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Table 5 Description of independent variables

From: On the efficiency of school tracking: a perspective from outcomes in dual VET in Switzerland

  Variable name Description
Explanatory variables Lower secondary school track: high, low or tracked at 13 Set of three dummy variables reflecting the (within-) lower secondary school track during the last year of compulsory school: high track (reference group), low track or tracked at 13 . This latter category refers to a delayed tracking system concerning 3 lower secondary schools (out of 17), which, for historical reasons (Bain et al. 2004), tracked their students at the age of 13 instead of 12. They also applied a different form a tracking for the two remaining years of lower secondary school curriculum. Note that this group of students is not directly comparable with either high or low track students
Grades Two indicators: either the annual cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) in the last year of lower secondary school obtained averaging annual grades in Maths, French and German; or the standardised math test score result of a standardised test in math taken during the same year. Information available only for the two most recent cohorts. Note that grades are partially track specific, as even externalised evaluations differ in their content between high and low tracks
PISA score in maths PISA stands for Program for International Student Assessment and “is a triennial international survey which aims to evaluate education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students” (OECD 2016). It is carried out by the OECD. PISA scores are available for a subsample of the 2002 GSD cohort who took the 2003 PISA test
Controls Repeater Controls for grade repetition during lower secondary school
Girl Zero for boys
Age Controls for potential age effects
Family structure One if the students does not live with both parents. This variable has been shown by several studies to matter; e.g. Heckman (2011)
Non-French speaker One if the home language of the student is not French; see Cobb-Clark (2012) for another study showing the importance of this variable
Foreign country of provenance One if a student arrives in Geneva from abroad and 0 if not (i.e. from elsewhere in Switzerland)
Nationality groups Set of seven dummies grouping nationalities based on the incoming migration waves to Switzerland since the 1950s (Mahnig and Piguet 2003). “Swiss” is the contrast group and the other groups are: Spain and Italy; Portugal; Balkans & Turkey; Extra European countries; R.o. EU 27 and EFTA
Socioeconomic status Carefully built by the school administration to accurately reflect the parental socioeconomic status. Categories are: managerial workers; blue collars; self employed and miscellaneous/NA. The reference group is white-collar workers. Unfortunately, no income variable is available in the data
Religion groups Set of dummies taking into account the main religions (at the local level): Protestant, Catholic, Muslim and “other”. The reference group is made of Catholic students