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The relevance of tracking and social school composition for growing achievement gaps by parental education in lower secondary school: a longitudinal analysis in France, Germany, the United States, and England

  • Dräger, Jascha
  • Schneider, Thorsten
  • Olczyk, Melanie
  • Solaz, Anne
  • Sheridan, Alexandra
  • Washbrook, Elizabeth
  • Perinetti Casoni, Valentina
  • Kwon, Sarah Jiyoon
  • Waldfogel, Jane
Publication Date
Dec 08, 2023
DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcad076
OAI: oai:HAL:hal-04336299v1
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There is substantial variation in the degree of social stratification in students’ achievement across countries. However, most research is based on cross-sectional data. In this study, we evaluate the importance of social origin, namely, parents’ education, for achievement inequalities during lower secondary school using recent longitudinal microdata form the French Direction de l’Evaluation de la Prospective et de la Performance panel, the German National Educational Panel Study, the US-American Early Childhood Longitudinal Study 1998, and the British Millennium Cohort Study. We evaluate whether country differences can be attributed to different tracking systems or the social composition of schools. We find substantial SES gaps in math achievement progress in all four countries but more pronounced gaps in England and Germany. Yet, within-school SES gaps are similar across countries suggesting that the allocation of students to schools drives country differences. Moreover, we find that between-school tracking in Germany accounts for a large share of the SES gaps, whereas course-by-course tracking seems less important in the other countries. The role of schools’ social composition is similar across countries.

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