Curriculum Differentiation

Interpretive Studies in U. S. Secondary Schools

Edited by Reba Page & Linda Valli

Subjects: Education
Series: SUNY series, Frontiers in Education
Paperback : 9780791404706, 261 pages, November 1990
Hardcover : 9780791404690, 261 pages, December 1990

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Table of contents

1. Curriculum Differentiation: An Introduction

Reba Page and Linda Valli

2. A "Relevant" Lesson: Defining the Lower-Track Student

Reba Page

3. A Curriculum of Effort: Tracking Students in a Catholic High School

Linda Valli

4. The College-Preparatory Curriculum Across Schools: Access to Similar Learning Opportunities?

Susan Hanson

5. Real Teaching: How High School Teachers Negotiate Societal, Local Community, and Student Pressures When They Define Their Work

Annette Hemmings and Mary Haywood Metz

6. Curriculum Differentiation as Social Redemption: The Case of School-Aged Mothers

Nancy Lesko

7. Refugee Students' Perceptions of Curriculum Differentiation

Beth L. Goldstein

8. Following the Right Track: A Comparison of Tracking Practices in Public and Catholic Schools

Margaret Camarena

9. Modifying Values and Behaviors About Tracking: A Case Study

Carolyn Anderson and Rebecca Barr

10. Organizational Meanings of Curriculum Differentiation Practices

Nancy M. Sanders

11. Curriculum Differentiation: A Conclusion

Reba Page and Linda Valli




Sharing methods and orientations of the interpretive paradigm, the contributors to this book sharpen our understanding of the school's differentiating function. They analyze issues and clarify persistent contradictions in traditional studies of curriculum differentiation and tracking by examining schools and classrooms and describing the processes and contexts in which curriculum differentiation produces both its intended and unintended effects.

Curriculum Differentiation focuses on student's creation of meaning from differentiated classroom ecperiences. It studies lower-track students, analyzes the experiences of students in alternative programs, and contrasts the experiences of honor students in two different schools. It also offers teachers' perspectives, and analyzes curriculum differentiation from a district or system perspective.

The authors challenge notions that curriculum differentiation is a neutral, necessary response to individual differences, or that it has an adverse impact on students. Professional educators interested in understanding and improving the means by which high schools carry out the nearly impossible mandate of equitably distributing "humanized" knowledge while accommodating diversity will find this book an important resource.

Reba Page is Assistant Professor in the School of Education at the University of California, Riverside. Linda Valli is Associate Professor in the Department of Education at Catholic University, Washington, D. C.


"It's a refreshing, qualitative discussion. I had difficulty putting it down. " — Kofi Lomotey, State University of New York, Buffalo