Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences-in-Differences Evidence Across Countries

30 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2005

See all articles by Ludger Woessmann

Ludger Woessmann

Ifo Institute for Economic Research; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research

Eric A. Hanushek

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2005

Abstract

Even though some countries track students into differing-ability schools by age 10, others keep their entire secondary-school system comprehensive. To estimate the effects of such institutional differences in the face of country heterogeneity, we employ an international differences-in-differences approach. We identify tracking effects by comparing differences in outcome between primary and secondary school across tracked and non-tracked systems. Six international student assessments provide eight pairs of achievement contrasts for between 18 and 26 cross-country comparisons. The results suggest that early tracking increases educational inequality. While less clear, there is also a tendency for early tracking to reduce mean performance. Therefore, there does not appear to be any equity-efficiency trade-off.

Keywords: tracking, streaming, ability grouping, selectivity, comprehensive school system, educational performance, inequality, international student achievement test, TIMSS, PISA, PIRLS

JEL Classification: I2

Suggested Citation

Woessmann, Ludger and Hanushek, Eric A., Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences-in-Differences Evidence Across Countries (February 2005). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=668864 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.668864

Ludger Woessmann (Contact Author)

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Eric A. Hanushek

Stanford University - Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace ( email )

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