The other side of the tracks: How academic streaming impacts student relationships
Keywords:tracking, academic streaming, social identity theory
While the inequitable academic impacts of curricular tracking are well understood, less attention has been paid to its social impacts. Utilizing focus groups and in-depth interviews with students and parents in a low-income neighbourhood in Toronto, Canada, this paper uses social identity theory to explore how tracking impacts the nature of relationships between students in different tracks. Findings include that tracking contributed to widening social divides between students, working to replicate and reinforce social stratification, with negative consequences falling most heavily on those assigned to lower tracks. Students formed friendships primarily with same-track peers, while negative stereotyping and bullying across tracks was common. Tracking also increased racial divisions, which led to geographic segregation and schools becoming a racially divided space.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Sachin Maharaj, Sana Zareey
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