Promoting Student Collaboration in a Detracked, Heterogeneous Secondary Mathematics Classroom

Megan E. Staples, University of Connecticut - Storrs

Document Type Article

The original publication is available at The full citation is as follows: Staples, M. E. (2008). Promoting student collaboration in a detracked, heterogeneous secondary mathematics classroom. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 11(5), 349-371. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, 2007 as part of the Tracking and Detracking SIG session Teaching, Learning, and Other Outcomes in Tracked and Detracked Environments.


Detracking and heterogeneous groupwork are two educational practices that have been shown to have promise for affording all students needed learning opportunities to develop mathematical proficiency. However, teachers face significant pedagogical challenges in organizing productive groupwork in these settings. This study offers an analysis of one teacher’s role in creating a classroom system that supported student collaboration within groups in a detracked, heterogeneous geometry classroom. The analysis focuses on four categories of the teacher’s work that created a set of affordances to support within group collaborative practices and links the teacher’s work with principles of complex systems.