Abstract

This article investigates how organizational features of high schools interact with students' ascriptive characteristics to shape opportunities to learn. It advances previous research by examining the intersection of students' gender-by-race cohort with their high schools' racial composition on their Grade 12 English track placement in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Using HLM with a sample of seniors, we find that school racial composition has significant effects on the track placement of different race-gender cohorts, and that schools' racial compositions interact with students' ascriptive characteristics in these processes. Net of prior achievement, track placements are influenced by individual and family characteristics, as well as school racial composition. Attending a racially imbalanced school affects students' chances of enrolling in college-prep tracks. Racially balanced high schools offer all students the greatest equality of access to college prep tracks.

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