TEACHERS' ATTITUDES TOWARDS EARLY TRACKING AND THEIR EXPERIENCES WITH PUPIL'S TRANSITION TO SELECTIVE 'MULTI-YEAR GRAMMAR SCHOOL' (Postoje ucitelu k casnemu rozdelovani zaku a jejich zkusenosti s prechodem zaku do viceletych gymnazii)
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Early selection has been re-introduced in the Czech education system during the first years of post-socialist transformation after 1989. The same development may be observed in other countries in the region, namely in Hungary and Slovakia (earlier part of Czechoslovakia), during the re-unification of two Germanies also in 'East Germany' early tracking has been re-introduced and in Austria it has a long tradition with no interruption. Early between-school tracking as it is practiced in the Central European region already at the stage of lower-secondary education has been subject to criticism (international as well as national) and some alternative reform plans have been formulated. Nevertheless, for understanding tracking phenomena in the region we shall look at it as a result of following parent's demands and decentralization of education followed by widening school autonomy. For this reason, understanding the attitudes of different stakeholders towards early tracking is condicio sine qua non to understand this phenomenon and/or to plan further reforms. In this paper, the authors briefly present development of early tracking in the region, review the literature on the effects of early tracking on student achievement and inequality (mainly based on research from USA and England) and they also review the research till date in the region and particularly stress the research on attitudes of different stakeholders towards tracking. The main part of the text however presents results from qualitative research based on in-depth interviews with 10 teachers (5 teachers teaching in 5th grade 'basic school' and 5 teachers teaching the 6th graders at selective 'multi-year grammar school'). The analysis stress the teacher attitudes towards early tracking, their evaluations of (dis)advantages of 'multi-year grammar school', their attitudes towards and their experiences with pupils transitions to these selective schools. The testimonies of teachers from 'basic school' and selective 'multi-year grammar school' are put into contrast, where this is useful.
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