Educational Tracking and Personality Formation: Evidence from a Dual System

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Although educational stratification research finds that educational tracking differentiates the development of cognitive skills and academic achievement, little is known about its consequences for noncognitive traits. This paper presents a framework for understanding how track placement affects personality traits and empirically tests its implications using longitudinal survey data from Denmark. I find that enrollment in the vocational track in upper secondary education on average increases conscientiousness by one third of a standard deviation more than enrollment in the academic track does. No other personality traits are affected by track placement. Additional analyses show that the influence of vocational education and training on conscientiousness is greater among students taking on an apprenticeship and learning a skilled trade, suggesting that such training closes the between-track gap in conscientiousness by fostering a skilled worker identity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Forces
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2022

ID: 273639936