Wisdom in Education


Teachers’ beliefs, critical race theory, tracking, ability grouping


This study focused on secondary school mathematics teachers’ beliefs about tracking (ability grouping across classes) and ability grouping within classes and their perceived effects on student achievement, student affects and behaviors, and instruction. Case study methodology was employed, and semi-structured interviews conducted with a purposive sample of six teachers from two schools in a city within the southeastern United States. Three teachers worked in a school that predominantly tracks their students while the other three teachers worked in a school that mixes their students by ability across classes. Data from this study are consistent with social inequities reported in tracking research and the institutional racism posited by critical race theory. This study raised several questions on the relationship between tracking and racial segregation and on the relationship between teachers’ beliefs and student collaboration in the classroom.

Author Statement

Andrew J. Hughes (andrew.hughes@csusb.edu) is Associate Professor in Education, specifically Career and Technical Education Program at California State University San Bernardino. Andrew's research interests lie in empowering students with STEM experiences that improve their habits of mind, knowledge, and practices related STEM disciplines. Andrew also studies metacognition and how teachers' and students' knowledge and regulation of their thinking impacts their teaching and learning.