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The Heterogeneous Effect of Selection in Secondary Schools: Understanding the Changing Role of Ability

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  • Fernando Galindo-Rueda
  • Anna Vignoles

Abstract

Previous work by the authors suggested that during the 1970s and 1980s, a person’s early cognitive ability became a less important determinant of his or her eventual educational achievement. Furthermore, over the same time period, family background started to have a greater impact on a person’s achievement. Given that this coincided with the gradual demise of the British selective grammar school system, it would seem that the role of selection (ability tracking) in the school system merits further investigation. This paper explores the inter-relationship between school selection, ability and educational achievement. Our regression and matching results indicate that the most able pupils in the selective school system did do better than those of similar ability in the mixed ability school system. We do not find evidence of significant negative effects of tracking for low/middle ability students.
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Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0052
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dearden, Lorraine & Machin, Stephen & Reed, Howard, 1997. "Intergenerational Mobility in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 47-66, January.
    2. 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.
    3. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2003. "Ability, parental background and educational policy: empirical evidence from a social experiment," IFS Working Papers W03/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    4. Fernando Galindo-Rueda & Anna Vignoles, 2005. "The Declining Relative Importance of Ability in Predicting Educational Attainment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    5. Lorraine Dearden & Javier Ferri & Costas Meghir, 2002. "The Effect Of School Quality On Educational Attainment And Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 1-20, February.
    6. Jo Blanden & Paul Gregg & Stephen Machin, 2003. "Changes in Educational Inequality," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/079, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    7. Roland Benabou & Francis Kramarz & Corinne Prost, 2003. "Zones d'Education Prioritaire : Quels moyens pour quels résultats ?," Working Papers 2003-38, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    8. Feinstein, Leon & Symons, James, 1999. "Attainment in Secondary School," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 300-321, April.
    9. Anne West & Hazel Pennell, 1997. "Educational Reform and School Choice in England and Wales," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 285-305.
    10. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1999. "Early Test Scores, Socioeconomic Status and Future Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 6943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Harmon, C.P. & Walker, I., 1997. "Selective Schooling, School Quality, and Labour Market Returns," Papers 97/22, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
    12. Dearden, Lorraine, 1999. "The effects of families and ability on men's education and earnings in Britain1," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 551-567, November.
    13. David Jesson, "undated". "The Comparative Evaluation of GCSE Value-Added Performance by Type of School and LEA," Discussion Papers 00/52, Department of Economics, University of York.
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    JEL classification:

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

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