The Heterogeneous Tracking Effects on Students’ Performance: Evidence from South Korea

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Event Type: 
Brown Bag
Date and Time: 
Thursday, November 2, 2017
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Seungwoo Chin
Econ, USC

We estimate the across-school tracking (or mixing) effects by exploiting the equalization policy in South Korea. Whereas students’ academic achievements were previously considered for high school enrollment, the policy assigns students to a high school regardless of prior achievement, which results in abolishing ranking between high schools. We study two different cases and find consistent results. We show, in one study, that more students score around the mean at college entrance test under the mixing system, while fewer students are located at both tails of the distribution. In the other case, the mixing system causes a reduction in the number of students who were admitted to top-ranked colleges. Tracking benefits high-performing students with increased self-studying hours and a better learning atmosphere, whereas teachers are no different. We also provide suggestive evidence that a tracking system can be efficient at boosting economic growth or productivity, although it can simultaneously worsen education inequality.