Title page for ETD etd-05082009-135138


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Shapiro, Bradley Thomas
Author's Email Address bshapiro@vt.edu
URN etd-05082009-135138
Title Ability Tracking and Class Mobility in High School Mathematics: The Case of Low Achievers
Degree Master of Science
Department Mathematics
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Floyd, William J. Committee Chair
Norton, Anderson H. III Committee Member
Tideman, Thorwald Nicolaus Committee Member
Keywords
  • Economics of Education
  • Secondary School Mathematics
  • Ability Tracking
Date of Defense 2009-05-01
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
The goal of this paper is to evaluate commonly held criticisms of the practice of ability tracking in high school mathematics. To do so, I employ data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 and follow-ups to model classroom selection and education production. This paper will focus only on the causes and effects of tracking on students who were tracked as low-ability in eighth grade. From this, we can see how many students, if any, switched out of the low-ability track by tenth grade and how various switches have affected their test scores in mathematics. I find that students exercise mobility between ability-tracks as late as tenth grade and that ability-track placement is largely determined by test scores. In addition, I find evidence that there would be minimal, if any, test score improvement among low-ability students if they were all moved to a class of heterogeneous ability.
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