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$\sqrt{12}$ annualizes monthly deviations. But I don't understand why you measure tracking error with stdev. It should be $$ ATE = \sqrt{\frac{12}{36}\sum_{i=1}^{36}(r_{b,i}-r_{t,i})^2}$$ where $r_{b,i}$ is benchmark return for month $i$ and $r_{t,i}$ is tracking portfolio return for same period. So you shouldn't substract average error inside square.

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