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Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences-in-Differences Evidence across Countries

  • Eric A. Hanushek
  • Ludger Woessmann

Even though some countries track students into differing-ability schools by age 10, others keep their entire secondary-school system comprehensive. To estimate the effects of such institutional differences in the face of country heterogeneity, we employ an international differences-in-differences approach. We identify tracking effects by comparing differences in outcome between primary and secondary school across tracked and non-tracked systems. Six international student assessments provide eight pairs of achievement contrasts for between 18 and 26 cross-country comparisons. The results suggest that early tracking increases educational inequality. While less clear, there is also a tendency for early tracking to reduce mean performance. Therefore, there does not appear to be any equity-efficiency trade-off.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2005/wp-cesifo-2005-02/cesifo1_wp1415.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1415.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1415
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  1. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803, August.
  2. Eric A. Hanushek, 2002. "The Failure of Input-based Schooling Policies," NBER Working Papers 9040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David N. Figlio & Marianne E. Page, 2000. "School Choice and the Distributional Effects of Ability Tracking: Does Separation Increase Equality?," NBER Working Papers 8055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dennis Epple & Elizabeth Newlon & Richard Romano, 2000. "Ability Tracking, School Competition, and the Distribution of Educational Benefits," NBER Working Papers 7854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2004. "Educational reform, ability and family background," IFS Working Papers W04/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Dobbelsteen, Simone & Levin, Jesse & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 2002. " The Causal Effect of Class Size on Scholastic Achievement: Distinguishing the Pure Class Size Effect from the Effect of Changes in Class Composition," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(1), pages 17-38, February.
  7. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 2000. "The Returns to the Quantity and Quality of Education: Evidence for Men in England and Wales," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 67(265), pages 19-35, February.
  8. Giorgio Brunello & Massimo Giannini, 2004. "Stratified or Comprehensive? The Economic Efficiency of School Design," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(2), pages 173-193, 05.
  9. Volker Meier, 2004. "Choosing between School Systems: The Risk of Failure," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 60(1), pages 83-, April.
  10. Lorraine Dearden & Javier Ferri & Costas Meghir, 1998. "The effect of school quality on educational attainment and wages," IFS Working Papers W98/03, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  11. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Jacob M. Markman & Steven G. Rivkin, 2001. "Does Peer Ability Affect Student Achievement?," NBER Working Papers 8502, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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