Schnepf, Sylke V.
Inequalities in Secondary School Attendance in Germany. Southampton, UK, Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute, 33pp.
(S3RI Applications and Policy Working Papers, (A03/16) ).
In Germany, children are sorted into differently prestigious school types according to their ability at the end of primary schooling, normally at age 10. This early decision about children’s future schooling cannot be easily corrected. However, secondary school attendance has a huge impact on future career options, so that equality in pupils’ distribution to differential school types is important. This paper examines the impact of social and economic background on children’s school type if ability is held constant. The analysis is based on national data taken from two surveys of learning achievement, the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA). These data reveal that a large share of pupils in less prestigious school types would fit perfectly well in better school types given their measured ability. Children from rural areas, pupils from lower socio-economic backgrounds and boys in general have a significantly lower probability of being selected to the most academic school track even when their ability is similar to that of their urban and better socially placed counterparts.
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