Does tracking students into a two-year environmental science program create a roadblock for college preparation?

This project analyzes the effectiveness of the science programs offered by three comprehensive high schools in the Escondido Union High School District (EHUSD) in preparing their large Hispanic populations for college. Two of the high schools track many Hispanic students into a two year less rigorous Environmental Science course that only fulfills one year of elective credit (G requirement) for UC/CSU college preparation. Rarely do these students continue on to take college preparatory science, thus limiting their continuing education and career options. Archival data on the enrollment and successful completion of students in three levels of science offerings at all three high schools over a four-year period (1998-2002) was examined. The student data was categorized by ethnicity and by membership in Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). Informal interviews of counselors, science teachers, and AVID coordinators provided student placement information. AVID data was included in the study because programs such as (AVID) support disadvantaged students taking college preparatory classes in high school. The findings of this study show that by eliminating tracking and supporting students in a strong AVID program, schools can increase the number of Hispanic students prepared for college.