This paper explores the relationship between appropriate class placement and racial equity under a self-selection program model at an urban middle school in the Midwest. We define self-selection as students’ ability to choose their level of courses regardless of test scores and other academic criteria. Within this school, students have the ability to specifically choose their level of Language Arts (advanced or standard) and their level of mathematics (double-advanced, advanced, or standard). Under this model, students do not need to meet additional criteria for selecting an advanced class, as this model's goal is to promote equal opportunities for students that may not have been tracked into advanced classes in their earlier academic careers. Additionally, we recognize that parental influences may play a role students’ course selection; however, under this model, the course for which a student registers for is up to the student. Through this study, we investigate how the self-selection program model affects the demographics of leveled classes, and we specifically study the changes in racial demographics of advanced classes. We also assess students’ accuracy in choosing classes that are appropriate for them under this model by analyzing students' class performance, standardized test scores, and nationally normed test scores. Through our study, we unfortunately found no indication that self-selection promotes racial equity, nor do we believe that students are able to make appropriate course selections under this model.
Alana Tholen, University of Iowa, United States
Stream: Learning Experiences
This paper is part of the IICEHawaii2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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