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Tracking is the organizational practice of assigning students to homogeneous groups based upon perceived ability or some other demonstrable context (e.g., gender, socioeconomic status). Initially, students were assigned to tracks that were vocational, general, or academic in nature. Track placements provided preparation for post-secondary training or employment. However, tracking practices evolved to more curricular assignments resulting in remedial/basic, regular, and advanced/honor course tracks within content areas such as math, science, or social studies. The remedial track is roughly equivalent to the vocational track and the academic track is roughly equivalent to the advanced/honor track.

Researchers have found similar tracking groups used in schools of other nations as well. For example, in Switzerland tracking placements are called Realschule, Sekundarschule, and Gymnasium, with these tracks being equivalent to the United States (U.S.) academic tracks basic/remedial,