Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education, Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Jeffrey Kuzmic, PhD

Second Advisor

Horace Hall, PhD

Third Advisor

Stephen Haymes, PhD


Academic placement in high school classes is an important decision that can have long-term effects on student success. Research indicates that students most often remain in high or low tracks year after year. However, the precision of placements relative to real achievement disparities in the grouping of students into homogenous groups remains a petulant area of debate. Many scholars consider placement judgments to be dubious, marginal, or incorrect in terms of performance gaps, notwithstanding the assumption that these placements are deemed accurate in representing a student's academic ability. Researchers argue that the process of comparing, sorting, and classifying students has not ceased to exist in the United States but moved to the sidelines. Nonetheless, a recent revival of scholarly discussion indicates that tracking continues to flourish. Following the inception of No Child Left Behind, I analyzed interviews from eight (8) college students involved in high and low-track courses while in high school. The study aimed to look at their perspectives in tracked classes in the context of scholarly and historical studies. Qualitative analysis was selected as the methodology to provide a deeper understanding of the human experience. The theoretical framework utilized for this research inquiry is critical race theory (CRT) and included for two primary reasons; the current and past role that race has played in the schooling of Black students and its ability to assess the effect of racism in schools. The findings suggest that the participants unanimously concluded that tracking created a negative experience under the auspices of No Child Left Behind, which failed to meet its commitment to provide equal access to a rigorous curriculum for college readiness.