Freshman Curriculum Restructuring

Equity & Excellence through Access for All

UPDATE On Feb. 27, 2020, the administration and Faculty Senate presented this joint statement to the Board of Education: 

"The OPRF administration and the Faculty Senate are jointly committed to the district’s plan to address the racial predictability of our freshman enrollment patterns and performance outcomes. We have been working together to ensure that the majority of our freshman students experience one high-level, rigorous curriculum in English, history, science, and world languages; we are also making curricular adjustments in math. Over the past several months, we have started developing the new curriculum, identifying professional development needs, and establishing support structures to ensure that all students benefit from this shift. In the course of the process, one thing has become clear: in order to carry out our plan with fidelity, the implementation date must be shifted to the fall of 2022. This adjusted timeline will realistically enable us to provide our students with the level of educational experience that they deserve.  We look forward to continuing our collaboration to ensure that Oak Park and River Forest High School provides those things that are best for all students."

The priorities of the district’s strategic plan include increasing access to rigorous curriculum and eliminating race, socioeconomic status, and other social factors as predictors of student success.  In 2022-2023 (originally planned to be 2021-2022), to increase access to honors level coursework for all students, the high school plans to switch to a single curriculum for freshman English, science, history, and world languagesAll students in these classes will have the opportunity to earn honors credit.

Frequently Asked Questions

To see answers to additional questions asked at our four community meetings, click here.

Info from Community Meetings

September 18, 2019

  • Click here to download a PDF of the presentation.

  • Click here to view the video of the Sept. 18, 2019, presentation.

October 2, 3 & 9, 2019

  • Click here to download a PDF of the presentation, which contains some revisions for clarity.

  • Click here to view the video of the Oct. 9, 2019, presentation.

Resources

"Accelerating Mathematics Achievement Using Heterogeneous Grouping," by Carol Corbett Burris, Jay P. Heubert, and Henry M. Levin, American Educational Research Journal, Spring 2006. Longitudinal study on providing accelerated mathematics curriculum to all 8th graders in a diverse suburban school district. Performance of high-achieving students showed no statistical difference when compared to their previous homogeneously grouped classes. Additionally, scores on placement and Advanced Placement tests improved over time.

"Accountability, Rigor, and Detracking: Achievement Effects of Embracing a Challenging Curriculum as a Universal Good for All Students," by Carol Corbett Burris, Teachers College Record, March 2008.

"Alternative Approaches to the Politics of Detracking," by Kevin Welner and Carol Corbett Burris, Theory Into Practice, Winter 2006

“Choosing Tracks: ‘Freedom of Choice’ in Detracking Schools,” by Susan Yonezawa, Amy Stuart Wells, and Irene Serna, American Educational Research Journal, Spring 2002. 

“Detracked--and Going Strong,” by Peter Bavis, Phi Delta Kappan, Nov. 28, 2016. Highlights detracking Evanston Township High School. Positive outcomes include noticeable gain on ACT scores across all demographic groups. 

"Detracking: The Social Construction of Ability, Cultural Politics, and Resistance to Reform," by Jeannie Oakes, Amy Stuart Wells, Makeba Jones, and Amanda Datnow, Teachers College Record, Spring 1997. 

"Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences-in-Differences Evidence Across Countries," by Eric A. Hanushek and Ludger Wößmann, National Bureau of Economic Research, February 2005. Analysis of different tracking arrangements in 20 international institutions. Results suggest tracking is linked to lower overall performance and increase in inequity. 

"Four Decades of Research on the Effects of Detracking Reform: Where Do We Stand? A Systematic Review of the Evidence," by Ning Rui, Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine, 2009. Meta-analysis of 15 studies found that detracking consistently demonstrated positive effects on low-ability achievement with no measureable effects on average- to high-ability student achievement.

"Honoring All Learners: The Case for Embedded Honors in Heterogeneous English Language Arts Classrooms," by David Nurenberg, English Education, October 2016. 

“Matchmaking: The Dynamics of High School Tracking,” by Jeannie Oakes and Gretchen Guiton, American Educational Research Journal, Spring 1995. Cornerstone article in detracking literature. Three-year longitudinal study of detracking in 10 racially and socio-economically diverse high schools. Found that detracking efforts confront and should attend to assumptions about power, control, and legitimacy in schools that manifest in how students are viewed as learners.   

“Readiness for College: The Role of Noncognitive Factors and Context,” by Jenny Nagaoka, Camille A. Farrington, Melissa Roderick, Elaine Allensworth, Tasha Seneca Keyes, David W. Johnson, and Nicole O. Beechum, VUE, Fall 2013. 

"Sustained Inquiry in Education: Lessons from Skill Grouping and Class Size," by Frederick Mosteller, Richard J. Light, and Jason A. Sachs, Harvard Educational Review, Winter 1996. Analysis of literature found lack of available evidence to support current form of tracking in U.S. schools.

"Tracking Detracking: Sorthing through the Dilemmas and Possibilities of Detracking in Practice," by Beth C. Rubin and Pedro A. Noguera, Equity & Excellence in Education, 2004.

"Whole-School Detracking: A Strategy for Equity and Excellence," by Doris Alvarez and Hugh Mehan, Theory Into Practice, Winter 2006.