the effect of tracking in secondary education on educational inequality
This paper tests whether the existence of vocationally oriented tracks within a traditionally academically oriented upper education system reduces socioeconomic inequalities in educational attainment. Based on a statistical model of educational transitions and data on two entire cohorts of Danish youth, we find that (1) the vocationally oriented tracks are less socially selective than the traditional academic track; (2) attending the vocationally oriented tracks has a negative effect on the likelihood of enrolling in higher education; and (3) in the aggregate the vocationally oriented tracks improve access to lower-tier higher education for low-SES students. These findings point to an interesting paradox in that tracking, on the one hand, equalizes educational opportunities and, on the other, reduces the likelihood that students from low-SES families enter university. We also discuss whether similar mechanisms might exist in other educational systems.
Social Science Research, 2013, Vol 42, Issue 6, p. 1431-1442
Family background; School and education; Schooling; Social Inheritance; Uddannelsespolitik; Videregående uddannelse; Educational transitions; Mixed logit; Socioeconomic inequalities; Tracking; Vocational education; Faculty of Social Sciences