Age of tracking and the smoothness of upper secondary school transitions

TitreAge of tracking and the smoothness of upper secondary school transitions
Type de publicationJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuteursLatina, J, Ramirez, J
JournalUniversity of Geneva Working Papers
Volume2012
Pagination1-18
Place PublishedGeneva
Mots-cléseducation, relative educational quality, tracking, transitions, treatment effect
Résumé

Middle school tracking is a common feature of many counrties' school system. In this paper, we examine if a one-year delay in middle school tracking influences the probability of track changes at the upper secondary level, using panel data for Geneva (Switzerland) over the period 1993-2007. We tyke advantage of a natural experiment, whereby a group of middle schools tracked their students a year later than the rest of schools. Because of specific conditions, we argue that selection into treatment is independent of potential outcome and, therefore, use a regression design to identify the average treatment effect. Both linear probability and panel data models estimate a small but significant negative impact of delayed middle-school tracking on the smoothness of upper secondary school transitions. However, we find that this negative effect of a later tracking decreases with the level of performance. We explain this result as a by-product of the "big-fish-little-pond" effect.