Date of Award:

12-2008

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology

Advisor/Chair:

Susan E Mannon

Abstract

Educational policymakers have used tracking to instruct students in a variety of subjects, including mathematics. Tracking, which has also been called ability grouping, is a process by which students in the same grade are placed into different classes based on academic ability. Few educators and sociologists have looked at the process by which students are placed in different mathematics tracks. The research design of this study focused on accumulating, evaluating, and reporting the understanding and observations of 12 teachers and 4 counselors as they discussed their knowledge and involvement in the mathematics placement procedures from the intermediate and middle school levels in northern Utah. The data revealed that in addition to the official placement policies there were other factors that influenced the math placement. Those factors were teacher input, parental participation, and student involvement in the educational process. Educational administration, counselors, and teachers can use the results of this study to create more equitable placement policies and procedures for all students.

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