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Class School Board Debate Activity: Should Tracking Be Reformed?
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K-12 education
role playing
political reform

How to Cite

Gillis, Alanna. 2018. “Class School Board Debate Activity: Should Tracking Be Reformed?”. TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, April. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.


This in-class activity is designed to simulate a school board debate to allow students to understand the differing perspectives about the school tracking debate. In this activity, the students will be broken up into small groups and given an assigned role. The students will be required to give a short speech in front of the class, arguing from their...

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Subject Area(s):
Resource Type(s):
Class Activity
Class Level(s):
Any Level
Class Size(s):

Usage Notes

Recommended reading:
"Chapter 19: Tracking." 2011. In Sociology of Education: A Critical Reader, 2nd edition. Edited by Alan R. Sadovnik. New York: Taylor and Francis.
• Hallinan, Maureen T. "Tracking: From Theory to Practice" and "Further Thoughts on Tracking."
• Oakes, Jeannie. "More than Misplaced Technology: A Normative and Political...

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Learning Goals and Assessments

Learning Goal(s):

  1. Students will role play and understand how different people have different perspectives about tracking based on their position in society and the school.
  2. Students will understand how tracking systems tend to benefit privileged students while they tend to hurt disadvantaged students.
  3. Students will understand why major reform of the tracking system is politically unlikely and this form of inequality is likely to continue.

Goal Assessment(s):

  1. By working in small groups, students will create a short speech that represents their role’s perspective. By listening to the different speeches delivered, students will understand how perspectives differ.
  2. Through in-class discussion and listening to the speeches delivered, students will hear and debate how the current system provides advantages to some students over others (with optional post-class quiz).
  3. Through in-class discussion and hearing the committee’s decision, students will hear and debate why major reform is unlikely to occur to the tracking system due to political constraints (with optional post-class quiz).

When using resources from TRAILS, please include a clear and legible citation.

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