Mixing versus Sorting in Schooling : Evidence from the Equalization Policy in South Korea
- Mixing versus Sorting in Schooling : Evidence from the Equalization Policy in South Korea
- Kim, Taejong; Lee, Ju-Ho
- public education; sorting; mixing; peer effect; South Korea
- Issue Date
- Series/Report no.
- KDI Working Paper Series;03-07
- This paper examines the effects of sorting and mixing on academic performance
of high school students in South Korea. The Korean government has vigorously
promoted mixing for more than three decades, replacing competitive entrance
examinations at individual schools by a lottery-based enrollment system. As a result,
about half of high schools (grades 10 to 12) as well as all middle schools (grades 7 to 9)
are subject to what is locally known as the Equalization Policy (EP), and passively accept
students randomly assigned. In contrast, outside the designated EP areas, students are
sorted with stratification along ability among schools. This paper employs the differencein-
differences empirical strategy to analyze the newly available data from the Korean
National Assessment of Educational Achievement. Two main results emerge. First,
sorting raises test scores of students outside the EP areas by roughly 0.3 standard
deviations, relative to mixing. Second, more surprisingly, quantile regression results
reveal that sorting benefits students across the ability distribution.
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