Some Resources on Teaching About School Tracking

From a student letter to the Tacoma News Tribune, April 18, 2004

The Students Are Watching
By Ted and Nancy Sizer (Beacon Press, 2000).
Chapter 4, “Sorting,” is a readable chapter that can be used with students to reflect on the meaning and consequences of tracking.

“Testing, Tracking, and Toeing the Line: 
A Role Play on the Origins of the Modern High School”

By Bill Bigelow, in Rethinking Our Classrooms: Teaching for Equity and Justice , Vol. 1 (Rethinking Schools, 1994).
This is the best classroom resource for engaging high school students in a critical reflection of the origins tracking and testing in schools today. Molly Schwabe’s story, “The Pigs: When Tracking Takes Its Toll,” is a short and engaging reading that tells one girl’s tracking story.

Keeping Track: How Schools Structure Inequality
By Jeannie Oakes (Yale University Press, 1985). 
Chapter 2, “Unlocking the Tradition,” is not an easy read for high school students, but it includes valuable quotes and analysis.

None of the Above
By David Owens (Houghton Mifflin, 1985). 
The histories of tracking and testing go hand in hand. Chapter 9, “The Cult of Mental Measurement,” is a bit difficult, but prompts students to think critically about the meritocratic rationale of the first Scholastic Aptitude Tests, and provides some startling background about the individuals who developed them.