Equal Protection And Public Education : Ability Grouping And Tracking

812 Words Jan 19th, 2016 4 Pages
Equal Protection and Public Education: Ability Grouping and Tracking The United States of America has a long and complicated history of segregation and inequality. Though the country has fought fiercely to redeem itself by eradicating the practice of inequality in many areas, there are still some concerns that remain. These concerns are present in the public education system, and relate to the time-honored practice of educators to group and educate students by their ability level. This paper will discuss how students historically have been classified based on ability tracking and grouping, the legal issues created by this classification, and what the Constitution requires in order to maintain equal protection rights for all citizens.
Classification for Ability Grouping and Tracking Ability grouping is the concept of placing students into learning groups within the classroom based on their academic ability level (National Education Association, 2015). This happens more frequently at the primary level when students have only one teacher and one classroom (Loveless, 2013). Ability grouping can be used to teach any subject but is most commonly used in English language arts and mathematics (Loveless, 2013). Ability tracking uses the same concept of grouping students by their academic ability level, but tracking happens at the middle and high school levels (Loveless, 2013). Tracking is the practice of testing students’ ability levels, placing them in groups based on these…
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