Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 271-294

First online:

Curriculum tracking and teacher expectations: evidence from discrepant course taking models

  • Sean KellyAffiliated withAdministrative and Policy Studies, University of Pittsburgh, 5902 Wesley W. Posvar Hall Email author 
  • , William CarbonaroAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, University of Notre Dame

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In an effort to understand teacher-student relationships much research has investigated how teacher expectations of student performance in the classroom affect achievement growth. However, little research has focused on how teacher expectations of students’ educational attainment are formed. In this paper, we examine how students’ high school track placements affect teacher expectations regarding students’ educational attainment in the NELS data. NELS is a large, nationally representative longitudinal study from the United States of the graduating class of 1992. We focus on students with discrepant track placements to determine how different teachers evaluate the same student. Overall, for the same student, teachers in high track classes have higher college expectations than teachers in lower track classrooms.


Tracking Teacher expectations Social categorization Within-student models