I spent 10 months in the US during which I often discuss the differences between the US and some European educational system. I most often was meet with disgust when I explained how 'we' do it:
In the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany we sort children into different types of middle and high school based on a test result. One test determines your future! Of course there is much to say against it, but keep in mind that you can fight decisions. Teachers use the test result and students performance to recommend what type of middle school they should follow. Based on the type of middle school you followed, your life choices range from going to university to being a craftsman. So some high school degrees do not give you access to a university (at least not directly), after some type of high school you have the skills to be a tradesman and the skills to run your own business (something that comes often with being a tradesman)
- homogeneous population in middle and high school, helping teachers to prepare lessons plan and teach
- better preparation of all students for their potential jobs
- of course if you are from a lower socio-economic background, chances that you get into the right high school to go to university are low. But that is also the case in the US.