Just from reading the article, I got something else entirely, but I may have missed something.
The woman who did the study was testing two common hypotheses about the effect of parental contribution on college outcomes by looking at the actual data rather than assuming that the answer was obvious. She found mixed results.
Again, what is so radical about this study?
Trolling dates all the way back to 397 B.C. - People began following Plato around and would make fart noises after everything he said.
And how do you know the results are skewed? You do realize that not every individual will conform to the broad trend identified in the study, yes?
It's not clear whether the study controlled for those kinds of factors.
Or for the age of the students, e.g., excluding freshmen over age 20
I am not sure what you mean by rigid tracks, but in Denmark everyone has 9 years of mandatory primary school (or 10 - think they made kindergarten mandatory now).
After grade 9 you go to secondary school which is where you start different tracks usually.
there is the Gymnasium, which is 3 years of basically college prep - here they are even different tracks such as high and sub level math, and if you want to do engineering and don't have high level math you have to supplement. The GPA is used for college entry.
then there are Gymnasium equivalents, such as Higher Technical School and Higher Trading/Mercantile? School, which CAN be used as a college entry - usually Gymnasium kids will say these are less academic. The technical degrees will be used for non college school too, such as going to be an auto mechanic, afaik - you might take everything at sub level. Mercantile can either get into business school (academic) or become bankers and the like (not academic).
In general, there is a large difference between stuff considered academic, which is basically 5 year Masters degree (even if you thanks to EU harmonizing get a 3 year Bachelor along the way). These are only offered by research based universities, any professor teaching MUST also conduct research. the universities can be general and offer many degrees, like University of Copenhagen, or offer a narrow set like the Technical University of Denmark (engineering only).
You have a number of what is called 'professional bachelors' - these used to be called medium length tertiary education - they are things like nurses, primary school teachers, lab assistants, things like this. Traditionally these are NOT called university (academic) degrees, but you do get state stipends. These are usually 3-4 years.
There are then other things that don't require a Higher secondary education - you would go directly from primary school. Those are things like hair dressers, culinary degrees, electricians (maybe that does require some general tech school - not sure) and similar. I think you may get a stipend here too. these are usually 1-2 years. Some/most of these require/end in approval by a trade organisation (anyone can call themself a hair dresser, but you can't be a member of the trade org without training. I don't believe you are allowed to do electrical work without being approved)
Then there are non-approved 'degrees'- they technically cannot call themself anything official. This includes many 'beauty schools' and some 'innovation camps'. These are for profit organisations, and you cannot get a stipend here.
My problem when discussing the US system is that I translate college degree = academic degree, but people go to college to become dental technicians or pastry chefs or other things that I don't consider 'academic' (sorry if I offend anyone know. I know being a nurse or dental tech is freaking hard and those are borderline too, btw - you can get a Masters of nursing once you are a registered nurse basically making you as educated as a doctor - not that you get the same pay...)
I think this is how it still works - some of the vocational stuff is a little fuzzy to - I lost contact with most of the people from my primary school who didn't go to Gymnasium and University.
Then there are artistic degrees such as conservatory musician, designer, architect (yes, Denmark civil engineering and architect is completely, sadly separated), higher art school which have special entry requirements - you have submit your body of work. (these are different than studying music at Uni, which is basically analysis of music, a conservatory musician is a performer). I am not sure if you pay for these or if you get a stipend - I should know, my cousin's first trade is as a viola player, but I know he did not complete his Gymnasium before he went to the conservatory.
ADDENDUM: Usually a master's degree is what companies like software companies, consulting firms, newspapers (journalism), government departments, etc are looking for. Most people who get a phD will try to get a research job at an university - exception being the pharmaceutical industry, where they do a lot of hardcore research.