The Evolution of the School-Entry Age Effect in a School Tracking System


In Germany, students are streamed at age ten into an academic or non-academic track. We demonstrate that the randomly allocated disadvantage of being born just before as opposed to just after the cutoff date for school entry leads to substantially different schooling experiences. Relatively young students are initially only two-thirds as likely to be assigned to the academic track. The possibility to defer tracking to age 12 does not attenuate school-entry age's effect on track attendance. Some mitigation of the effect occurs only at the second time when educational institutions facilitate track modification when students are about age 16.