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Research Report - Dividing Opportunities: Tracking in High School Mathematics


Promoting Rigorous Outcomes in Mathematics and Science Education (PROM/SE) has published two new issues of The PROM/SE Research Report - "Dividing Opportunities: Tracking in High School Mathematics" and "Dividing Opportunities: Tracking in High School Science."

These reports examine the extent of tracking in the 30 high schools that are part of PROM/SE. These schools represent over 14,000 seniors from nearly 18 districts. The reports reveal startling facts:

1) PROM/SE districts offer an incredibly large number of distinct high school math and science course titles and there is substantial variation across districts. For math, the number of courses offered by districts varied from 10 to 58. For science, the number varied from 7 to 55.

2) Analysis of the 14,000 students' course selections and the order in which they took these courses showed the number of sequences varies appreciably by district. For math, there were over 200 distinct course math sequences in some districts while in others there were less than 30. Most districts had closer to 60 sequences. For science, sequences ranged from over 100 to less than 30, with most districts closer to 50.

3) Though there are not overt curricular tracks, the large number and types of math and science courses offered implies that many students are encountering wildly discrepant learning opportunities within and across districts.

These issues and past issues of the PROM/SE Research Report are available for downloading from in the "research and results" section.