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School tracking and development of cognitive skills

  • Tuomas Pekkarinen
  • Roope Uusitalo
  • Sari Kerr

The Finnish comprehensive school reform replaced the old two-track school system with a uniform nine-year comprehensive school and significantly reduced the degree of heterogeneity in the Finnish primary and secondary education. We estimate the effect of this reform on the test scores in the Finnish Army Basic Skills test. The identification strategy relies on a differences-in-differences strategy and exploits the fact that the reform was implemented gradually across the country during a six-year period between 1972 and 1977. We find that the reform had a small positive effect on the verbal test scores but no effect on the mean performance in the arithmetic or logical reasoning tests. Still in all tests the reform improved the scores of students from families where parents had only basic education.

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Paper provided by Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT) in its series Working Papers with number 2.

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Date of creation: 30 Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fer:wpaper:2
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  1. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Wößmann, 2005. "Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences-in-Differences Evidence across Countries," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 1, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  2. Brunello, Giorgio & Giannini, Massimo & Ariga, Kenn, 2004. "The Optimal Timing of School Tracking," IZA Discussion Papers 995, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Manning, Alan & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2006. "Comprehensive versus Selective Schooling in England and Wales: What Do We Know?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5653, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Duflo, Esther & Dupas, Pascaline & Kremer, Michael, 2008. "Peer Effects, Teacher Incentives, and the Impact of Tracking: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Kenya," CEPR Discussion Papers 7043, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2003. "Why the Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 10066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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).
  7. Holmlund, Helena, 2006. "Intergenerational Mobility and Assortative Mating. Effects of an Educational Reform," Working Paper Series 4/2006, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  8. Pekkarinen, Tuomas & Pekkala, Sari & Uusitalo, Roope, 2006. "Educational policy and intergenerational income mobility: evidence from the Finnish comprehensive school reform," Working Paper Series 2006:13, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  9. Brunello, Giorgio & Checchi, Daniele, 2006. "Does School Tracking Affect Equality of Opportunity? New International Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2348, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2004. "Educational reform, ability and family background," IFS Working Papers W04/10, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  11. 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.
  12. 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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