Between-classes sorting within schools and test scores: an empirical analysis of Italian junior secondary schools
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This paper suggests that some Italian junior secondary schools are likely to practise sorting between classes, and proposes an indicator to measure this practice. The impact of “informal” sorting on the students’ achievement is evaluated through an appropriate Instrumental Variables (IV) approach. The results suggest that this practice harms the students’ results in Reading, as measured through standardised test scores. Heterogeneity of this effect is then explored, considering different school types as well as different student characteristics. Overall, practising sorting within schools helps to replicate existing inequality through unequal educational opportunities.