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"I wish I knew ..." - Misperceived Ability, School Track Counseling Services and Performances in Upper Secondary Education

  • Bernardi, Martino

    ()

    (Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli)

  • Bratti, Massimiliano

    ()

    (University of Milan)

  • De Simone, Gianfranco

    ()

    (Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli)

Previous research shows that, in tracked school systems, enrollment decisions are strongly associated with future outcomes both in education and on the labour market. Yet few studies explicitly investigate whether students (and their parents) have all the relevant information they need to make proper decisions. We address this issue by exploiting the data collected within the Arianna Project, an independent school track counseling service run by the municipality of a large city in Northern Italy (Turin). Virtually all students in the final year of lower secondary education participate into the program and they receive advices based on standardized cognitive and non-cognitive tests. Our dataset is uniquely enriched by information on students' pre-test enrollment intentions, their final track choices and their performances in the upper secondary school. We show that students' enrollment intentions are very often inconsistent with their actual potential as revealed by Arianna. However, students (and their parents) are likely to revise their initial choice when new information on their true abilities is made available to them. Moreover, we find that students who eventually make track choices in line with Arianna's suggestions are less likely to be retained in the first year of the upper secondary education.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7940.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7940
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  1. Checchi, Daniele & Fiorio, Carlo V. & Leonardi, Marco, 2013. "Intergenerational persistence of educational attainment in Italy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 229-232.
  2. Giorgio Brunello & Daniele Checchi, 2007. "Does school tracking affect equality of opportunity? New international evidence," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 22, pages 781-861, October.
  3. Lorenzo Cappellari & Claudio Lucifora, 2008. "The "Bologna Process" and College Enrolment Decisions," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Economia dell'Impresa e del Lavoro ieil0051, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
  4. Luca Flabbi & Daniele Checchi, 2007. "Intergenerational Mobility and Schooling Decisions in Germany and Italy: the Impact of Secondary School Tracks," Working Papers gueconwpa~07-07-08, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  5. Cinnirella, Francesco & Piopiunik, Marc & Winter, Joachim, 2011. "Why does height matter for educational attainment? Evidence from German children," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 407-418.
  6. Christian Dustmann, 2004. "Parental background, secondary school track choice, and wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 209-230, April.
  7. Gianfranco DE SIMONE, 2012. "Render unto primary the things which are primary's. Inherited and fresh learning divides in Italian lower secondary education," Departmental Working Papers 2012-14, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
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