Selection and tracking in secondary education; A cross country analysis of student performance and educational opportunities
This paper examines the effect of tracking in secondary school on student performance and educational opportunities, taking into account whether prior performance is considered when students are selected in the different tracks. The sample consists of data from the Programme for International Student Assessment 2009 for around 185,000 students in 31 comparable countries. The results are controlled for student- and school-level confounders. The results indicate that when tracking is implemented, it does not have a direct relation with performance. However, system and school interactions reveal that a highly differentiated system is best for student performance when schools always take into account prior performance to decide on student acceptance. In systems with a fewtracks, admission rules have less of an impact and tracking is only mildly associated with performance. Equality of opportunity is best provided for in a system with many tracks, especially when schools always consider entrance requirements. However, caution is warranted in interpreting these results since selection issues could play a role.
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