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School Tracking and Development of Cognitive Skills

  • Sari Pekkala Kerr
  • Tuomas Pekkarinen
  • Roope Uusitalo

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/pdfplus/10.1086/669493
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/669493
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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. Daniele Checchi & Giorgio Brunello, 2006. "Does School Tracking Affect Equality of Opportunity? New International Evidence," UNIMI - Research Papers in Economics, Business, and Statistics unimi-1044, Universitá degli Studi di Milano.
  2. 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).
  3. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2004. "Educational reform, ability and family background," IFS Working Papers W04/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Helena Holmlund, 2008. "Intergenerational Mobility and Assortative Mating: Effects of an Educational Reform," CEE Discussion Papers 0091, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  5. Brunello, Giorgio & Giannini, Massimo & Ariga, Kenn, 2004. "The Optimal Timing of School Tracking," IZA Discussion Papers 995, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. 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.
  7. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Alan Manning & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2006. "Comprehensive Versus Selective Schooling in England and Wales: What Do We Know?," CEE Discussion Papers 0066, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  10. Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & Michael Kremer, 2008. "Peer Effects, Teacher Incentives, and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya," NBER Working Papers 14475, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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).
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