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A Sorting Hat that Fails? The transition from primary to secondary school in Germany


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  • Sylke Schnepf
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    Germany ranks lowest regarding educational equalities among OECD countries, as the recently published PISA ‘Programme of International Student Assessment’ data revealed (ref. PISA 2000). This might be due to the remarkable German transition process from primary to secondary school where children are selected into diversely prestigious school environments at an early stage of their intellectual development. This paper aims at examining whether sorting of children is leading to educational inequalities. Based on the two different surveys of learning achievement TIMSS (‘Third International Math and Science Study’) and PISA 2000 we find consistently that although ability is a main criterion of the sorting process, pupils' socio-economic background, their gender and the region they live in also exert a significant influence on the selection results. Since sorting is difficult to correct and school choice determines career options, these educational inequalities in secondary schooling very probably have an impact on pupils’ life even long after they have finished school.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre in its series Innocenti Working Papers with number inwopa02/22.

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    Length: 64
    Date of creation: 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:ucf:inwopa:inwopa02/22

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    Keywords: education; educational evaluation; educational policy; educational surveys;

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    Cited by:
    1. Tamm, Marcus, 2008. "Does money buy higher schooling?: Evidence from secondary school track choice in Germany," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 536-545, October.
    2. Kevin Denny, 2005. "Do teachers make better parents? -the differential performance of teachers’ children at school," Working Papers 200505, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
    3. Elke Lüdemann & Guido Schwerdt, 2011. "Zuwanderer der zweiten Generation: Im deutschen Schulsystem doppelt benachteiligt?," Ifo Schnelldienst, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 64(04), pages 19-25, 02.
    4. Ludger Woessmann, 2004. "European "Education Production Functions": What Makes A Difference For Student Achievement In Europe?," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2004 93, Royal Economic Society.
    5. Checchi, Daniele & Flabbi, Luca, 2007. "Intergenerational Mobility and Schooling Decisions in Germany and Italy: The Impact of Secondary School Tracks," IZA Discussion Papers 2876, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).


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