Tracking Move Doubted

Parents of students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School expressed mixed reactions to a city task force's recommendation to eliminate grouping students according to their ability, according to the parent liaison for the school.

Parents are primarily concerned about how the proposed change--one of four recommendations made on Monday by the Task Force on the Potential of Students--will affect their children.

"Parents with top-level students occasionally have concerns that the student won't be challenged enough," said Joanne Ackman, the parent liaison for Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. "But there is also some concern that in a mixed ability grouping setting that students of lower abilities will be overwhelmed."

But Ackman said parents have generally been supportive of the proposal because they are already used to mixed ability groupings in certain classes.

"The school philosophy encompasses mixed ability groupings's very appropriate for our high school because we serve such a wide spectrum of students," said Ackman.


"I believe it's a good idea because tracking only separates the smarter from the slower children and separates the children involved in special education," said Robin A. Harris, a former student at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and a current candidate for School Committee.

But those who oppose the elimination of tracking say grouping students of different abilities hurts a school's learning environment.

"I came from a private school and we were all put in the same class no matter what skill level," said Lisa Metzger, a student at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.

"It was hard for me when I had to wait [for] other people to understand [the class material]," Metzger said.

"I think that the elimination impedes our ability to follow the performance of our students," said Salvatore E. Framondi, another School Committee candidate who attended Cambridge public schools.

The superintendent of schools will review the task force recommendations and report on them before the school committee on November 9.