School tracking and development of cognitive skills

The Finnish comprehensive school reform replaced the old two-track school system with a uniform nine-year comprehensive school and significantly reduced the degree of heterogeneity in the Finnish primary and secondary education. We estimate the effect of this reform on the test scores in the Finnish Army Basic Skills test. The identification strategy relies on a differences-in-differences strategy and exploits the fact that the reform was implemented gradually across the country during a six-year period between 1972 and 1977. We find that the reform had a small positive effect on the verbal test scores but no effect on the mean performance in the arithmetic or logical reasoning tests. Still in all tests the reform improved the scores of students from families where parents had only basic education.

Introduction: Publication of international comparisons of student achievement, such as the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), has generated growing interest in the effect of the schooling systems on student outcomes. For reasons not yet fully understood, students in some countries seem to perform substantially better than students in other countries with roughly equal school resources. In addition, there seems to be no clear efficiency-equity trade-off. For example, the Finnish students have con-sistently been top performers in the recent PISA studies. Still, also the variance in test scores is among the smallest in Finland.

Author: Tuomas Pekkarinen,Roope Uusitalo,ari Kerr

Source: Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation

Download URL 2: Visit Now

Leave a Comment