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

  • 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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    Paper provided by Innocenti Working Papers in its series 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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    1. Frick, Joachim R. & Wagner, Gert G., 2001. "Economic and Social Perspectives of Immigrant Children in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 301, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Bradbury, Bruce & Jenkins, Stephen P. & Micklewright, John, 2000. "Child poverty dynamics in seven nations," ISER Working Paper Series 2000-39, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
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    6. Richard Berthoud & Karen Robson, 2001. "The Outcomes of Teenage Motherhood in Europe," Papers inwopa01/16, Innocenti Working Papers.
    7. Giovanni Andrea Cornia & Richard Strickland, 1990. "Rural Differentiation, Poverty and Agricultural Crisis in sub-Saharan Africa: Toward an appropriate policy response," Papers iopeps90/48, Innocenti Occasional Papers, Economic Policy Series.
    8. Olga Cantó Sanchez & Magda Mercader-Prats, 1998. "Child Poverty in Spain: What can be said?," Papers iopeps98/24, Innocenti Occasional Papers, Economic Policy Series.
    9. Dustmann, Christian, 2001. "Parental Background, Primary to Secondary School Transitions, and Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 367, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Robert M. Hauser & Hsiang-Hui Daphne Kuo, 1998. "Does the Gender Composition of Sibships Affect Women's Educational Attainment?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(3), pages 644-657.
    11. Teimuraz Gogishvili & Joseph Gogodze & Amiran Tsakadze, 1996. "The Transition in Georgia: From collapse to optimism," Papers iopeps96/11, Innocenti Occasional Papers, Economic Policy Series.
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