School Tracking and Development of Cognitive Skills

29 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2009

See all articles by Tuomas Pekkarinen

Tuomas Pekkarinen

Aalto University; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); VATT Institute for Economic Research

Roope Uusitalo

Uppsala University - Department of Economics; IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation; Government of the Republic of Finland - VATT Institute for Economic Research; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Sari Pekkala Kerr

Charles River Associates (CRA)

Abstract

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.

Keywords: education, school system, tracking, comprehensive school, test scores

JEL Classification: H52, I21

Suggested Citation

Pekkarinen, Tuomas and Uusitalo, Roope and Pekkala Kerr, Sari, School Tracking and Development of Cognitive Skills. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4058, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1369804

Tuomas Pekkarinen (Contact Author)

Aalto University ( email )

P.O. Box 21210
Helsinki, 00101
Finland

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

VATT Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Roope Uusitalo

Uppsala University - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 513
SE-75120 Uppsala
Sweden

IFAU - Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation

Box 513
751 20 Uppsala
Sweden

Government of the Republic of Finland - VATT Institute for Economic Research

Arkadiankatu 7
P.O Box 1279
Helsinki, FIN-00531
Finland

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Sari Pekkala Kerr

Charles River Associates (CRA) ( email )

1201 F. St. NW
Ste. 700
Washington, DC 20004
United States

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