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Academic achievement and tracking: A theory based on grading standards

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  • Ehlers, Tim
  • Schwager, Robert

Abstract

We present a theory explaining the impact of ability tracking on academic performance based on grading policies. Our model distinguishes between initial ability, which is mainly determined by parental background, and eagerness to extend knowledge. We show that achievements of low ability students may be higher in a comprehensive school system, even if there are no synergy effects from teaching different students together. This arises because the comprehensive school sets a compromise standard which exceeds the standard from the low ability track. Moreover, if students with lower initial ability have higher eagerness to learn, merging classes will increase average performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Ehlers, Tim & Schwager, Robert, 2016. "Academic achievement and tracking: A theory based on grading standards," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 289, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cegedp:289
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Arnott, Richard & Rowse, John, 1987. "Peer group effects and educational attainment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 287-305, April.
    2. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    ability tracking; comprehensive school; education; equality of opportunity; peer group effects;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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