Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research

No 2/2006: Detracking Swedish Secondary Schools - Any Losers, Any Winners?

Krister Sund ()
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Krister Sund: Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University, Postal: SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Whether or not to differentiate - or track - students according to ability has been debated over the years. In Sweden, secondary schools that practiced tracking and schools that did not practice tracking existed simultaneously from 1980 to 1997. This variation in tracking status between schools is used in a differences-in-differences approach. I estimate whether tracking math, or not, in Swedish secondary school had any effect on the probability of having graduated upper-secondary school, but also whether tracking had any consequence for the math grade in upper-secondary school. The results show that when considering the attainment of upper-secondary education and the mean achievement in math, there are no effects of tracking. However, there are effects when estimating the probability of receiving a specific grade, i.e. fail, pass, pass with distinction or pass with special distinction. Tracked students, from families with low-educated parents, are more likely to fail math than similar students in a non-tracked environment.

Keywords: Educational economics; Tracking; Ability grouping

JEL-codes: I21

23 pages, April 4, 2006

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