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In favour of a multi-method approach to differentiation-polarization theory-building: a response to Abraham

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This response to the comment of Abraham on Van Houtte's study within the differentiation-polarization tradition discusses the difference between her quantitative study and the ethnographic tradition. The quantification of the polarization part of the theory - the anti-school culture - makes it possible to merge the differentiation-polarization tradition with the research examining the consequences of educational stratification on students' achievement. This is presented as the major contribution of Van Houtte's research. In addition, the study strengthens the findings of the case-study approach and consolidates the differentiation-polarization theory. The complementarity of both approaches - large-scale multi-site and case-study - is stressed.

Keywords: Belgium; ability grouping; pupil culture; research synthesis; school cultures; teacher cultures; tracking systems

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-10-01

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