Keywords: Education inequalities, Social origins, Schooling tracking, Italy
The main aim of this paper is to analyze the effect of social inequalities on Italian upper secondary school students’ educational outcomes. For this purpose, we intend to answer to three general questions: first, to what extent family background affects upper secondary school-choice and whether it has been changing over the last decade. Second, how strong is the school-track effect on learning outcomes net of other main independent variables. Third, to estimate how and with what intensity the average socio-economic effect of family background at school level has a role in reproducing general inequalities in learning outcomes. Findings shows a clear explanatory pattern: a mix emerges in which – in a chain of relations of cumulative effects – family background impacts on track – as well as on school-choices, fueling aggregate effects that explain differences in educational outcomes both in terms of performance scores and orientation to access higher education.