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Trust Me on This

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Successful completion of Algebra I is essential for all students in the United States, and is a high-stakes, gatekeeper course. However, a substantial proportion of students from marginalized groups do not gain access to Algebra I until much later in their academic careers than their middle-class, White, English-speaking, fully able peers. This is not only an issue of tracking individual students, but is also indicative of a more profound, institutionalized set of practices. Using a purposive sample, this research highlights the ways middle school mathematics teachers make tracking and student-placement decisions. Teachers in this qualitative research (n=10) reported a heavy reliance on their own omniscience.



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