Can tracking raise the test scores of high-ability minority students?

David Card, Laura Giuliano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


We evaluate a tracking program in a large urban district where schools with at least one gifted fourth grader create a separate "gifted/high achiever" classroom. Most seats are filled by non-gifted high achievers, ranked by previous-year test scores. We study the program's effects on the high achievers using (i) a rank-based regression discontinuity design, and (ii) a between-school/cohort analysis. We find significant effects that are concentrated among black and Hispanic participants. Minorities gain 0.5 standard deviation units in fourth-grade reading and math scores, with persistent gains through sixth grade. We find no evidence of negative or positive spillovers on nonparticipants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2783-2816
Number of pages34
JournalAmerican Economic Review
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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