Welcome to the Profit of Education website. Continuing the conversation begun in the book Profit of Education, we discuss the latest economic evidence on education reform.


Read “All together now” by Michael Pettrilli over at EducationNext.org, which explains that mixing students of different abilities is an overblown idea.

This really pushes my buttons. Last month I attended my 40th high school reunion. My graduating class–and some of us had started together in kindergarten–had kids from “the projects” and upper middle class kids of business executives. A central design principle of the school system was that every class would include kids across the spectrum of academic ability. Every teacher was expected to have an educational plan for each individual student. A student might be in an advanced reading group but a mid-level math group. And boundaries were kept fluid so that assignments could be adjusted to individual progress. This made much “extra” work for the teachers. Forty to fifty years later, “us kids” think mixing abilities worked brilliantly. We also think we had outstanding teachers.

You’ll note that I’m providing anecdote, while the Education Next article discusses real, data-based research. Having admitted as much, let me throw out a further speculative thought. Truly great teachers always craft their work to the individual student. If we had all great teachers, mixed ability classes would be optimal. With the current mix of great and not-so-great teachers, mixed ability classes are a tougher call.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Tracking

  1. sam says:

    i dont think you and the article are disagreeing. you say at your school “A student might be in an advanced reading group but a mid-level math group”.

    thats exactly what is going on at piney branch. the anti-tracking movement would have all the kids in the same reading and math group.

    so instead of the more convenient splitting the kids up into different classes for math and reading, the teachers split them into groups but keep them in the same class.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *