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Strength, Sources, and Temporal Development of Primary Effects of Families´ Social Status on Secondary School Choice

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  • Stocké, Volker

    () (Sonderforschungsbereich 504)

Abstract

We analyze the relative importance of primary and secondary effects of both parents’ educational and occupational status on whether an upper or a less ambitious secondary school track is chosen after primary school in Germany. We compare standardized test scores, parents’ achievement beliefs, and teachers’ marks as conceptually different indicators for children’s academic competencies with respect to how completely they capture the strength and temporal development of primary effects. We found all measures, but in particular the teachers’ evaluations, to be strongly affected by the children’s social origin. Furthermore, teachers’ marks had the strongest effect on educational decisions, explained status differences in this respect to the largest extent, and proved to be the best single indicator for primary effects. However, each of the other measures and the children’s competency development in the past exert significant additional effects on the educational decision. The failure to take the full set of competency measures into account leads to a substantial underestimation of primary effects. Taking the cumulative effect of all competency indicators into account, we found 50 percent of the initially significant net-effects of the mothers’ education and 70 percent of the effects of their social class to be attributable to primary effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Stocké, Volker, 2007. "Strength, Sources, and Temporal Development of Primary Effects of Families´ Social Status on Secondary School Choice," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 07-60, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  • Handle: RePEc:xrs:sfbmaa:07-60
    Note: Stimulating discussions with Hartmut Esser and Meir Yaish are gratefully acknowledged. Diana Braunwarth, Kerstin Hönig and Diana Schirowski were a great help in preparing the manuscript. Financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 504, at the University of Mannheim, is gratefully acknowledged.
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    1. Audrey Light & Wayne Strayer, 2000. "Determinants of College Completion: School Quality or Student Ability?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(2), pages 299-332.
    2. Arnaud Chevalier & Gauthier Lanot, 2002. "The Relative Effect of Family Characteristics and Financial Situation on Educational Achievement," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 165-181.
    3. Anh Ngoc Nguyen & Jim Taylor, 2003. "Post-high school choices: New evidence from a multinomial logit model," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 16(2), pages 287-306, May.
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