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School Tracking and Development of Cognitive Skills

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  • Sari Pekkala Kerr
  • Tuomas Pekkarinen
  • Roope Uusitalo

Abstract

We evaluate the effects of the school system on mathematical, verbal, and logical reasoning skills using data from the Finnish comprehensive school reform that abolished the two-track school system. We use a difference-in-differences approach that exploits the gradual implementation across the country. Cognitive skills are measured using test scores from the Finnish Army Basic Skills Test. The reform had small positive effects on verbal test scores but no effect on the mean performance in the arithmetic or logical reasoning tests. However, the reform significantly improved the scores of the students whose parents had less than a high school education.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/669493
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 31 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 577 - 602

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/669493

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  1. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "Why the Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 437-449, March.
  2. Fernando Galindo-Rueda & Anna Vignoles, 2005. "The Heterogeneous Effect of Selection in Secondary Schools: Understanding the Changing Role of Ability," CEE Discussion Papers 0052, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  3. Giorgio Brunello & Daniele Checchi, 2007. "Does school tracking affect equality of opportunity? New international evidence," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 22, pages 781-861, October.
  4. Holmlund, Helena, 2006. "Intergenerational Mobility and Assortative Mating. Effects of an Educational Reform," Working Paper Series 4/2006, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  5. Aakvik, Arild & Salvanes, Kjell G. & Vaage, Kjell, 2003. "Measuring Heterogeneity in the Returns to Education in Norway Using Educational Reforms," IZA Discussion Papers 815, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2004. "Educational reform, ability and family background," IFS Working Papers W04/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  7. Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & Michael Kremer, 2011. "Peer Effects, Teacher Incentives, and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1739-74, August.
  8. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Manning, Alan & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2006. "Comprehensive versus Selective Schooling in England in Wales: What Do We Know?," IZA Discussion Papers 2072, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Pekkarinen, Tuomas & Uusitalo, Roope & Pekkala, Sari, 2006. "Education Policy and Intergenerational Income Mobility: Evidence from the Finnish Comprehensive School Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 2204, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Duflo, Esther & Dupas, Pascaline & Kremer, Michael, 2008. "Peer Effects and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya," CEPR Discussion Papers 7043, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Brunello, Giorgio & Giannini, Massimo & Ariga, Kenn, 2004. "The Optimal Timing of School Tracking," IZA Discussion Papers 995, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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