I was forwarded some links to articles on tracking. After weeding the broken and irrelevant ones out this is the set that's left.  My plan is to start keeping references here as time goes by to interesting pieces. I'm particularly looking for research articles. Feel free to add links I should add in the comments.

Tracking Research and Arguments For:

  • Detailed discussion of the history and major research.  "Serious charges have been made about tracking and ability grouping, especially tracking. Several states and districts have pushed schools to abolish tracking, and a storm of controversy has ensued. In recent years, tracking and ability grouping have come under increased fire for (1) being inefficient, that is, for not promoting academic achievement, and for (2) being inequitable, i.e., for condemning low group and low track students, and especially poor students and students of color, to impoverished educational settings. These charges are mostly unsubstantiated by research. The evidence does not support the charge that tracking is inherently harmful, and there is no clear evidence that abandoning tracking for heterogeneously grouped classes would provide a better education for any student. This being said, tracking's ardent defenders cannot call on a wealth of research to support their position either. The evidence does not support the claim that tracking benefits most students or that heterogeneous grouping depresses achievement. High achieving students are the exception. For them, tracked classes with an accelerated or enriched curriculum are superior to heterogeneously grouped classes."
  •  A discussion of several meta studies showing tracking is effective and not harmful.
  •   A rigorous primary study that concluded that ability tracking was good for both high and low ability students in the Dallas schools.
  • New York Times piece on the achievement gap shifting and becoming more about SES than race.
  • A large scale study done in Kenya involving 10000 students.
  •  The anti-tracking movement has suddenly become anti-ability grouping, resulting in serious side-effects for gifted students who currently are being served effectively in ability-grouped programs that consistently meet their needs. Closer scrutiny of the research frequently cited reveals commonly held misinterpretations and misconceptions. Six commonly held myths are examined and discussed in relationship to educators’ efforts to provide the best instructional programs for all students, including those whose abilities place them at the upper end of the spectrum.
  • Two second-order meta-analyses synthesized approximately 100 years of research on the effects of ability grouping and acceleration on K–12 students’ academic achievement. Outcomes of 13 ability grouping meta-analyses showed that students benefited from within-class grouping (0.19 ≤ g ≤ 0.30), cross-grade subject grouping (g = 0.26), and special grouping for the gifted (g = 0.37), but did not benefit from between-class grouping (0.04 ≤ g ≤0.06); the effects did not vary for high-, medium-, and low-ability students. Three acceleration meta-analyses showed that accelerated students significantly outperformed their nonaccelerated same-age peers (g = 0.70) but did not differ significantly from nonaccelerated older peers (g = 0.09). Three other meta-analyses that aggregated outcomes across specific forms of acceleration found that acceleration appeared to have a positive, moderate, and statistically significant impact on students’ academic achievement (g = 0.42).
  •  Short and long term affect of a completely objective (standardized score based) math placement leading to 8th grade algebra.   The results were promising as far as demographics but not in terms of outcomes. Most of the marginal students did not perform well in their middle school and high school classes and there was substantial leakiness in the math pipeline.
TODO: add Kulik study.

Tracking Research and Arguments Against:

Somewhat Relevant Tracking Articles: 

Testing and Identification:
  •  An interesting read. Lohman recommends focusing on percentiles within similar opportunity-to-learn subgroups. Note: Seattle doeson't have normed data at that level of granularity for things like CogAT because such testing is opt-in by State Law. 
  •  The suggested protocol for use of the CogAT. AL is basically using a variant of this and I believe they have consulted with the author.
  • "Low income and minority students are under-represented in gifted education programs. One explanation for this pattern is that the usual process for identifying gifted students, through parent and teacher referrals, systematically misses many potentially qualified disadvantaged students. We use the experiences in a large urban school district following the introduction of a universal screening program for second grade students to study this hypothesis. With no change in the standards for gifted eligibility the screening program led to large increases in the fractions of economically disadvantaged students and minorities placed in gifted programs. Comparisons of the newly identified gifted students with those who would have been placed in the absence of screening show that blacks and Hispanics, free/reduced price lunch participants, English language learners, and girls are all systematically "under-referred" in the traditional parent/teacher referral system."
  • The Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test, Second Edition (NNAT2), is used widely to screen students for possible inclusion in talent development programs. The NNAT2 claims to provide a more culturally neutral evaluation of general ability than tests such as Form 6 of the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT6), which has Verbal and Quantitative batteries in addition to a Nonverbal battery. This study compared the performance of 5,833 second graders who took the CogAT6 and 4,038 kindergartners, first graders, and second graders who took the NNAT2 between 2005 and 2011 as part of a grade-wide screening for a gifted program. Comparison between minorities and Whites on the CogAT6 and the NNAT2 found slightly larger gaps on the CogAT6 Composite for Hispanics and English-Language Learners (ELL) but the same gap for Black students. Considered alone, the Nonverbal battery of CogAT6 produced smaller gaps than the NNAT2 for Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and ELL students. Fisher’s exact tests showed no significant differences between the CogAT6 Composite and the NNAT2 in subgroup identification rates at hypothetical cuts for gifted identification (top 20%, 10%, or 5%), except for Asian and ELL students. The CogAT6 Nonverbal score appeared to identify as many or more high-ability students from underrepresented groups as the NNAT2. Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fourth Edition, follow-up on the top 5% showed greater predictive validity for the CogAT6 Composite. These results suggest that gifted programs should not assume that using a figural screening test such as the NNAT2, without other adjustments to selection protocol, will address minority underrepresentation.


Internal Reports

2013 APP (now HCC) AC recommendations for the program:

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