Because of something called "tracking," which many schools do, Emily explains that she would not have received the opportunity to take advanced classes.
Tracking is the term used to describe how schools group students based on their academic ability. Students who test well are placed on a higher track and in more challenging classes, while students who don't test as well are placed on a lower track and in classes where they often face lower expectations.
"Many families and their children are unaware that their academic future will be decided by a school official who will place them on a track," Davis says. "Lower tracks have lower expectations and often worse teachers, so students placed on lower tracks often find they are running fast but falling behind."
"I'm very smart and intellectual, but I don't test well," Emily says. "If I had gone to my neighborhood school, I would have been put in the low classes. I'd be on the road to failure."
Now, Emily is at Summit Prep, a charter school that does not track its students or group them based on academic ability.