How the flexibility of the Dutch educational system affects (social inequality in) educational outcomes.


Early selection in education can negatively affect educational attainment and increases social inequality in educational opportunities. However, these negative effects can be offset by the flexibility of an educational system to ‘repair’ initial misallocation. This flexibility can be external (end-of-phase adjustment: stacking degrees) or internal (within-phase adjustment: dealing with misallocation by track mobility, retaining grades, acceleration or individual support programs). This flexibility is crucial for an optimal development of talent and can reduce social inequality in educational opportunities. Although separate types of flexibility have been studied distinctly, they have not yet been systematically integrated within an overall-view on flexibility as a system characteristic. Moreover, it has not been studied yet to which extent flexibility can reduce negative effects of early selection. This project aims to fill this gap by analyzing the relation between policy reforms, different types of flexibility, and outcomes both from a Dutch and an international perspective.


Project number


Main applicant

Prof. dr. R. van der Velden

Affiliated with

Maastricht University, School of Business and Economics (SBE), Research Centrum voor Onderwijs en Arbeidsmarkt (ROA)


01/10/2017 to 31/08/2020