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Topic: tracking and remediation
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Anne Wheelock

Posts: 3
Registered: 12/6/04
tracking and remediation
Posted: Mar 3, 1995 10:14 AM
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Since 1991, I have been visiting schools - mostly middle grades schools -
that have been implementing alternatives to tracking and remediation,
sometimes including math. These schools tell me about a number of
strategies that have worked for them to keep all kids learning meaningful
content in heterogeneous classrooms that convey that everyone can learn this
content. Among the essential ingredients for this approach to work are:
(1) a strong belief system in the school that all kids deserve access to and
will learn meaningful content - in the case of math, as defined by the
standards; (2) a wide variety of ways that allow for all kids to
participate and keep up in that meaningful curriculum. Sometimes that
involves skill-focused grouping for extra instruction and practice, but -
and this is the important part - that grouping is not *instead of* the core
curriculum class, but *in adddition to* that class. These "extra help
opportunities" take the form of before-, after-, and lunchtime sessions;
pre-teaching (for students to get a "jump start" on a new unit); double
periods in math; saturating classes with extra helpers, including older
students, community volunteers; co-teaching of "regular" and "special"
teachers, including Chapter 1; substituting extra math for an elective;
Saturday and/or summer work. (3) standards-based, often thematic,
curriculum and assessments, including classroom rubrics, to go with it. In
my observations, when tracking goes unchallenged, too many students are left
with, not just a remedial curriculum but with a curriculum that avoids
teaching for understanding. This is not to say that challenging tracking is
easy - all the above approaches require adjustments for the adults in the
building. Anne Wheelock

Anne Wheelock
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

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