school level in Europe and Asia). Each of these practices is predicated on the hypothesis that homogeneous learning environments and specialized instruction increase educational efficiency. At the same time, each of these practices carry risks ...

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