Two new studies found that gifted Black and Hispanic students flourish in separate honors classrooms, according to the Hechinger Report.
But the education method known as “tracking” is controversial. It involves pulling gifted students from regular classes and placing them in separate classrooms for high-achievers.
Opponents argue that tracking intensifies academic inequality. They say these programs divert resources—including the best teachers—to honors classes, which harms less gifted students. Tracking also segregates mostly White, Asian, and high-income students from their peers.
However, a study by David Card at the University of California, Berkeley, and Laura Giuliano at the University of Miami found that tracking narrowed the gap between high-IQ Blacks and Whites and between high-IQ Hispanics and Whites, according to Hechinger.
The authors wrote, via the Hechinger Report:
“We show that minority students have lower achievement scores than White students with the same cognitive ability, and that placement in a [gifted] class effectively closes this minority underachievement gap.”
The second study comes from the Brookings Institution. Tom Loveless, a researcher at the think tank, found that eighth-grade math tracking programs increased the number of advanced math students in high school—including Blacks and Hispanics.
Hechinger says these studies suggest that tracking could bring more Blacks and Hispanics into elite science and math circles.
SOURCE: Hechinger Report | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty