SummaryWho profits of selection into secondary education tracks? A new approach to an old question Recently Dunne (2010) and Dronkers, van der Velden & Dunne (2011) introduced a three-level model: countries, schools, and students to analyze effects of educational systems. They showed that school characteristics like socioeconomic composition seem to mediate some of the effects of educational system characteristics. However their results contradict the consensus about the effects of educational systems on outcomes and inequality, which is exclusively based on a two-level model: countries and students. In this article I try to solve a serious omission in these contradicting two- and three-level analyses (no early scholastic ability) by analyzing Dutch longitudinal data (VOCL 1989), and test hypotheses derived from a three-level model. My analyses show that 1. The relation between parental education and early scholastic ability differs in more or less selective tracks: stronger in the less selective tracks and weaker in the more selective tracks. 2. The strength of the effect of parental education on getting a recommendation for the most suited track and on attending a track in the first or second year is smaller than the strength of early scholastic ability. 3. Both parental education and socio-economic school composition are not longer significantly related with the performance score in the third year, but that track has a substantial effect on that performance. Parental education has still significant effects on the language score in the third year, but only in the less selective tracks, while parental education has no effect in the more selective tracks. These results would be predicted by the three-level model, but not by a two-level model, and thus contradict the consensus, based on a two-level analysis without early scholastic ability.