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The effect of early tracking on participation in higher education

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  • Roel van Elk

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  • Marc van der Steeg

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  • Dinand Webbink

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    Abstract

    This paper examines the impact of early tracking on enrollment in and completion of higher education. We compare pupils that are directly tracked in lower general secondary education (‘mavo’) to pupils that postpone their choice of education level by entering secondary education in a combined first-grade class. Potential self-selection problems are addressed in two ways. First of all, using micro data allows us to control for a large set of individual background characteristics including tests of cognitive ability. Second, we exploit differences in regional supply of particular school types. The estimates show that early tracking has a detrimental effect on enrollment in and completion of higher education for pupils who leave primary education with a mavo advice. In addition, we find no evidence that pupils who leave primary education with a higher general secondary education (‘havo’) advice would be negatively affected by being in a comprehensive class together with the mavo advice pupils. Enrollment in and completion of higher education can be increased by stimulating participation in combined first-grade classes that keep pupils with a mavo or havo advice together for an additional one or two years.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis in its series CPB Document with number 182.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:cpb:docmnt:182

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    1. Giorgio Brunello & Massimo Giannini, 2001. "Stratified or Comprehensive? The Economic Efficiency of School Design," CESifo Working Paper Series 453, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. 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.
    3. Joshua D. Angrist, 2003. "Treatment Effect Heterogeneity in Theory and Practice," NBER Working Papers 9708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Ariga, Kenn & Brunello, Giorgio, 2007. "Does Secondary School Tracking Affect Performance? Evidence from IALS," IZA Discussion Papers 2643, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Laura M. Argys & Daniel I. Rees & Dominic J. Brewer, 1996. "Detracking America's schools: Equity at zero cost?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 623-645.
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