NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

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

Eric A. Hanushek, Ludger Woessmann

NBER Working Paper No. 11124
Issued in February 2005
NBER Program(s):   CH   ED

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11124

Published: Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Wössmann, 2006. "Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences- in-Differences Evidence Across Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages C63-C76, 03. citation courtesy of

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