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How can we bolster the academic success of low achieving students and provide a more egalitarian classroom setting? This book describes the process of 'untracking', an educational reform effort that has prepared students from low income, linguistic, and ethnic minority backgrounds for college. Untracking offers all students the same academically-demanding curriculum while varying the amount of institutional support they receive. Helpful institutional 'scaffolds' teach the hidden curriculum of the school, allowing students to develop an academic identity and build bridges between high school and college. There have been many plans and attempts to reform schools, but few detailed investigations of such efforts. This book is a highly readable account of a successful school reform effort. It provides systematic research results concerning the educational and social consequences of untracking previously low achieving students.
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Table of Contents

1. Does untracking work?; 2. The influence of background characteristics on college enrollment; 3. The social scaffolding supporting academic placement; 4. Organizational processes influencing untracking; 5. Peer group influences supporting untracking; 6. Parents' contributions to untracked students' careers; 7. Conclusions and implications.

Reviews

"This book is invaluable for its identification of the fact that we require fundamental change in school sorting practices..." Ellen Weber, Journal of Educational Thought "The book offers eloquent theory...Constructing School Success remains an important book for those interested in school reform and social stratification literatures...The book is eloquent, and raises some provocative and important theoretical points. Educators, researchers, and graduate students interested in schools' potential to generate social and cultural capital, to modify structural constraints, and to facilitate the type of social agency that can propel disadvantaged youth to success should read this book." Stephen B. Plank and Nancy L. Karweit, Contemporary Sociology

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