Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department


Reader 1

Jennifer Ma

Reader 2

Norma Rodriguez

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© 2018 Elizabeth E Galvan


In spite of efforts to improve diversity among the United States’ top tier colleges and universities, first-generation students of color continue to be largely underrepresented, one of the factors significantly contributing to this reality is the use of tracking in high schools. Even given the substantial research highlighting the ineffectiveness of ability grouping, the practice continues to be utilized in the majority of U.S. high schools. The findings of past studies reveal higher-track classes provide students with academic advantage while lower-track classes are noted by students’ lower consequent achievement. Attention to the makeup of low and high tracked classes further reveals the reason behind this difference in achievement may lay in that higher-track classes provide students with greater expectations, rigor and support to meet those expectations, and such belief and support likely breeds greater self-efficacy and therefore greater motivation in students. Thus, in order to provide this same uplifting environment to all students, detracking is posed as an alternative. This correlational survey study is intended to examine the effects of high and low educational tracks versus detracking upon the academic achievement of first-generation 9th grade students of color with a particular consideration of the mediating effects of self-efficacy and academic motivation. Student participants will be recruited from the Chaffey Joint Union High School district, completing a self-efficacy survey and an academic motivation survey once during the third week of the school year, and once again during the last week of the academic year. It is expected that the data will demonstrate a significant relationship between track and academic achievement such that those students enrolled in the lowest tracks will demonstrate the lowest achievement whilst no difference will be found in the achievement attained in the higher tracks versus the detracked curriculum. Furthermore, both self-efficacy and academic motivation are expected to mediate this relationship.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.