This paper investigates whether the interaction between family background and secondary school tracking affects human capital accumulation. A widely shared opinion holds the view that more tracking reinforces the role of parental privilege, and thereby reduces equality of opportunities. This may occur due to several reasons, including peer effects (more talented students are gathered together), teachers sorting (bets teachers prefer to teach to best students), differences in curricula (academic oriented schools – like the German gymnasium, the French lycée, the British grammar school or the Italian liceo – teach abilities that increase the probability to enter colleges) and/or differences in resources endowment. Compared to the current literature, which focuses on early outcomes, such as test scores at 13 and 15 year old, we look at later outcomes, including literacy, dropout rates, college enrolment, employability and earnings. While we do confirm the common view that school tracking reinforces family background impact when looking at educational attainment and labour market outcomes, we do not confirm the same results when studying its impact on literacy and on the job training. Overall school tracking has a two-sided effect in our sample of countries. On the one side, and consistently with the previous literature, tracking has a detrimental impact on educational attainment, because it prevents some individuals from further progressing to the tertiary level of education (diversion effect). On the other side, the curricula offered in vocational schools seem more effective in promoting further training and adult competences (specialisation effect), thereby reducing the impact of parental background on these two outcomes. Thus reducing the extent of student tracking, either by raising the age of first selection or by reducing the number of tracks available, may reveal appropriate for increasing intergenerational mobility in educational attainment, but may increase social exclusion for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Does School Tracking Affect Equality of Opportunity ? New International Evidence / G. Brunello, D. Checchi. - In: ECONOMIC POLICY. - ISSN 0266-4658. - 2007:52(2007), pp. 781-861. [10.1111/j.1468-0327.2007.00189.x]

Does School Tracking Affect Equality of Opportunity ? New International Evidence

D. Checchi
Ultimo
2007

Abstract

This paper investigates whether the interaction between family background and secondary school tracking affects human capital accumulation. A widely shared opinion holds the view that more tracking reinforces the role of parental privilege, and thereby reduces equality of opportunities. This may occur due to several reasons, including peer effects (more talented students are gathered together), teachers sorting (bets teachers prefer to teach to best students), differences in curricula (academic oriented schools – like the German gymnasium, the French lycée, the British grammar school or the Italian liceo – teach abilities that increase the probability to enter colleges) and/or differences in resources endowment. Compared to the current literature, which focuses on early outcomes, such as test scores at 13 and 15 year old, we look at later outcomes, including literacy, dropout rates, college enrolment, employability and earnings. While we do confirm the common view that school tracking reinforces family background impact when looking at educational attainment and labour market outcomes, we do not confirm the same results when studying its impact on literacy and on the job training. Overall school tracking has a two-sided effect in our sample of countries. On the one side, and consistently with the previous literature, tracking has a detrimental impact on educational attainment, because it prevents some individuals from further progressing to the tertiary level of education (diversion effect). On the other side, the curricula offered in vocational schools seem more effective in promoting further training and adult competences (specialisation effect), thereby reducing the impact of parental background on these two outcomes. Thus reducing the extent of student tracking, either by raising the age of first selection or by reducing the number of tracks available, may reveal appropriate for increasing intergenerational mobility in educational attainment, but may increase social exclusion for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
school tracking ; intergenerational mobility
Settore SECS-P/01 - Economia Politica
2007
Article (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/38110
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