“My Skin Color Stops Me from Leading”: Tracking, Identity, and Student Dynamics in a Racially Mixed School

Marianne Modica


The practice of separating students according to ability level, also known as academic tracking, allows racially mixed schools to maintain segregated classrooms. This article examines the effects of academic tracking on the racial identity and educational opportunities of students at a mixed-race suburban charter school. Through five months of participant observation research, I found that the long-term practice of academic tracking created racial boundaries among students, silenced students of color in honors classes, and limited educational opportunity for all students. However,  subsequent efforts to detrack, although superficial, resulted in positive outcomes for all students.



academic tracking, ability grouping, racial diversity, racial identity, detracking

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18251/ijme.v17i3.1030

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