Mixing Versus Sorting in Schooling: Evidence from the Equalization Policy in South Korea

32 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2004

See all articles by Taejong Kim

Taejong Kim

KDI School of Public Policy and Management

Ju-Ho Lee

KDI School of Public Policy and Management

Young Lee

Hanyang University

Date Written: September 2003

Abstract

This paper examines the effects of sorting and mixing on academic performance of high school students in South Korea. The Korean government has vigorously promoted mixing for more than three decades, replacing competitive entrance examinations at individual schools by a lottery-based enrollment system. As a result, about half of high schools (grades 10 to 12) as well as all middle schools (grades 7 to 9) are subject to what is locally known as the Equalization Policy (EP), and passively accept students randomly assigned. In contrast, outside the designated EP areas, students are sorted with stratification along ability among schools. This paper employs the difference-in-differences empirical strategy to analyze the newly available data from the Korean National Assessment of Educational Achievement. Two main results emerge. First, sorting raises test scores of students outside the EP areas by roughly 0.3 standard deviations, relative to mixing. Second, more surprisingly, quantile regression results reveal that sorting benefits students across the ability distribution.

Keywords: public education, sorting, mixing, peer effect, South Korea.

JEL Classification: H4, I0, I2

Suggested Citation

Kim, Taejong and Lee, Ju-Ho and Lee, Young, Mixing Versus Sorting in Schooling: Evidence from the Equalization Policy in South Korea (September 2003). KDI Working Paper No. 03-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=482962 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.482962

Taejong Kim (Contact Author)

KDI School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

P.O. Box 184
Seoul, 130-868
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Ju-Ho Lee

KDI School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

P.O. Box 184
Seoul, 130-868
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)
+82 2 3299 1016 (Phone)

Young Lee

Hanyang University ( email )

Seoul
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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