A sorting hat that fails? The transition from primary to secondary school in Germany


Schnepf, Sylke Viola (2002) A sorting hat that fails? The transition from primary to secondary school in Germany. Florence, Italy, The United Nations Children's Fund Innocenti Research Centre (Innocenti Working Papers, (92) ).

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Description/Abstract

The recently published data from the Programme of International Student
Assessment (PISA) has revealed that Germany ranks lowest among the
OECD countries for educational equalities. This paper examines whether it is
the tracking of children into different types of school environments at a
particularly early stage of their intellectual development, i.e. at the transition
from primary to secondary school, which contributes to such inequalities. The
analysis is based on data taken from two surveys of learning achievement, the
Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the
Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA). The data
consistently reveal that although ability is a key selection criterion, children’s
educational achievement varies greatly within the respective school tracks to
which they are allocated. Although migrants are predominately selected to
lower academic school tracks, they do not face educational inequalities if
their socio-economic background and measured ability is similar to that of
German nationals. On the other hand, 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 educational ability is similar to that of their urban and better
socially placed counterparts. Since the outcome of sorting is difficult to
correct and school choice shapes career options, there is a high likelihood that
such educational inequalities in secondary schooling will have an impact on
pupils’ lives and career opportunities long after they have completed
compulsory education.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Related URLs:
Keywords: educational inequalities, transition, secondary schooling, selection
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
D History General and Old World > DD Germany
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences > Social Statistics
ePrint ID: 39729
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:25
Publisher: The United Nations Children's Fund Innocenti Research Centre
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/39729

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