I study the effects of selective admission policies in the context of school tracking. Depending on the federal state in Germany, either teachers or parents have the discretion to decide which secondary school track a child may attend after primary school. Applying a differences-in-differences approach, I exploit variation in the implementation and abolition of binding teacher recommendations across states and over time. Using data from large-scale assessments, I find that binding teacher recommendations significantly improve student achievement in fourth grade, i.e., prior to track assignment. Effects persist into ninth grade, several years after track assignment. Further analyses show that these effects are driven by increased time investments in students' skill development. Overall, my results suggest that selective admission policies can lead to permanent improvements in students' educational performances.
School tracking admission policies student performance