Tracking detracking: Sorting through the dilemmas and possibilities of detracking in practice

Beth C. Rubin, Pedro A. Noguera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tracking, the sorting and grouping of students in schools, has been criticized for separating students along race and class lines, re-segregating diverse schools and perpetuating unequal access to a college-bound curriculum. Detracking, a reform in which students are placed intentionally in mixed-ability classes, is an attempt to remedy the negative effects of tracking. In this “think piece,” the authors review the relevant literature and reflect upon their experiences teaching and researching in detracked classrooms, presenting several dilemmas apparent within detracked classrooms and identifying a number of practices that have proven successful at meeting students' needs in these classrooms. The authors argue that if detracking is to achieve its aims, it must be part of more comprehensive reform aimed at the equitable redistribution of resources and opportunities within schools, deliberately placing the needs of previously underserved students at the center of reform initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-101
Number of pages10
JournalEquity and Excellence in Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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