Undergraduate Honors Thesis
Tracking in Public Education: Does tracking in high school affect comfort levels in college courses? Public Deposited
Background. Students entering college are often evaluated on a standardized platform which can negate their diverse high school experiences and thus affect their understanding of college courses and processes. This creates an invisible gap between students from high tracks, such as Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and students from common core programs or schools where advanced curriculums are not available. Without acknowledgement of this diversity in high school experiences, it can be easy to see certain students as seem quiet, disengaged, or careless towards their education, more specifically college courses. However, these students have not been exposed to the same types of interactions with professors and peers as those in focused and advanced groups or courses.
Aim. Explore the impacts of academic grouping in high school on students’ comfort levels in their college courses.
Sample. The analyzed sample is comprised of 30 subjects from CU Boulder and are from a variety of backgrounds. All students surveyed for this sample were anonymous.
Method. Subjects were provided with a 10-minute survey including questions about their demographics, their high school courses, and their experiences with their college courses.
Results and conclusions. Students who did not take AP or Honors courses showed greater discomfort in their college courses. They scored lower in most sections of academic and student identity and expressed more negative sentiments than students who had been in higher tracks in high school. While the differences in discomfort may seem smaller between Honors and non-Honors students, the difference is significant for one’s college experience.
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