Curricular Differentiation and Its Impact on Different Status Groups Including Immigrants and Students with Disabilities

  • Jamie M. CarrollEmail author
  • Chandra Muller
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


Schools organize students’ learning through informal and formal curricular differentiation, which refers to systematic differences in the experiences, processes, and exposure of curricular content. Research has long found that students have unequal access to learning opportunities based on status group factors, and that these inequalities lead to gaps in educational, occupational, and health outcomes. This chapter outlines the history of curricular differentiation in U.S. schools, key findings on disparities in course-taking by race/ethnicity, family background, gender, disability status and immigrant status, and the effects of curricular differentiation on school and non-school outcomes. We additionally note measurement issues within curriculum research and implications for policy, practice, and social inequality.


Tracking Hidden curriculum Inequality Opportunity to learn 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TexasAustinUSA

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