March 5, 2009

The effect of early tracking on participation in higher education

Potential self-selection problems are addressed in two ways. First of all, using micro data allows us to control for a large set of individual background characteristics including tests of cognitive ability. Second, we exploit differences in regional supply of particular school types.

The estimates show that early tracking has a detrimental effect on enrollment in and completion of higher education for pupils who leave primary education with a mavo advice. In addition, we find no evidence that pupils who leave primary education with a higher general secondary education (‘havo’) advice would be negatively affected by being in a comprehensive class together with the mavo advice pupils.

Enrollment in and completion of higher education can be increased by stimulating participation in combined first-grade classes that keep pupils with a mavo or havo advice together for an additional one or two years.

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