The analysis looks at tracking in one of the leading states in "reforming" that traditional practice and scrutinizes the changes that occurred in the Bay State between 1991 and 2009. Of particular interest was how tracked and untracked schools measured up when it came to producing high-achieving students. The short answer is…tracked schools did better, but there aren’t many of them left. Loveless finds that most middle schools have done away entirely with tracking in English language arts, science, and social studies, though this practice endures in math, albeit with fewer tracks than two decades ago. Further, "detracking"—reducing the number of subject-area courses offered in a given grade in a given school—may adversely affect high-achieving youngsters in math. (That’s not the case in English; history and science achievement were not analyzed.)

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La selezione precoce nella scuola media unica è larvata, subdola, invisibile ma effettiva. I risultati sono i soliti: gli studenti dei ceti abbienti sboccano negli indirizzi privilegiati dei licei di cultura generale e gli studenti dei ceti poveri, degli immigrati, delle minoranze etniche, delle classi meno abbienti sboccano negli istituti professionali, nei centri professionali e negli indirizzi meno prestigiosi degli istituti tecnici. Come correggere il tiro? Classi omogenee o eterogenee? Qui si descrivono le riforme intraprese nello stato americano del Massachusetts (capitale Boston),con uno dei sistemi scolastici più progrediti negli USA.

What are the implications of "tracking," or grouping students into separate classes based on their achievement? Many schools have moved away from this practice and reduced the number of subject-area courses offered in a given grade. In this new Thomas B. Fordham Institute report, Brookings scholar Tom Loveless examines tracking and detracking in Massachusetts middle schools, with particular focus on changes that have occurred over time and their implications for high-achieving students. Among the report’s key findings: detracked schools have fewer advanced students in mathematics than tracked schools. The report also finds that detracking is more popular in schools serving disadvantaged populations. Read the full report to find out more.

Further comments by Checker Finn in "The Education Gadfly", a bulletin of weekly news and analysis from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Volume 9, Number 43. December 10, 2009