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The Effect of Tracking Students by Ability into Different Schools: A Natural Experiment

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  • Nina Guyon
  • Eric Maurin
  • Sandra McNally

Abstract

The tracking of pupils by ability into elite and nonelite schools represents a controversial policy in many countries. There is no consensus on how large the elite track should be and little agreement on the effects of any further increase in its size. This paper presents a natural experiment where the increase in the size of the elite track was followed by a significant improvement in average educational outcomes. This experiment provides a rare opportunity to isolate the overall effect of allowing entry to the elite track for a group that was previously only at the margin of being admitted.

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  • Nina Guyon & Eric Maurin & Sandra McNally, 2012. "The Effect of Tracking Students by Ability into Different Schools: A Natural Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(3), pages 684-721.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:46:y:2012:iii:1:p:684-721
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    5. 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 1739-1774, August.
    6. Galindo-Rueda, Fernando & Vignoles, Anna, 2004. "The Heterogeneous Effect of Selection in Secondary Schools: Understanding the Changing Role of Ability," IZA Discussion Papers 1245, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2005. "Educational Reform, Ability, and Family Background," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 414-424, March.
    8. Marc Gurgand & Eric Maurin, 2006. "Démocratisation de l'enseignement secondaire et inégalités salariales en France," Post-Print halshs-00754130, HAL.
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    10. Figlio, David N. & Page, Marianne E., 2002. "School Choice and the Distributional Effects of Ability Tracking: Does Separation Increase Inequality?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 497-514, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Piopiunik, Marc, 2014. "The effects of early tracking on student performance: Evidence from a school reform in Bavaria," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 12-33.
    2. Martina Zweimuller, 2013. "The Effects of School Entry Laws on Educational Attainment and Starting Wages in an Early Tracking System," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 111-112, pages 141-169.
    3. Björklund, Anders & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2011. "Education and Family Background: Mechanisms and Policies," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    4. Burgess, Simon & Dickson, Matt & Macmillan, Lindsey, 2014. "Selective Schooling Systems Increase Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 8505, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Hart, Robert A. & Moro, Mirko, 2017. "Date of Birth and Selective Schooling," IZA Discussion Papers 10949, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Borooah, Vani K. & Knox, Colin, 2015. "Segregation, inequality, and educational performance in Northern Ireland: Problems and solutions," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 196-206.
    7. Michela Braga & Daniele Checchi & Elena Meschi, 2011. "GINI DP 22: Institutional Reforms and Educational Attainment in Europe," GINI Discussion Papers 22, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    8. Braga, Michela & Checchi, Daniele & Meschi, Elena, 2011. "Institutional Reforms and Educational Attainment in Europe: A Long Run Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 6190, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Machin, Stephen & Wyness, Gill & McNally, Sandra, 2013. "Education in a devolved Scotland: a quantitative analysis," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 57971, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Christian Dustmann & Patrick A. Puhani & Uta Schönberg, 2017. "The Long‐term Effects of Early Track Choice," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(603), pages 1348-1380, August.
    11. Clark, Damon & Del Bono, Emilia, 2014. "The Long-Run Effects of Attending an Elite School: Evidence from the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 8617, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. repec:spr:jopoec:v:30:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s00148-017-0643-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Tommaso Agasisti & Pablo Zoido, 2015. "The Efficiency of Secondary Schools in an International Perspective: Preliminary Results from PISA 2012," OECD Education Working Papers 117, OECD Publishing.

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    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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