Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Curricula tracking and central examinations: counterbalancing the Impact of social background on student achievement in 36 countries.

Bol, Thijs and Witschge, Jacqueline and Van de Werfhorst, Herman and Dronkers, Jaap (2013): Curricula tracking and central examinations: counterbalancing the Impact of social background on student achievement in 36 countries.

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Abstract

Tracked educational systems are associated with a greater social inequality in children’s educational achievement. Until now research has assumed that the impact of tracking on the inequality of educational opportunity is independent of other educational institutional features. Using data from the 2006 PISA survey, we study how central examinations affect the association between tracking and inequality. We find that parent’s social class has a larger effect on student achievement in systems without central examinations, whereas in systems with central examinations this relationship is attenuated. We argue that central examinations help hold schools accountable for their performance, thereby making it more likely for schools to allocate students to tracks and reward them on the basis of objective indicators, thereby reducing the impact of parental status on children’s performance.

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