LIFETRACK Publications

Upper secondary tracks and student competencies: A selection or a causal effect? Evidence from the Italian case

This piece of research examines whether Italian students’ choice of educational track has a causal effect on general skills in reading and mathematics. The research, which relies on a population-level longitudinal dataset, looks at the choices students make at age 14 between four tracks: classical and scientific studies, a general humanistic track, technical, and vocational … Read more

Explaining gender segregation in higher education: longitudinal evidence on the French case

This article asks why gender gaps persist in higher education even though women’s attainment is higher than men’s across the OECD, and even though gender gaps at work are narrowing. Women are still under-represented in subjects such as engineering and computing, and over-represented in human sciences and humanities. The article tests a number of theories … Read more

Does ability grouping affect UK primary school pupils’ enjoyment of Maths and English?

Authors: Vikki Boliver, Queralt Capsada-Munsech,
Issue: 2022
Themes:

This paper looks at how pupils’ enjoyment of the subjects they study is affected by the ability groups in which they are placed. Using data from the Millennium Cohort Study, which follows a sample of children born in the UK between 2000 and 2002, it finds those in a low ability group were less likely … Read more

Long-term labor market returns to upper secondary school track choice: Leveraging idiosyncratic variation in peers’ choices

This study looks at the possible benefits and disadvantages of choosing a vocational rather than an academic track in upper secondary education. While supporters of vocational education and training (VET) say it can provide a safety net for those at risk of dropping out of education or failing to enter the labour market, critics say … Read more

Educational tracking and personality formation: Evidence from a dual system

Authors: Jesper Fels Birkelund,
Issue: 2022
Themes:

Research on the effects of educational selection has tended to focus on how it affects academic development and achievement. This project asks a different question: does the educational track on which we are placed as teenagers affect the development of personality traits? Personality traits continue to develop throughout the adolescent and early adult years, and … Read more

Editorial: Introduction to “Mechanisms of educational stratification”

Authors: Vikki Boliver, Steffen Schindler,
Issue: 2022
Themes: ,

A large body of literature has been devoted to the question of how the design of educational systems influences the formation and intergenerational reproduction of social inequality. An important feature of educational systems is their level of educational stratification or differentiation, i.e. the separation of students into separate groups, tracks or streams for instructional purposes … Read more

Like parents, like children. Does the stratification of education systems moderate the direct effect of origins on destinations?

Authors: Claudia Traini,
Issue: 2022
Themes: , ,

Using data from the European Social Survey, this study asks if selective education systems can moderate the effects of our origins on later success in the labor market while controlling for education. It finds no effect, regardless of the extent to which selection is based on the student’s abilities. The sample consists of nearly 40,000 … Read more

From social origin to selective high school courses: Ability grouping as a mechanism of securing social advantage in Israeli secondary education

This paper focuses on ability grouping in middle school as an important mechanism enabling students with privileged social backgrounds to increase their likelihood of enrollment in the most selective and prestigious high school programs, thus paving the way to higher academic degrees and more lucrative occupations. Using data from Israeli national standardized tests administered in … Read more

The effect of COVID-19-related school closures on students’ well-being: Evidence from Danish nationwide panel data

New research from Denmark suggests that in some respects students’ wellbeing improved during the Spring 2020 lockdown, and that this effect was strongest among students of lower socioeconomic status. The study used data from the Danish Student Wellbeing Study, which is carried out nationwide on an annual basis. It compared responses from students aged 12-15 … Read more

Diversion or inclusion? Alternative routes to higher education eligibility and inequality in educational attainment in Germany

Authors: Steffen Schindler, Felix Bittmann,
Issue: 2022
Themes: ,

In the 1960s, educational reforms have been initiated in Germany to make the rigid stratified school system more permeable. While maintaining between-school tracking in secondary education, several second-chance options have been introduced that established alternative routes to higher education. This study aims to evaluate whether these alternative routes were successful in reducing the levels of … Read more