The effect of early tracking on participation in higher education
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 (â€˜mavoâ€™) 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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